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Vikes' defense needs major overhaul

It should be as clear as glass after last Monday's 45-7 loss to Green Bay that the Minnesota Vikings need some serious help on defense.

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers exposed one of Minnesota's basic weaknesses by passing for four touchdowns. Only seven of Green Bay's 32 passes fell incomplete.

It was a turkey shoot and the turkeys were in Minnesota's secondary.

Corner Antoine Winfield is a great tackler but his season is over with a broken clavicle. Cedric Griffin is not the player he was before his two surgeries. Chris Cook will find it hard to cover receivers from a jail cell. Safety Husain Abdullah has a concussion. But it is not injuries or felonies that are hurting the Vikes. It is a basic lack of talent.

Only six of the 32 NFL teams have given up more points than the Vikes and only two - New England and Green Bay - allow more passing yardage. The Vikes have the sixth-best rushing defense but that figure is very deceptive.

My beef with the Vikings is that they have never really taken their secondary seriously in the draft. They practically refuse to spend a No. 1 draft choice on a corner or a safety. The last time they drafted a corner No. 1 was in 1994 when they selected Dewayne Washington. The last time they drafted a safety No. 1 was 1983 when they took Joey Browner.

The NFL has never been more pass-oriented than it is today and yet the Vikes refuse to get serious about their coverage package.

Going hot and heavy after a brand-new secondary would mean the Vikes would have to sacrifice at other positions. They need a defensive tackle, they could use a couple of new linebackers. They are short of big play receivers and depth on offense and the offensive line needs new life.

Every NFL team has strengths and weaknesses. Three years ago when the Vikings had Brett Favre playing like a kid again they could cover up some of their defensive weaknesses with a high-scoring offense. Now they have rookie quarterback Christian Ponder trying to out-run the wolves.

There is a reason the Vikes are bringing up the rear in the NFC North and it starts with Zygi Wilf and the front office. If it is right at the top it will be right at the bottom. Wilf went after free agents in a big way when he first took over. Now that the stadium issue is rocking back and forth he seems to have lost his taste for putting the best team he can on the field.