Each Wednesday, we highlight five Vikings stats that really mean something.
four — passing touchdowns allowed by Xavier Rhodes this season
Rhodes was one of the NFL’s stingiest cornerbacks in the second half of last season, which led to national praise for the youngster. This season, though, Rhodes did not pick where he left off. He was beaten for another touchdown in the 28-19 win over the Lions and, according to Pro Football Focus, he has now been victimized for four in six games. Their charting says he has allowed 60.5 percent of the passes thrown his way to be completed for 361 yards. And that’s not including the penalty yardage he has given away — a team-high 96 yards on 10 penalties, one of which was declined.
eight — catches of 20-plus yards by rookie wideout Stefon Diggs
In last week’s installment, I pointed out that quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and the Vikings stretched the field vertically more often against the Chiefs than they did before the bye week. That trend continued against the Lions. He threw a dozen passes 10 or more yards downfield, giving him 28 the past two weeks. One of them, of course, was that spectacular touchdown catch by Diggs, already a big-play threat. In three games, he has eight receptions for 20-plus yards. That’s as many as his teammates have combined in 2015.
29 — runs of two or fewer yards for Adrian Peterson since the bye
Peterson ranks fourth in the NFL in rushing and only five running backs have averaged more yards per game. He is averaging a respectable 4.4 yards per carry, but his numbers have been pumped up by a few long runs. Take the win over the Lions for example. Peterson rushed for 98 yards on 19 carries, but 75 of them came on one run. He gained two or fewer yards on 14 of his carries, according to my colleague Michael Rand. And 29 of his 45 carries over the past two weeks were for two yards or fewer. Talk about famine.
10 — consecutive field-goal attempts made by kicker Blair Walsh
Since missing a 32-yard field goal early in the Broncos game, Walsh has made 10 straight field goal attempts, including four from 45 yards or more. In the Lions game, two of his five successful field-goal tries were from beyond 50. The average distance on those 10 makes were 38.3 yards. Now, after finishing last in the NFL in field-goal percentage a season ago, Walsh is currently at 87.5 percent, which puts him 14th among qualified kickers.
19 — number of pressures allowed by Brandon Fusco in 2015
In the offseason, the Vikings moved Fusco, an above average player at right guard, over to left guard. So far, Fusco has struggled with that transition, particularly in pass protection. Against the Lions, he allowed a sack, another quarterback hit and four hurries, according to Pro Football Focus. He has now allowed two sacks and 19 total pressures in six games. Only four NFL guards have given up more pressures. In 2013, Fusco’s last full season at right guard, he allowed just 23 total pressures in 15 games played.