Each Wednesday, we highlight five Vikings stats that really mean something.
5.4 — yards per attempt for Detroit’s Matthew Stafford on Sunday.
Casual observers and fantasy football players might have glanced at the box score and figured that the Lions quarterback had a big day. After all, Stafford threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns against the Vikings. But a closer look shows that it took Stafford 53 attempts to do that, and his 5.4 yards-per-attempt average was actually quite pedestrian. Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson caught 10 passes for 83 yards, but it was on a whopping 17 targets. Credit should go to cornerback Xavier Rhodes for limiting Johnson, but it took a collective effort to make Stafford so inefficient.
seven — shotgun carries for Adrian Peterson against the Lions.
Much was made about Peterson gaining seven yards on his four shotgun carries in the season opener. That didn’t keep the Vikings from going back to shotgun running plays against the Lions. Peterson got seven carries out of the shotgun, according to my colleague Mark Craig, and he gained 21 yards on those carries. He was much more productive on his 13 single-back runs with Bridgewater under center, gaining 101 of his 134 rushing yards on those plays. But it’s clear those shotgun carries are not going away.
17 — Teddy Bridgewater passes that have gone 10 yards downfield.
The Vikings, as was the case a season ago, are not attacking defenses down the field often. Second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has attempted 50 passes this season. Only 17 of them traveled at least 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. And just six of them have traveled at least 20 yards, according to Pro Football Focus. The Vikings have instead been hoping to pile up yards after the catch, but they rank 19th in the NFL in that category with an average of 5.2 yards after the catch, according to Sporting Charts.
zero — quarterback hits allowed by Matt Kalil so far this season.
Kalil’s struggles last season are well-documented, and one of his toughest outings came against Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah. This season has been a different story so far. In 24 snaps in pass protection Sunday, Kalil didn’t allow a single pressure to Ansah or any other Lions defender, according to Pro Football Focus. And through the first two games, he has surrendered only a couple of quarterback hurries and has yet to allow Bridgewater to get hit. Again, it’s early, but it’s been a promising start for the left tackle.
15 — penalties for Everson Griffen since the start of the 2014 season.
Griffen, a starting defensive end, has been flagged four times in the first two games of the season, with three of those penalties resulting in first downs for opponents. Two of those penalties were for neutral zone infractions, continuing a trend from last season for the jumpy pass rusher. Since the start of the 2014 season, Griffen has been flagged for offsides or a neutral zone infraction 11 times. Savvy quarterbacks such as Aaron Rodgers will look to exploit that by getting Griffen to jump so they can get a free play.