Robison: Variety could help Vikings' D

MANKATO, Minn. -- We've talked at various points about how Mike Zimmer's defense will have the benefit of unpredictability in a tough early-season stretch of the Minnesota Vikings' schedule, and how his teams have actually done fairly well against Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers in the past.

Count Vikings defensive end Brian Robison among those who believe that the Vikings needed to mix things up on defense.

Robison stopped short of saying the team's old Cover-2 scheme had become predictable, but pointed out how often the rest of the league -- especially the quarterbacks in the Vikings' division -- had seen the team in the same looks.

"There were some times we'd line up, and Aaron Rodgers is calling out our defense as we line up," Robison said. "I think the thing with Zimmer's defense is, he's going to definitely keep them off-balance. There are so many disguised looks and so many ways that we line up as a defense -- different fronts, I mean, it's just all over the board. It's a lot of stuff to learn in a short period of time, but if we can learn it and we can execute it, it's definitely going to keep offenses off-balance this season."

The Vikings certainly had problems with personnel and execution on defense last season, so it's probably overly simplistic to suggest they'll be able to solve all their problems simply by running a more unpredictable scheme this season. But consider this: Every time Rodgers has lined up against the Vikings' defense since he became the Packers' starting quarterback in 2008, he's seen the same general defensive concepts.

If nothing else, a move away from the Cover-2 base defense will give quarterbacks something else to think about this year. That'll be especially true early in the season, when Brady, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Rodgers will have minimal tape of the Vikings' new defense under Zimmer. If the Vikings can master the wrinkles of a new scheme, it can't hurt them as they try to survive a slate of matchups with prolific QBs in the season's first month.