In recent weeks, the Vikings have kept all three of their active tight ends busy. They kept the trend going in Sunday’s 30-14 win over the Raiders.
It’s hard to argue with the results, as running back Adrian Peterson rushed for a season-high 203 yards and topped 100 for the third straight week.
Starting tight end Kyle Rudolph led their skill position players in snaps, playing 53 out of the 62 offensive snaps. He had just one catch for seven yards and dropped a would-be touchdown pass in the first quarter. But he made a difference as a run blocker, most notably sealing the edge on Peterson’s 80-yard touchdown run that, well, sealed a Vikings win.
Rhett Ellison, who caught a touchdown pass from Teddy Bridgewater in the first quarter, played 37 snaps. It was the third time in his past four games that he was out there for at least 50 percent of the offensive snaps.
Rookie tight end MyCole Pruitt, who had two catches for 17 yards, played 17 snaps, the fifth straight game in which he played at least a dozen.
The increased usage of multiple-TE sets has cut into the playing time for everybody in the team’s wide receiver group. Despite using a third wide receiver less, the Vikings have continued to rotate at that position.
Starters Stefon Diggs and Mike Wallace played 45 and 42 snaps, respectively. Jarius Wright and Charles Johnson had similar snap counts for a second straight week, with Wright out-snapping Johnson this time, 17-15.
Cordarrelle Patterson got two offensive snaps and Adam Thielen got one.
Here are some other observations from the NFL’s official snap counts:
— For the second straight week, Chad Greenway was pretty much an every-down player, though this time he did it at middle linebacker. With Eric Kendricks missing his second straight game, Greenway unofficially got his first career start in the middle, playing 63 of the 64 defensive snaps and tying for the team lead with eight tackles. Anthony Barr, despite a hand injury, played 57 snaps. And Brandon Watts, who replaced Greenway at weak-side linebacker, played a career-high 23 snaps in the win.
— Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd returned yesterday after an injury-related three-game absence, but he took a back seat to Tom Johnson. Johnson got his fourth straight start and out-snapped Floyd, 44-23. Nose tackle Linval Joseph played 46 snaps while backup Kenrick Ellis was inactive.
— Starting defensive ends Brian Robison and Everson Griffen hardly left the field against the Raiders. Robison played all but two snaps for his highest playing-time percentage of the season. Griffen wasn’t far behind with 58 snaps. Despite that, rookie defensive end Danielle Hunter still played 22 snaps as coach Mike Zimmer moved around players up front.
— Veteran cornerback Terence Newman was one of the stars of the game with a pair of picks. After the second one, which preceded Peterson’s 80-yarder, he was replaced by rookie Trae Waynes, who played 11 snaps on the final drive. Starting safeties Harrison Smith and Andrew Sendejo played all 64 snaps, as did starting cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Nickel corner Captain Munnerlyn played 49 snaps, four fewer than Newman.
— Peterson played 45 snaps while his backups, Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon, got 13 and four, respectively. Fullback Zach Line played 18 snaps, his seventh straight game with between 13 and 19 snaps.
— Bridgewater played every snap, but you didn’t need me to tell you that.