Detroit Lions: Ranking the NFC North defenses for 2020

Khalil Mack, Chicago Bears (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Khalil Mack, Chicago Bears (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /
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Harrison Smith, Minnesota Vikings (Photo by Rob Leiter via Getty Images)
Harrison Smith, Minnesota Vikings (Photo by Rob Leiter via Getty Images) /

1) Minnesota Vikings

As long as Mike Zimmer is in charge of the Minnesota Vikings, we can expect that they will be a good defensive team. The fact that they also have playmakers on every level of the defense as well makes the Vikings the top defense in the NFC North.

This isn’t to say that they haven’t been hit by departures, especially at cornerback, but No matter what else happens in Minnesota, Zimmer finds a way to get the most out of the defense.

Despite the losses of Everson Griffin and Linval Joseph on the defensive line, the Vikings will still create havoc at the line of scrimmage. Danielle Hunter is still among the best pass-rushers in the game, just ask Matthew Stafford. Michael Pierce who was signed from Baltimore was the Ravens” anchor in the middle of their defensive front.

Now with the opportunity to work with Zimmer, Pierce may only get better.

The rest of the defensive line is in flux with the likes of Ifeadi Odenigbo, Shamar Stephen, former Lion Anthony Zettel, and Eddie Yarbrough. That doesn’t mean they won’t be good, but they may be just a little different from what we’re used to. Rookies D.J. Wonnum, Kenny Willekes, and James Lynch will be trying their best to make an impression too.

The Viking linebacker corps will make the defensive line better just by their presence. Eric Kendricks is one of the top middle backers in the NFL, Anthony Barr is versatile and can make plays, while Ben Gedeon is too often overlooked.

The secondary is the real key to the Vikings 2020 defensive success. The safety combination of Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris is perhaps the best in the NFL. But they will need to be in order to help out the young corners. Mike Hughes and Holton Hill seem like the early favorites, especially given no offseason on-field workouts, to start but first-round pick Jeff Gladney may have something to say about that by the time the exhibition season has ended.

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No defense in the division is perfect, but the Vikings pack enough talented bodies to go with exceptional defensive coaching by Zimmer to make them the easy favorite to be the best defense in the NFC North in 2020.

How do you rank the NFC North defenses?