Every Wednesday morning, beat writer Matt Vensel will share five Vikings stats that actually mean something heading into that weekend's game.
48.0 — percentage of Sam Bradford's yards actually in the air
With 3,627 passing yards in 14 starts this season, Bradford has the highest passing total by a Vikings quarterback since Brett Favre in 2009. When Favre threw for 4,202 yards that season, 51.7 percent of those yards came through the air (with the rest coming after the catch), per Sporting Charts. Meanwhile, 48.0 percent of Bradford's yards have come through the air. Only Alex Smith of the Chiefs has a lower percentage among NFL starters. Jameis Winston of the Buccaneers has the highest percentage at 66.6.
40 — receiving yards Adam Thielen needs Sunday to reach 1,000
A month ago, it looked like Stefon Diggs was the only Vikings wideout capable of reaching 1,000 yards. Then Thielen went off down the stretch. He had 86 yards against the Cowboys then 101 against the Jaguars. He didn’t have a catch against the Colts before he was knocked out of the game. But he bounced back with a dozen catches for a career-high 202 yards in the loss to the Packers. Suddenly, Thielen is only 40 yards shy of becoming the team’s first 1,000-yard receiver since Sidney Rice in 2009.
7 — Vikings defenders who got beaten by Jordy Nelson for a catch
The story after the loss to the Packers was cornerback Xavier Rhodes saying that he and Terence Newman decided to disregard the defensive game plan, a statement he has since backpedaled from. If they did decide that Rhodes shouldn't trail Nelson, that's a big deal. But that is not why Nelson had a monster game. Because he often lined up on the slot, too, he was able to beat seven Vikings defenders for a catch, according to Pro Football Focus. He finished with nine catches for 154 yards and two TDs.
0 — quarterback pressures generated Saturday by Shamar Stephen
The Vikings got to Aaron Rodgers a few times Saturday, but he made them pay when they were unable to pressure him. Part of the reason why they could not do it consistently enough was a lack of push on the interior. With defensive tackles Sharrif Floyd and Tom Johnson both on injured reserve, Stephen was asked to rush the passer more often. But in 27 runs at Rodgers, he failed to record a single pressure, per PFF. The Vikings will likely need to add another pass-rushing defensive tackle this offseason.
3 — Vikings players who attended Hutchinson Community College
Rick Spielman's fondness for Notre Dame players is well known, but the Vikings actually have more guys who attended Hutchinson Community College. Quarterback Shaun Hill, wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and defensive tackle Toby Johnson all spent time at the JUCO in Kansas before moving on to Div. I programs. Hill, who is nearing the end of his NFL career, was there a decade before Patterson and Johnson, of course. But the Blue Dragons now outnumber Golden Domers by a 3-to-2 margin.