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 mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Vikings snap count: Harrison Smith eases back at safety

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion under Quarterbacks, Vikings, Adrian Peterson, Brian Robison, Chad Greenway, Jared Allen, John Sullivan, Kevin Williams, Phil Loadholt Updated: December 16, 2013 - 10:38 AM

The morning after a 48-30 win over the Eagles, we take a look at the Vikings’ snap distribution on offense and defense.

Offense: 75 snaps

Quarterback

QB Matt Cassel – 75 snaps (played 100% on offense)

QB Christian Ponder – DNP

Cassel finished with the fourth most passing yards (382) among quarterbacks on Sunday and the only one in the top seven to win. He went 26 of 35 with two touchdowns and an interception, finishing with a 116.6 passer rating. The Eagles defense was ranked 29th in total defense entering the game, but it was the only team in the NFL that didn’t allow over 21 points since Week 5.

That streak is now history.

Running Back/Fullback

RB Matt Asiata – 65 (87%)

FB Jerome Felton – 28 (37%)

RB Joe Banyard – 5 (7%)

The average wasn’t pretty (1.7), but Asiata scored his first three career touchdowns in his first career start. Asiata became the first player in a first career start to rush for three or more touchdowns since former Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper. He remarkably received 30 carries in the game for 51 yards.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

TE Rhett Ellison – 64 (85%)

WR Greg Jennings – 50 (67%)

WR Cordarrelle Patterson – 42 (56%)

WR Jerome Simpson – 36 (48%)

TE Chase Ford – 35 (47%)

WR Jarius Wright – 23 (31%)

WR Joe Webb – 17 (23%)

Jennings had a career-high 11 receptions for 163 yards and a touchdown. He had 13 targets, more than double the receiver with the second most targets (Patterson had six). Cassel has made Jennings worth every dollar the Vikings paid him in the offseason.

Offensive Line

C Joe Berger – 75 (100%)

G Charlie Johnson – 75 (100%)

C John Sullivan – 75 (100%)

T Matt Kalil – 75 (100%)

T Phil Loadholt – 75 (100%)

T J’Marcus Webb – 7 (9%)

G Joe Baca – 3 (4%)

Berger filled in at guard for Brandon Fusco, and the offensive line did a good job protecting Cassel for most of the game. A good example was Cassel’s 57 yard touchdown to Jennings. The offensive line bought him enough time to hit Jennings in stride. Cassel was still sacked three times though.

Inactives: QB Josh Freeman, RB Adrian Peterson (foot), RB Toby Gerhart (hamstring), G Brandon Fusco (knee), TE John Carlson (concussion)

The Vikings scored 48 points without Peterson and Gerhart. That says enough about Cassel’s day.

Defense: 69 snaps

Defensive Line

DE Jared Allen – 65 (94%)

DE Brian Robison – 58 (84%)

DE Everson Griffen – 42 (61%)

DT Kevin Williams – 37 (54%)

DT Sharrif Floyd – 32 (46%)

NT Letroy Guion – 22 (32%)

NT Fred Evans – 20 (29%)

DT Chase Baker – DNP

Allen and Robison finished with two sacks each and seem to mirror each other in that category down the stretch. They combined for six of the team’s 10 quarterback hits. Williams also had two quarterback hits.

The most impressive aspect of Sunday’s game was how the defense limited Eagles running back LeSean McCoy to eight carries for 38 yards. To put that in perfective, Asiata had 22 more carries than the league’s leading rusher.

Linebacker

LB Chad Greenway – 69 (100%)

LB Audie Cole – 67 (97%)

LB Erin Henderson – 11 (16%)

LB Marvin Mitchell – 1 (1%)

Henderson saw an increase in snaps, particularly short yardage downs, but the Vikings remained almost exclusively in the nickel. Cole led the unit with seven tackles and a quarterback hit. Greenway had five tackles.

Secondary

CB Marcus Sherels – 69 (100%)

CB Shaun Prater – 69 (100%)

FS Harrison Smith – 61 (88%)

SS Robert Blanton – 59 (86%)

SS Jamarca Sanford – 47 (68%)

FS Andrew Sendejo – 30 (43%)

CB Robert Steeples – DNP

Smith didn’t start the game but that’d be hard to tell based on the amount of snaps he received. He was rotating with Sendejo, but Smith took over at safety in the second half. He finished tied with a team-high eight tackles with Blanton.

The cornerbacks had a good day without three players although Eagles quarterback Nick Foles finished with 428 yards. Prater got his first career NFL start and an interception against his former team. Sherels finished fourth on the team with six tackles.

Inactives: CB Xavier Rhodes (ankle), CB Chris Cook (knee)

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Kansas City - LP: B. Chen 1 FINAL
Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber 5
Cincinnati - WP: T. Cingrani 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: B. Cumpton 1
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Quintana 4 FINAL
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NY Mets - WP: B. Colon 4
Minnesota - WP: R. Nolasco 9 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: E. Bedard 7
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2013 preseason     
Aug 9 - vs. Houston 7 pmX27-13
Aug 16 - at Buffalo 6 pmX20-16
Aug 25 - at San Francisco 7 pmX34-14
Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee 7 pmX24-23
2013 regular season     
Sep 8 - at Detroit NoonX34-24
Sep 15 - at Chicago NoonX31-30
Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland NoonX31-27
Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London) NoonX34-27
Oct 6 - Bye
Oct 13 - vs. Carolina NoonX35-10
Oct 21 - at. NY Giants 7:40 pmX23-7
Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay 7:30 pmX44-31
Nov 3 - at Dallas NoonX27-23
Nov 7 - vs. Washington 7:25 pmX34-27
Nov 17 - at Seattle 3:25 pmX41-20
Nov. 24 - at Green Bay Noon26-26
Dec 1 - vs. Chicago NoonX23-20
Dec 8 - at Baltimore NoonX29-26
Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia NoonX48-30
Dec 22 - at Cincinnati NoonX42-14
Dec 29 - vs. Detroit NoonX14-13

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