EDEN PRAIRIE (AP)-- Tired of playing second fiddle to an explosive offense, the Minnesota Vikings defense is eager to wipe the slate clean and start anew Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.
"Anytime you have an offense like we do, we want to try to do the same thing and make big plays, too," said linebacker Ed McDaniel. "We want to get our names in the paper. Instead of hearing all this about Daunte (Culpepper), Randy (Moss), Cris Carter, Jake Reed ... We want to get in the headlines, too."
That's a tall order for a defense that was ranked 28th in the league last year.
"I don't know about everybody else, but I'm tired of being 27th, 28th in the league," said strong safety Robert Griffith.
To go from the team's Achilles' heel to one of its strengths will depend largely on a revamped defensive line. Last season, the secondary was torched time and again by opposing quarterbacks who had all day to throw the football. The team collected just 31 sacks on the year and the secondary picked off just eight passes.
"The entire defense works together," middle linebacker Kailee Wong said. "The defensive line, by putting pressure on the quarterback makes the secondary not have to cover as long. Then we can get interceptions. Us getting interceptions makes the quarterback want to hold it, so (the defensive line) can get sacks."
Tackle Chris Hovan and end Talance Sawyer return but missing this season will be John Randle, Fernando Smith and Bryce Paup.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.