Monday, July 16, 2012

Position Analysis: Defensive Line

There is nothing better than Aaron Rodger's face in the Metrodome turf.
This will hopefully be the sight when the Packers come to town this season.

Today we will look at the strength of this team the past few seasons, the defensive line. The defensive line recorded 50 sacks last season, 22 of those being from all-time sack leader, Jared Allen. I feel the same consistency will be displayed by this position during the season. Jared has a motor and he is determined to break the sack record after he came up a half sack short. He will continue to cause headaches for defenses all over the league. Jared still has a full tank of gas in his system.

Kevin Williams will remain the "man in the middle" this season. Last season he lost his partner next door, Pat Williams. Again, he will have a new teammate next to him after Remi Ayodele left. I think Kevin will display an excellent season so he can get the contract extension he is aspiring for. Williams has always been a great player, but has been battling injuries the past few seasons including a foot injury. So he can get the big money, he will step up to the plate this season.

Letroy Guion will be back this season and will likely play next to Kevin Williams. Since he was drafted out of Florida State, he really hasn't had a full-time opportunity. I'm not quite sure about Guion as a starter for this team. I do like his speed and his agile frame. He seems like he has a knack for getting to the quarterback. I feel like he will need experience as a starter before he settles in nicely.

Brian Robison is an excellent player, person, and athlete. He adapted nicely to his role as a starter. He has speed and quickness that make him a threat. I remember his days on the Texas track team as a shot put specialist. He could have went to the Olympics for shot put, but he chose football instead. That was an excellent choice he made, as he is a great defensive end in this league.

Fred Evans has always impressed me since he has been here. He always gets to the quarterback and has agile speed. The main concern is conditioning. I feel like sometimes he struggles when he is tired. I honestly believe if the Vikings aren't impressed with Guion he could slide into this role nicely.

Christian Ballard is going to be a breakthrough defensive lineman. He showed so many excellent flashes last season. For a big man, he was extremely fast and got to the quarterback. I would love to see Ballard become the replacement next to Kevin Williams, which I think might be a slight probability. I liked him coming out of Iowa if he kept out of trouble. So far he has so that is an extreme positive.

Trevor Guyon is going to be the sleeper on the defensive line.  Mike Mayock had him rated as a third or fourth round pick and we drafted him in the seventh round. That is absolutely excellent value for the Vikings. He was an excellent pass-rusher at California and showed he could get to the quarterback off the edge. I think he could also be converted to the middle on third down situations, much like the Vikings did with Brian Robison when he was a rookie. I really like Guyton as a utility option this season.

Overall, I think the defensive line will be a strength of this team again this season. Every player has the traits needed to be successful.

Thanks for reading!

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