Each Wednesday, we highlight five Vikings stats that really mean something.
120 — rushing yards outside the tackles for the 49ers on Monday.
I could have picked a number of alarming stats to support how the Vikings struggled to stop the run. Like the 49ers’ yards before contact (129). Or their yards after contact (101). Or that it was the most rushing yards (230) that a Zimmer defense had given up since 2009. But from my vantage point, it was those outside stretch runs that the 49ers used that really gave the Vikings problems. Whether the 49ers sealed the edge and got Carlos Hyde outside or the Vikings over-pursued and opened up cutback lanes, the 49ers gouged them on runs outside of the tackles for a total of 120 yards on 16 carries, according to ESPN Stats and Info. Count on seeing more of these outside runs until the Vikings prove they can bottle up running backs.
13 — missed tackles for the Vikings defense against the 49ers.
OK, here is one more stat that ties into the issues trying to contain Hyde and the 49ers. The Vikings whiffed on a bunch of tackles, most of them coming against the run. Only the Colts, Rams and Raiders missed more tackles in the first week of the season, per Pro Football Focus. And a lot of Vikings got in the act. Ten different defenders missed a tackle. Starting defensive ends Everson Griffen and Brian Robison combined for five of them.
12 — play-action pass attempts for 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick.
The 49ers masterfully mixed in play-action passes with their dominant ground game to really keep the Vikings on their heels. No one attempted more passes after play fakes in Week 1 than Kaepernick, according to Pro Football Focus. Kaepernick completed 10 of those 12 throws for 101 yards and a 101.7 passer rating. On his 14 throws without play-action, Kaepernick completed just seven of them for 64 yards and a passer rating of 62.8.
39.4 — QB Teddy Bridgewater’s passer rating when pressured.
Bridgewater was pressured on 15 of his 39 dropbacks, according to Pro Football Focus, and he didn’t handle it as well as he did down the stretch last season. He took five sacks and his overthrow interception came when he was under duress Monday. He completed five of his nine under-pressure throws for 66 yards and a passer rating of 39.4. Over his final six games of 2014, Bridgewater had a 90.4 passer rating when he was under pressure.
four — runs out of the shotgun formation for RB Adrian Peterson.
Much was made about the Vikings spending so much time in the shotgun on Monday night, even though it was pretty obvious that this was the direction the team was going offensively. All the fuss was likely because Peterson mentioned after the 20-3 loss that he felt a little “hesitant” running from shotgun formations. But only four of Peterson’s 10 carries came from the shotgun, according to Pro Football Focus, and he rushed for seven yards on those carries. When taking handoffs with Bridgewater under center, he was better with 24 yards on six carries but still pretty average on those.