The Purple People Eaters 2.0
In reality, there’s no Thanksgiving without acknowledging the second coming of the “Purple People Eaters.” Given out as the nickname for the dominant Vikings defensive line of Carl Eller, Alan Page, Gary Larsen and Jim Marshall in the late ’60s, early ’70s, the name now belongs to the group of Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph, Tom Johnson and Danielle Hunter. A dominant line in their own right.
So far, Everson Griffen is tied for fourth in the league with 10 sacks, while Danielle Hunter has five of his own. On the inside, Linval Joseph is known as the top run stuffer in the league and Tom Johnson brings a consistent pass rush up the middle for the Vikings. Not to mention, Brian Robison is a great situational pass rusher on the in and outside. Overall, there’s likely not a better defensive front in the game right now.
Yet, the rest of the Minnesota defense equally deserves credit too. In fact, if it were up to me, the whole defense makes up the second coming of the Purple People Eaters.
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In particular, linebackers Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks are having Pro Bowl caliber seasons, while rookie linebacker Ben Gedeon is playing well in the base defense. In the backfield, Harrison Smith and Xavier Rhodes are arguably the best at their respective positions, while Andrew Sendejo and Trae Waynes are putting together their best seasons as pros. And, of course, 15-year veteran Terence Newman is still getting it done at the age of 39 years old.
In their last showing against the Los Angeles Rams, the defense put on a clinic, holding the top-scoring offense to seven points. Most impressively, those seven points were given up on the Rams’ first drive, so they held them to one big ole goose egg the rest of the way.
While they may not always receive the level of recognition they deserve for their efforts, die-hard Vikings fans, players, and coaches know what the defense means to this team. Basically, they have been the consistent force that’s carried this team over the last few years and for that, everyone involved should be extremely thankful for the elite defense.