Harrison Smith: Defense has to learn from loss to Eagles

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The Vikings defense allowed the fewest points and yards of any unit in the league last season and that was a major reason why they found themselves in the NFC title game against the Eagles in January.

The play of their defense in that game was a major reason why the Vikings didn’t return home to play in Super Bowl LII. They gave up season-highs in both points and yards as the Eagles rolled to a 38-7 win. As the team prepares for the 2018 season, linebacker Ben Gedeon said they need to use the loss as “fuel” and safety Harrison Smith wants the loss to be an educational tool.

“We didn’t deliver, so that’s something we can learn from this offseason, and hopefully we will use it in the future,” Smith said, via the Pioneer Press. “If we just throw the film away, that’s doing yourself a disservice. We want to learn from the good and from the bad, and use it all to get better for the season.”

The Vikings defense had its worst day at the worst possible time. Getting a chance to reverse that this season will take the same kind of effort from the unit every week.

61 responses to “Harrison Smith: Defense has to learn from loss to Eagles

  1. Eagles put up the same number of points against the Pats (basically) and the Pats D wasn’t rated nearly as high as MN’s. They were also playing without their best corner.

    Looking at whom MN played all season – not a lot of offensive juggernauts.

    I’d say MNs defense wasn’t really as good as their ranking.

  2. The blueprint to take advantage of the defense was displayed by the Eagles with that embarrassing performance by the vikings. Now with a tougher schedule good luck.

  3. I like the way Thielen described it when he said, “They made us look stupid.”

  4. The Eagles went to a game plan offense that attacks the weakness of their opponent. Takes a smart team and smart QB and a great O-line to prevent the pass rush from destroying their plans. Eagles will be hard to beat again this year.

  5. A good player and it seems he has a good head on his shoulders. A rare combination for a Viking. Let’s not forget this “#1” defense played the dismal Bears offense twice as well as the Packers offense without Rodgers. Throw in the browns game and over a quarter of their season was padding stats against below average to poor offenses. The blowout against a great offense was only a surprise to homers and PFT!

  6. After the first couple of drives the Vikes D looked like a JV high school squad, they couldn’t cover, couldn’t tackle anyone. Sometimes you just have a bad game though. Eagles D actually had a pretty bad game in the Super Bowl too after shutting down the Falcons and Vikings. It happens, even to a generally good D.

  7. Even if they did maintain their league leading numbers on D in that game they still would have lost cause the offense was putrid.

  8. Do you think it could somehow, in some way, be related to all of the upfront, ridiculous trash talk coming from Vikings fans? I hope so.

    38-7, still delicious months later.

  9. ducks4remi says:
    May 3, 2018 at 10:55 am

    A good player and it seems he has a good head on his shoulders. A rare combination for a Viking. Let’s not forget this “#1” defense played the dismal Bears offense twice as well as the Packers offense without Rodgers. Throw in the browns game and over a quarter of their season was padding stats against below average to poor offenses. The blowout against a great offense was only a surprise to homers and PFT!
    _________

    Yeah, because every other defense in the league played all their games against only the best offenses in the league. Everyone plays both good teams and bad teams. If you’re #1 at the end of the season, you’ve earned it. Why don’t you ask the Rams and Falcons what they thought of the Vikings’ defense?

  10. The Vikings’ defense gave up 456 yards and 31 points to the Eagles.

    The Eagles’ defense gave up 613 yards and 33 points to the Patriots.

    The Patriots’ defense gave up 538 yards and 41 points to the Eagles.

    Boy, that Vikings’ defense is in big trouble!

  11. .
    Every year very good teams seem to come up with at least one inexplicably putrid performance. Unfortunately for the Vikings, theirs came in the NFC Championship Game.
    .

  12. A good player and it seems he has a good head on his shoulders. A rare combination for a Viking. Let’s not forget this “#1” defense played the dismal Bears offense twice as well as the Packers offense without Rodgers. Throw in the browns game and over a quarter of their season was padding stats against below average to poor offenses. The blowout against a great offense was only a surprise to homers and PFT!

    —————

    Using this logic would mean that every other team in the NFC north should have been a top tier unit seeing that they all had pretty much the same schedule. dont think any of them even cracked the top 10 hmmmmmmm…

  13. They had one bad game, and unfortunately it was the most important game to that point. They will play with a chip on their shoulders this year, which is bad news for anyone they play. They were the best for a reason, now they are playing mad.

  14. teal379 says:
    May 3, 2018 at 10:40 am

    Eagles put up the same number of points against the Pats (basically) and the Pats D wasn’t rated nearly as high as MN’s. They were also playing without their best corner.

    Looking at whom MN played all season – not a lot of offensive juggernauts.

    I’d say MNs defense wasn’t really as good as their ranking.

    ================================================================
    Do you homework. The Vikings played the Rams, Saints (twice), Falcons, Panthers, and Steelers, along with the Ravens and Lions (who scored 395 and 410 points for the season). They held the Rams (who scored 478 for the season) and Falcons, two playoff teams, to single digits.

    Yeah, the Eagles offense shredded the Viking defense, and did the same to the Patriots two weeks later. Give the Eagles credit where credit is due, and give the Smith and Gedeon credit for being honest about what happened, and being willing to face it instead of dismissing it as an anomaly.

  15. In true Vikings fashion, they choked. Simple as that. Had a bad game, playing mad now yada yada yada. They were out coached and out played in every facet of the game, on a big stage. It’s not unfortunate…. It’s choking.

  16. The Eagles just did the same thing the Saints did in the 2nd half of the prior game and what the Panthers did a few weeks before that to eviscerate the Vikings defense. That’s Zimmer’s problem and always has been. He can’t learn from his mistakes and stubbornly sticks to his way until its far too late. He’s admitted to it in press conferences. He also demotivated the team by telling them how terrible they were and lucky to win vs the Saints instead of inspiration playing on the Mn Miracle and telling them they are destined to win. Why’s that a big deal? Because he did the same thing the yr prior when the were undefeated and cut the heads off stuffed cats telling the team fat cats get slaughtered. That stunt sent the team off the rails. DOESN’T LEARN FROM HIS MISTAKES. He tries to be Parcells tough on players that are from a different era.

  17. Better to pretend they are actually contenders than win another off-season title. Too bad the changes the Vikings require are way beyond a simple playbook upgrade.

  18. Rob Brzezinski is a Magician says:
    May 3, 2018 at 11:26 am
    The Vikings’ defense gave up 456 yards and 31 points to the Eagles.

    The Eagles’ defense gave up 613 yards and 33 points to the Patriots.

    The Patriots’ defense gave up 538 yards and 41 points to the Eagles.

    Boy, that Vikings’ defense is in big trouble!

    —————

    So you have shown that the Pats and Eagles have some really potent offenses. Unfortunately for you the Vikings do not.

  19. nhpats says:

    May 3, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    Rob Brzezinski is a Magician says:
    May 3, 2018 at 11:26 am
    The Vikings’ defense gave up 456 yards and 31 points to the Eagles.

    The Eagles’ defense gave up 613 yards and 33 points to the Patriots.

    The Patriots’ defense gave up 538 yards and 41 points to the Eagles.

    Boy, that Vikings’ defense is in big trouble!

    —————

    So you have shown that the Pats and Eagles have some really potent offenses. Unfortunately for you the Vikings do not.

    ————–

    The Vikings were in the top 10 in almost every offensive category last year. When you have a team #1 in one category, and in the top 10 on the other, that’s pretty balanced. Nice try thou.

  20. “The Vikings defense had its worst day at the worst possible time. Getting a chance to reverse that this season will take the same kind of effort from the unit every week.”

    Don’t you mean that “this season will take the OPPOSITE kind of effort from the unit every week? Why would they want to remain the same?

  21. So many silly comments. The Vikings had one bad game, that doesn’t take away a awesome season of defense. It’s still a good defense, and people who are saying it isn’t because of one game, are just hoping it isn’t. Yes, the Vikings played good offenses. Rams were the #1 offense, kept to single digits, Falcons #1 3rd down offense, kept to single digits. Saints a great offense, kept in check for almost all game #1, and most of game #2.

    The Vikings defense is good, but it’s weakness is lack of deph. They don’t have a lot of defensive back deph, so they get fatigued. Same in the secondary. Anyone who actually knows the Vikings would have noticed Rhodes was out a lot in the NFC title game. He is their best corner, and routinely shuts down elite WR’s. Julio, Antonio Brown, OBJ, Thomas, all were shut down. The Vikings defense and Oline suffered massive injuries in the Saints game.

    The Vikings should be good again, unless injuries occur. Also Cousin’s should certainly be an upgrade. He doesn’t play defense, and that is a big reason for the losing seasons in Washington.

  22. Hey I don’t mind saying it — based on that NFC Championship game performance, the Vikings defense certainly had a lot to learn from.

    And to the genius that said the Vikings didn’t play any good offensive teams in 2017, check out the D’s performance in the regular season against the Rams, Saints and Falcons — 3 of the top 10 NFL offenses for 2017. However, I will give you the fact that the Packers were a joke on both sides of the ball, so perhaps the defensive stats were skewed a tad.

  23. Harry Can’t Cover. Bites too hard on fakes and Zimmer got out coached as he played single high Safety Coversge every play/ drive

  24. The Vikings Defense was great last year. They pass the eye test & the stats test.

    The Vikes were embarrassed by the Eagles. It was hubris on display getting thrust in your face in the most embarrassing fashion.

    100% CREDIT TO PHILLY. Foles came out a different QB in that game, after having more time settling into the position, a playoff victory under his belt & playing at home. It appeared to me that the Minny D didn’t think Foles could get more than 15 yards on them downfield. How many times did a LBer or DB let a WR drift & then get burned? That’s on the coaches.
    Pass rush? Not so much….Philly kept Foles clean. Then, when the game started to go pear-shaped by the Vikes, many guys, ESPECIALLY Harrison Smith…..kept trying to make things happen by jumping routes….aka getting torched by double moves or not staying with their responsibility. Yes, I really hope Smith watches that tape. He needs to!

    The irony of Foles stepping up & playing Cinderella is THAT’S WHAT KEENUM DID ALL SEASON! This is what makes the Hubris all the more disgusting! Zimmer bears the responsibility for this hubris in my opinion.

    But, its not like Foles came out of nowhere. The guy has that club in his bag.

    Never let your foot off the gas (like vs. New Orleans) & do not under-estimate your opponent. Hopefully they learn these lessons & continue to keep a roster stocked with talent.

  25. “Looking at whom MN played all season – not a lot of offensive juggernauts.”

    What teal posted there is is unadulterated be, and we are all much dumber for having read it…

  26. 700levelvet says:
    May 3, 2018 at 11:58 am
    In true Vikings fashion, they choked. Simple as that. Had a bad game, playing mad now yada yada yada. They were out coached and out played in every facet of the game, on a big stage. It’s not unfortunate…. It’s choking.
    _______________________

    An astute observation and I couldn’t have said it better myself.
    The Vikings have an unheralded history with choking.
    They’ve done it since their inception.
    It’s in their D.N.A.
    That’s why the color purple is completely appropriate for this team.

  27. Everything went wrong that day for the Vikings, and everything went right for the Eagles. It really doesn’t matter though until the rematch in the postseason, if it happens. The Eagles got theirs, and now we wait to see if we can get ours.

    The last time this happened where the defense looked horrible, they came back and beat the piss out of the next two opponents. I’m guessing they’ll do the same to Garrapolo and Rodgers.

    Foles had the ball in his hands way too long, put him on the ground.

  28. The Saints figured them out the week before and set the template. MN gave up 62 points in it’s final 6 quarters, but maybe even worse is that pathetic offense scored 13 points over the same span, excepting for that dumb last second screw up by a rookie safety of the Saints.

    That’s going to leave a mark that’s hard to get off.

  29. I really hope everyone sleeps on the Vikings defense. Everyone who thinks the Eagles game is what it’s going to be next season are fools. Please keep it up because all that happens is it will add fuel. Teams have found out the hard way about playing this defense after a loss. It never ends well for them.

  30. teal379 says:
    May 3, 2018 at 10:40 am
    Eagles put up the same number of points against the Pats (basically) and the Pats D wasn’t rated nearly as high as MN’s. They were also playing without their best corner.

    Looking at whom MN played all season – not a lot of offensive juggernauts.

    I’d say MNs defense wasn’t really as good as their ranking.

    ////////

    Um, Saints 19 points, Rams 7 points, Falcons 9 points,Panthers 31 point whom they lost to. All those offense i feel are pretty explosive.

  31. The teams the Vikings beat last year were a combined 93-115, with only 5 wins against teams with winning records and 8 wins against flat out bad teams (includes Cleveland, Tampa, Chicago twice, Washington, and an Aaron Roger-less Green Bay twice). They only made it to the division game due to a boneheaded play by the Saints defender and Drew Brees was lighting them up like the Time Square Christmas tree for the entire 2nd half. They were a paper lion team last year and over produced due to a weak schedule, luck and the fact that their #1 rival lost one of (if not) the best QB in the game right now. So to the Vikings fans out there who think this year will be a repeat of last year, you better plug in the tape of the 2nd half of the Saints and the entire Eagles playoff games, that is what is coming for most of this coming season.

  32. Yes, learn that you’re not that good. The only tough offenses you face are the Packers when Rodgers is healthy and once in a while the Eagles.

  33. Sigh….

    You do realize those high power offenses you tout the Vikings as beating WEREN’T when they played them. Cept the Saints who basically scored at will and Melty Ice? There’s a choke artist if I ever saw one.

  34. cookerduff123 says:
    May 3, 2018 at 11:08 am
    Do you think it could somehow, in some way, be related to all of the upfront, ridiculous trash talk coming from Vikings fans? I hope so.

    ———————–

    Since you’re obviously brand new to professional sports, I have to inform you, nothing fans say will ever affect the outcome of a game.

  35. teal379 says:
    May 3, 2018 at 10:40 am
    Eagles put up the same number of points against the Pats (basically) and the Pats D wasn’t rated nearly as high as MN’s. They were also playing without their best corner.

    Looking at whom MN played all season – not a lot of offensive juggernauts.
    &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

    Are you Serious?!?
    Minnesota played the Saints, Won 2x, The Falcons,Won, Rams, WON.. ALL of the NFC playoff
    teams and you say they didn’t play anybody? How do they even let guys like you comment here?
    Go home and play with your GI Joe Dolls

  36. Harrison should have replaced US with I or ME because he is the one that got burned all night long, with Newman in a walker back there the Eagles ripped you apart! Now we have the final Defensive back Drafter #1 this will not happen again.. Plus we will have an OC who’s mind is in the game and not thinking about his staff in his HC job next year!

  37. jlbay says:

    May 3, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    The teams the Vikings beat last year were a combined 93-115, with only 5 wins against teams with winning records and 8 wins against flat out bad teams (includes Cleveland, Tampa, Chicago twice, Washington, and an Aaron Roger-less Green Bay twice). They only made it to the division game due to a boneheaded play by the Saints defender and Drew Brees was lighting them up like the Time Square Christmas tree for the entire 2nd half. They were a paper lion team last year and over produced due to a weak schedule, luck and the fact that their #1 rival lost one of (if not) the best QB in the game right now. So to the Vikings fans out there who think this year will be a repeat of last year, you better plug in the tape of the 2nd half of the Saints and the entire Eagles playoff games, that is what is coming for most of this coming season.

    ————-

    Another stupid argument. During the regular season every team faces good teams and bad teams. The good teams beat the teams that they are supposed to and split the games against tougher opponents. And the Vikings did just that. How are they a bad team? It’s easy to just look at numbers, but at the beginning of last season this schedule looked tough just like this years. And these bad teams, were bad because they lost to good teams like the Vikings. Out of opponents above .500, Rams, Falcons, Lions (twice), Carolina, Rams, Saints, Ravens (competed for a playoff spot until the end of the season), Pittsburg (8 games, not 5) they won 5 out of 8. Which is really good. Every team faces some good teams, and not soo good teams. This argument is stupid.

  38. It’s football season again ’cause Steller and Waffle are entertaining us again! Better than Benny Hill!

  39. teal379 says:
    May 3, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    Sigh….

    You do realize those high power offenses you tout the Vikings as beating WEREN’T when they played them. Cept the Saints who basically scored at will and Melty Ice? There’s a choke artist if I ever saw one.
    ____________

    You’re just making this up as you go along. The Rams were leading the league in scoring at 32.9 ppg when the Vikings played them. In their previous four games, they had scored 27, 33, 51, and 33 points. The Vikings held them to 7 points.

    The Falcons scored 27, 34, and 34 points in their previous three games. The Vikings held them to 9 points.

    Even the lowly Packers under Brett Hundley had scored between 24 and 28 points in each of their previous four games before the Vikings shut them out at Lambeau.

    In a four-game stretch that included the Viking game, the Ravens scored 30, 24, and 40 points. The Vikings held them to 16 points and 208 total yards, with the final 7 points coming on a meaningless last play of the game.

    You’re just making things up and expect us to believe you.

  40. The Eagles offense didn’t put up 38 points. Plenty of people remember a score but didn’t pay attention to the game.Just like the false narrative the Saints took over on offense in the second half. Brees scored on 2 short field drives. One aided by a bad throw by Case. And the other because of a blocked punt(which the Vikings should not have been punting because Thielen was mugged on 3rd down no call). So just stop that it was 6 quarters when it wasn’t. They got beat by a better team in Philly. We will see what 2018 brings.

  41. The Vikings beat GB twice last year and the fudge fans inaccurately like to state Rodgers- less. Well Aaron started the first game he just couldn’t finish it. Also the Vikings have won the NFC North 2 out of the last 3 years. Was Aaron gone then too?

  42. fmc651 says:
    May 3, 2018 at 6:41 pm
    The Vikings beat GB twice last year and the fudge fans inaccurately like to state Rodgers- less. Well Aaron started the first game he just couldn’t finish it. Also the Vikings have won the NFC North 2 out of the last 3 years. Was Aaron gone then too?
    ———————————————

    You could say the Packers won division in 2016 from the Bridgewater- less Vikings.

  43. I just love how people make ways to short change a brilliant season by the Vikings last year. I see comments about weak schedule, or Rodgers was hurt, or this and that. Chances are the Vikings would have still made the playoffs even with Rodgers playing last year. The Vikings have split with the Packers last handful of seasons. Maybe not 13-3, but probably 10 Wins to maybe 11, or 12.

    Everyone saying the Vikings defense is bad because of the Eagles game is so ridiculous. They did not show up for that game. No arguments, but the Vikings defense has been a top 5 defensive unit every year Zimmer has been the coach so it’s not like this happened over night.

  44. Waynes, and (the recently resigned) Newman were beat like a drum, all afternoon. I hope that the personal changes made this off season….signing an awesome DT, and drafting for need, will help strengthen this defense.
    I fully admit that the Vikings were lit up, like a Tiki Torch, during that game. Hopefully that experience, as painful as it was, will lead to better things.

  45. teal379 says:
    May 3, 2018 at 10:40 am
    Eagles put up the same number of points against the Pats (basically) and the Pats D wasn’t rated nearly as high as MN’s. They were also playing without their best corner.

    Looking at whom MN played all season – not a lot of offensive juggernauts.

    I’d say MNs defense wasn’t really as good as their ranking.

    —————-

    I think it’s possible the Vikings maybe weren’t as good as their #1 ranking. Several things broke the right away. No Aaron Rodgers, several yearly contenders missing the playoffs last year. There’s a reason the Eagles won the Superbowl with a backup QB. Easier Path last year. But you can’t say the Vikings aren’t at least a top 5 defense. You just can’t.

  46. What Smith fails to account for was it was a playoff game. The Vikings have a long and rich history in blowing playoff games, it’s in their DNA. They no longer just lose them, they find creative ways to throw the game away, missed 26 yard FG’s, sending 12 men into the huddle, missing a FG attempt for the first time all season.

    So the Vikings turned back the time machine to the early 2000’s where they once lost a playoff game by 41 points. This time, they improved and only lost by 31 points. From the perspective of a Viking fan, they are headed in the right direction.

  47. fmc651 says:

    May 3, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    The Eagles offense didn’t put up 38 points. Plenty of people remember a score but didn’t pay attention to the game.Just like the false narrative the Saints took over on offense in the second half. Brees scored on 2 short field drives. One aided by a bad throw by Case. And the other because of a blocked punt(which the Vikings should not have been punting because Thielen was mugged on 3rd down no call). So just stop that it was 6 quarters when it wasn’t. They got beat by a better team in Philly. We will see what 2018 brings.

    ————

    The Eagles offense didn’t have to. They scored at will.

    After that interception return for a TD, it was all Eagles, all game. Yes, MN had that next drive where they went down the field…and turned the ball over in the red zone.

    As said above, everything went wrong for the Vikings in that game. But don’t take credit away from the Eagles offense. Nick Foles had a stellar game. They could have put up another 14 points if they wanted to. They ended up just running the clock out though.

    But, as also said above, Smith was responsible for 14 of those Eagles points. He was consistently a step or so late. He got beat over the top on the flea flicker. He bit on a double move. And most importantly, he couldn’t cover Zach Ertz with a blanket.

  48. I didn’t say anything about the Eagles offense at all. I was talking about the Saints in my comments with the INT and 2 short field drives. The only comment I made regarding the Eagles game was ” They (Vikings) got beat by a better team in Philly’. That doesn’t sound like I was taking credit away from anyone.

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