Vikings LB Eric Kendricks is one of the team's young stars on defense. Bruce Kluckhohn USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings are one of the NFL's best defensive teams this year, as evidenced by this statistic from their official public relations Twitter account.

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In addition to being the only team that has limited each of its opponents to 23 points or fewer this season, the Vikings' points-against average (17.4 points allowed per game) ranks second in the NFL. Only the Denver Broncos are giving up fewer points on a per-game basis with 16.

Minnesota's defensive success stems from head coach Mike Zimmer, who previously coordinated defenses in Dallas, Atlanta and Cincinnati. Under his guidance, players such as safety Harrison Smith, end Everson Griffen and rookie linebacker Eric Kendricks have blossomed into stars for the Vikings this season.

There are plenty of role players chipping in for the Vikings on defense, too, and their unheralded efforts have helped the team keep opponents out of the end zone while allowing an average of 334 yards per game (seventh-fewest in NFL).

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