Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.

Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.

Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Vikings snap counts: Gerhart, backups play larger role with injuries

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: December 9, 2013 - 9:26 AM

The morning after a 29-26 loss to the Ravens, we take a look at the Vikings’ snap distribution on offense and defense.

Offense: 66 snaps


QB Matt Cassel – 66 snaps (played 100% on offense)

QB Josh Freeman – DNP

Despite the snow and freezing rain, the Vikings threw more (38 attempts) than they ran the ball (25). Cassel started with Christian Ponder inactive (concussion) and went 17 of 38 for 265 yards and two touchdowns with an 86 quarterback rating.

Running Back/Fullback

RB Toby Gerhart – 44 (67%)

FB Jerome Felton – 18 (27%)

RB Adrian Peterson – 16 (24%)

Peterson left the game in the second quarter due to a sprained right foot. Gerhart took over as the lead running back and broke off a 41-yard touchdown right up the middle with 1:27 left. Gerhart did lose the ball once that resulted in the only touchdown in the first half. He knee appeared down before the ball was loose, but the officials upheld  the original call after review.

Gerhart finished with 15 carries for 89 yards. Peterson had seven carries for 13 yards before the injury.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

WR Greg Jennings – 56 (85%)

WR Cordarrelle Patterson – 50 (76%)

WR Jerome Simpson – 40 (71%)

TE John Carlson – 39 (59%)

TE Rhett Ellison – 32 (48%)

WR Joe Webb – 10 (15%)

WR Jarius Wright – 7 (11%)

TE Chase Ford – 6 (9%)

Patterson reached 50 snaps in a game for the first time this season. He scored on a 79-yard screen pass on third down with 45 seconds left that was the longest play of the game.

Jennings led the unit with 10 targets, but he finished with five catches for 53 yards. Simpson caught his first touchdown pass during his two seasons with the Vikings for eight yards with 14:22 left in the game. He finished with four catches for 48 yards.

Tight end John Carlson was evaluated for a concussion after taking a big hit in the third quarter.

Offensive Line

G Charlie Johnson – 86 (100%)

C John Sullivan – 86 (100%)

T Matt Kalil – 86 (100%)

T Phil Loadholt – 64 (97%)

C Joe Berger – 61 (92%)

G Brandon Fusco – 5 (8%)

Fusco left the game due to a knee injury in the first quarter and played just five snaps. Berger filled in at right guard for the rest of the game and was called for a personal foul penalty on an 18-yard run by Patterson that had the Vikings at the 2-yard line. They settled for a field goal on the drive.

 The unit didn’t give up a sack after allowing 11 in the last two games. Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil did not play due to an ankle injury.

The offensive line also had some nice blocks on Patterson’s 79-yard screen pass for a touchdown. The Vikings averaged 4.6 yards per carry and finished with 114 yards.


QB Christian Ponder, G Jeff Baca, T Mike Remmers, TE Kyle Rudolph, WR Rodney Smith

Defense: 85 snaps

Defensive Line

DE Jared Allen – 78 (92%)

DE Brian Robison – 64 (75%)

DE Everson Griffen – 59 (69%)

DT Kevin Williams – 53 (62%)

DT Sharrif Floyd – 34 (40%)

NT Letroy Guion – 34 (40%)

NT Fred Evans – 28 (33%)

Allen and Robison each recorded a sack in the first half, bringing both of their season totals up to seven each (tied for team-high). The front line had five quarterback hits, including two from Floyd, who had a solid game in 34 snaps.

Ravens running back Ray Rice was bottled up as he’s been for most of the season. He had 17 carries for 67 yards. Surprisingly, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco had team’s longest run for 22 yards.


LB Audie Cole – 85 (100%)

LB Chad Greenway – 85 (100%)

LB Erin Henderson – 7 (5%)

LB Marvin Mitchell – 5 (6%)

Henderson was expected to play more as the outside linebacker, but the Vikings hardly used an outside linebacker. Henderson and Mitchell combined for 12 snaps as the defense remained in the nickel for most of the game.

Cole lead the team with 12 tackles, followed by Greenway’s 11 tackles. Greenway played well with an interception, a tackle for loss and a pass defended.

Greenway was called for pass interference on the final drive that led to the game-winning touchdown with four seconds left. Players and head coach Leslie Frazier complained about some of the calls in the game, including Greenway’s pass interference.


SS Jamarca Sanford – 85 (100%)

CB Chris Cook – 84 (99%)

FS Andrew Sendejo – 80 (94%)

SS Robert Blanton – 74 (87%)

CB Xavier Rhodes – 60 (71%)

CB Marcus Sherels – 21 (25%)

Sendejo and Sherels each had an interception, matching the secondary’s total for the season (both previous interceptions by Harrison Smith). Sherels filled in for Rhodes, who left in the fourth quarter due to an ankle injury. Rhodes said after the game he “rolled” his ankle.

The secondary contained Flacco up until the final minutes of the fourth quarter when he recorded two of the Ravens’ three longest plays in the game. Their offense scored two touchdowns in the final 2:05 on drives of 64 and 80 yards.


CB Josh Robinson, DT Chase Baker


Cleveland - LP: T. House 1 FINAL
Detroit - WP: A. Simon 4
Chicago Cubs 0 Postponed
Cincinnati 0
Kansas City 0 Postponed
Chicago WSox 0
Houston - WP: S. Feldman 9 FINAL
Oakland - LP: K. Graveman 3
NY Mets - WP: M. Harvey 8 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: C. Sabathia 2
Washington - LP: S. Strasburg 0 FINAL
Miami - WP: T. Koehler 8
Toronto - LP: B. Cecil 2 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: E. Frieri 4
Atlanta - WP: S. Miller 5 FINAL
Philadelphia - LP: D. Buchanan 2
Boston - LP: K. Uehara 4 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: B. Matusz 5
St. Louis - WP: M. Belisle 5 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: W. Peralta 3
Pittsburgh - WP: T. Watson 2 FINAL
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 1
San Francisco - WP: J. Machi 5 FINAL
Colorado - LP: B. Brown 4
Los Angeles - WP: B. McCarthy 11 FINAL
San Diego - LP: I. Kennedy 8
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 1 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: V. Pestano 4
Minnesota - WP: T. Stauffer 8 FINAL
Seattle - LP: J. Paxton 5
Atlanta 83 FINAL
Brooklyn 91
Chicago 90 FINAL
Milwaukee 92
Golden State 109 FINAL
New Orleans 98
Memphis 115 FINAL
Portland 109
Washington 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 3
Detroit 4 FINAL
Tampa Bay 0
Nashville 3 FINAL
Chicago 4
Vancouver 4 FINAL
Calgary 7
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Columbus 4
Real Salt Lake 0 FINAL
New England 4
Sporting Kansas City 4 FINAL
Houston 4
Vancouver FC 1
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