New coordinator Tomlin has sizable task

If their LBs aren't up to the task, the Vikings are bound to struggle as they adjust to the Cover 2, writes Gary Horton.

Originally Published: August 7, 2006
By Gary Horton | Scouts Inc.
The hottest defense in the NFL today is the Cover 2. Although we think of the Cover 2 as being developed in Tampa Bay by defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, you could argue that its roots actually started years ago in Minnesota under famed defensive coordinator Floyd Peters, whom Kiffin worked under.

Now, we have 34-year-old Mike Tomlin coming from Tampa Bay to install his version of the Cover 2, and the success of this defensive scheme is central to the Vikings' success in 2006. Although Tomlin has never been a coordinator and is young (he was a college teammate of Vikings safety Darren Sharper at William & Mary), the players seem to like the scheme and have taken to Tomlin's enthusiastic style of coaching.

The basic concept of the Cover 2 is to rush four and drop seven into coverage and pressure opposing quarterbacks without having to blitz a lot. With a mediocre pass rush in 2005 that produced 34 sacks, the Vikings were very inconsistent in pass defense and had a lot of coverage breakdowns. They were 21st in the NFL in overall pass defense.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.