Each Wednesday, we highlight five Vikings stats that really mean something.
0.21 — yards per route run by Mike Wallace the past four games
On Sunday, for the second time in four games, Wallace was held without a catch. He was targeted just twice against the Packers, dropping one pass and not being able to get both hands on quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s deep ball on the other. According to Pro Football Focus, Wallace ran 124 total routes the past four games but he had just two catches and 26 receiving yards to show for it. That’s an average of 0.21 yards per route run, dead last in the NFL over that span. On the season, Wallace is averaging 1.04 yards per route run, which ranks 73rd among 80 qualifying wide receivers.
77 — total offensive plays run by the Packers on Sunday
Part of the plan for the Packers game was to rely on running back Adrian Peterson to move the chains, hog the ball and limit the opportunities for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. But the Vikings weren’t able to do that. They only had two offensive drives that lasted more than six plays and none that had double-digit plays. The Packers, meanwhile, were able to run 77 plays, the most an offense has had against the Vikings defense this season. That resulted in season-high snap totals for five defenders, including nose tackle Linval Joseph and defensive end Brian Robison.
eight — total pressures allowed by Joe Berger this season
The preseason loss of starting center John Sullivan looked like it would be a significant blow for the Vikings. But there has been little drop-off, if any, from Sullivan to his replacement, Berger. The veteran Berger has performed well in both pass protection and run blocking for an otherwise dismal unit. He has been beaten for just one sack and eight total pressures, tied for the fourth-fewest number of pressures among NFL centers, according to Pro Football Focus. Vikings running backs are also averaging 4.4 yards per carry with three touchdowns while running behind Berger.
12 — turnovers for the Falcons in their previous five games
Want the biggest reason why the Falcons have gone 1-4 in their last five games after winning their first five? Turnovers. The Falcons fumbled 10 times in their past five games, losing six of them. And Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan threw six interceptions, including one of the most inexplicable pick-sixes you’ll ever see last weekend against the Colts. On the flip side, though, the Vikings defense has not created many turnovers recently. Since the bye week, they have just three takeaways, two of them coming in the win over the Raiders two weeks ago. Can they steal a couple more Sunday?
three — consecutive road wins for Mike Zimmer’s squad
The Vikings will take a three-game road winning streak into Atlanta. By beating the Lions, Bears and Raiders, they have won three straight road games for the first time since 2009. Now 3-2 away from TCF Bank Stadium, they are interestingly one of a dozen NFL teams with a winning record on the road at this point. If the Vikings beat the Falcons, it will be the first time they won four straight road games in a single season since 1998, which was the last time the franchise had a winning record on the road, going 7-1.