Each Wednesday, we highlight five Vikings stats that really mean something.
354 — rushing yards for the Vikings in their last two games
The Vikings have scored more offensive points (50) the past two weeks than they threw passes (42). As a team, they have just 272 total passing yards in those back-to-back victories. But why should they throw the ball all over the field when they are having so much success running it? Led by running back Adrian Peterson, who has topped 100 rushing yards in consecutive weeks, the Vikings have rushed for 354 yards and five touchdowns on 73 attempts. That’s an average of 4.8 yards per attempt. Pretty impressive stuff.
nine — broken tackles for Peterson as a runner last Sunday
Speaking of Peterson, he was not an easy man to bring down against the Chargers. The 30-year-old forced nine missed tackles as a runner, including three on his ridiculous 43-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. That gives him 11 broken tackles on the ground on 59 carries this season, according to Pro Football Focus. That is tied for fourth in the league behind Carlos Hyde (hey, remember him?), Gio Bernard and Jonathan Stewart.
17 — times the Vikings blitzed Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and Rivers, his Chargers counterpart, endured similar beatdowns against the Vikings the past two weeks. But how the Vikings got to those guys was very different. Against the Lions, the Vikings only blitzed Stafford on 13 of his 45 dropbacks, according to Pro Football Focus. They sacked him once, hit him eight times and made him very uncomfortable. Against the Chargers, they were more aggressive in their approach, blitzing Rivers on 17 of his 38 dropbacks. They sacked him four times, recorded a dozen QB hits and made him very uncomfortable, too.
3.6 — yards allowed per target for Trae Waynes in his debut
The first-round cornerback made his defensive debut against the Chargers, replacing injured starter Xavier Rhodes in the second half. So how did he do? Rivers went after Waynes, targeting him nine times. But Waynes rose to the challenge, allowing just four receptions for 32 yards with a long gain of 14 yards, according to Pro Football Focus. They gave him a green grade, which is a good thing. And if you’re the type who takes PFF’s charting with a grain of salt, coach Mike Zimmer thought that Waynes played well, too.
42 — total pressures for Denver’s Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware
Left tackle Matt Kalil has allowed just one quarterback hit and two hurries this season, and rookie right tackle T.J. Clemmings played better against the Chargers. But those two blockers are in for one heck of a battle against the Broncos, who have the NFL’s best pass-rushing duo in Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. They have combined for 4.5 sacks this season, but the sack total doesn’t tell the whole story there. When you count up their total pressures, which include hits and hurries, they tie each other for the league lead, according to Pro Football Focus, with 21 pressures apiece.