Each Wednesday, we highlight five Vikings stats that really mean something.
42.4 — percentage of snaps in the shotgun the past four weeks
The Vikings put quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in the shotgun on 58.5 percent of their snaps in their first four games, two of which they lost, as they tried to integrate running back Adrian Peterson into the spread attack they used for much of the 2014 season. But since the bye week, the Vikings have been putting Bridgewater under center more often. According to Pro Football Focus, they have used shotgun formations on 42.4 percent of their snaps during their four-game winning streak. Sure, they use shotgun less when playing with the lead. But still, this feels like a philosophical shift.
one — NFL team that has yet to allow 24-plus points in a game
Yup, you guessed it. It’s the Vikings. The most points that coach Mike Zimmer’s defense has allowed in a game is 23 points, in the Week 4 loss in Denver. Since then, the most they have allowed in one game in 20 points, in the Week 8 win in Chicago. Every other NFL team has allowed at least 24 in one game. The Vikings are allowing just 17.5 points per game, which ranks second to the Broncos, who have allowed just one fewer point overall.
29.7 — opponents’ conversion rate on third down this season
One reason why the Vikings have been so stingy on the scoreboard is that they get off the field on third down. In Sunday’s overtime win over the Rams, they allowed their visitors to convert just two of their 16 third-down opportunities. Their opponents now have a 29.7 third-down conversion rate this season, which ranks second in the NFL behind the Texans. Last season, the Vikings ranked 20th with a 41.5 percent rate on third down.
zero — sacks allowed by guard Mike Harris through eight games
Before Week 1, Harris had not started at guard since peewee football. He certainly hasn’t looked out of place. Harris has not been beaten for a single sack, according to Pro Football Focus, and they say he has allowed just one quarterback hit and seven hurries. Only three guards have given up fewer pressures. Meanwhile, at the other guard spot, Brandon Fusco continues to struggle. He has now been beaten for two sacks and 30 total pressures, five more than the next guard on the list, Brandon Scherff of the Redskins.
six — touchdown passes for Bridgewater in his second season
This weekend, the Vikings will face Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who was drafted four picks after Bridgewater last spring. Carr has tossed 19 touchdown passes. That’s more than three times as many as Bridgewater, who has thrown six. The Vikings are dead last in the league in passing touchdowns. Even the 49ers, who are now starting Blaine Gabbert, have more. Heck, Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw seven TD passes in one game a couple of weeks ago! But hey, the Vikings are still 6-2, right?