The Vikings defense is still collectively trying to put together a complete game after struggling at the start of Sunday's 30-17 win over the Seahawks.
Aside from missed tackles and some poor coverage, players were sometimes out of position to stop Seahawks running back Chris Carson, who had 10 carries for 74 yards by halftime. According to coach Mike Zimmer, the problems included a veteran defense freelancing a little too much.
"We got a chance to be good, a really good team," defensive end Everson Griffen said. "I feel like we just have to not get greedy in the first part of the game and play our blocks and play the run a little better."
During the first half, Carson ripped off five runs of at least 7 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown in which he was untouched. The Seahawks ran formations and plays the Vikings hadn't seen on their previous game film, linebacker Eric Kendricks said, leading to early hiccups.
"There were a lot of guys that were kind of doing their own thing a little bit," Zimmer said. "Once we settled down and talked to them at halftime, it was a lot better."
Adjustments can take longer for a defense that hasn't played together very long, even with experienced players, Zimmer admitted. Six, or more than half, of the defensive starters against the Seahawks were not playing for the Vikings a year ago.
"You've got to remember that we do have, basically, seven or eight new players starting on defense and we're doing some new things," Zimmer said. "Some of the adjustments we have to make during the course of the game, we're not quite as used to as we have been in the past."
'Getting back in my groove'
Griffen was busy in his return from the concussion protocol, which caused him to miss the Week 2 loss in Arizona after a car wreck on his way to the Vikings facility that week. Against the Seahawks, he played 34 snaps — just as much as starting end D.J. Wonnum. He said he's still "getting back in my groove" after his return to football was briefly disrupted.
"I made sure to be real with it, to make sure I didn't have any symptoms before I came back." Griffen said.
He said he was traveling about 45 to 50 miles per hour on the highway early in the morning when he swerved to miss a deer.
"Deer hopped out in front of me, and my natural reaction is to not hit anything," Griffen said. "I swerve, and I glanced and hit a tree and then I just went sliding. I was like two feet from the lake, so it was scary. I'm a survivor, happy to be alive."
Have to start somewhere
Tight end Tyler Conklin was asked whether his career-high seven-catch, 70-yard effort against the Seahawks and his second career NFL touchdown ranked among his best days on the job. He cracked a wry smile when considering what to stack it up against.
"There's only so many games at this point, right?" said Conklin, who has 45 career catches. "There's not too many great ones to compete with at this moment, but we're going to keep stacking them and make some great ones, so that's all that matters."
- Zimmer acknowledged cornerback Cameron Dantzler airing his frustration publicly after Sunday's win, saying "he will be talked to." Dantzler, the 2020 third-round pick, wrote "I'm tired of biting my tongue about this whole situation [for real]" on his verified Twitter account. After starting 10 games last year, Dantzler has played 16 defensive snaps through three games.
- The Vikings re-signed tackle Blake Brandel to the practice squad. The 2020 sixth-round pick out of Oregon State was waived Saturday to make room for running back Ameer Abdullah on the active roster.