When the Vikings traveled to London and faced the Browns on Oct. 29, they brought home a victory that sent them into the bye week with a comfortable 6-2 record.
Unfortunately, they also brought back something else: A case of plantar fasciitis — a painful foot injury — suffered by premier pass rusher Everson Griffen during the game. Griffen ended up missing just one game, a testament to his recovery regimen, but the injury seemed to have a lingering impact.
Griffen had 10 sacks in the first eight games. In the final seven regular season games, after sitting out the Washington game because of the injury, Griffen had just three sacks.
The Vikings' pass rush statistics as a team followed a similar pattern. They had 24 sacks in the first eight games, a pace for 48 (which would have put them in the top five in the NFL this year). But they had just 13 sacks in their final eight regular season games and just three in two playoff games.
Read Michael Rand's blog at startribune.com/randball. firstname.lastname@example.org.