Each Wednesday, we highlight five Vikings stats that really mean something.
one — catch by Mike Wallace on passes thrown at least 20 yards
The Vikings traded a fifth-round pick to acquire Wallace, one of the NFL’s best long-ball fetchers, and are paying him $9.9 million in 2015. Yet, he is averaging just 11.2 yards per reception on his 26 catches. What’s puzzling is that quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has only targeted him seven times on passes thrown 20 yards or more downfield, and he has caught just one of them, per Pro Football Focus. Which begs the question: Why did the Vikings bring in Wallace if they aren’t going to feature him as a deep threat?
1.2 — yards per first-down play for the Vikings in the red zone
The Vikings have scored touchdowns on just 38.1 percent of their red-zone trips this season, which ranks 30th in the NFL. Perhaps the Vikings need to change up their play-calling. According to the Pro Football Reference play finder, the Vikings have had a first-down play in the red zone 25 times. They have run the ball on 22 of them, including every first down inside the 10-yard line. Nine of those runs went for a loss or no gain. Overall, the Vikings are averaging just 1.2 yards on first-down plays in the red zone.
37.8 — percentage of multiple-TE personnel used since Week 4
The Vikings started off the season using a ton of three-receiver sets. But recently, they have increased their usage of two-TE sets. In their first three games, the Vikings used multiple tight ends on 21.3 percent of their snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. But with the offensive line struggling, they have been bringing in an extra tight end to help out. In the past four games, they have used multiple tight ends on 37.8 percent of their snaps.
five — defensive tackles graded higher than Linval Joseph by PFF
I typically try to avoid the grades from Pro Football Focus because they are subjective. But hey, it’s hard to find a stat that reflects how a nose tackle is playing. Joseph has 25 tackles in seven games and has only let a ball-carrier slip out of his grasp once. He has 14 pressures as a pass rusher, too. But still, that doesn’t sum up his impact. PFF’s graders think highly of his work, and coach Mike Zimmer isn’t going to quibble with them on this. They rate Joseph as their sixth-best defensive tackle and second-best against the run.
four — runs of 40 or more yards for Todd Gurley this season
The rookie Rams running back has taken the league by storm, rushing for 575 yards in his first five NFL games and gaining at least 128 yards in each of his past four. Gurley has done most of his damage on long runs. According to Pro Football Focus, 57.2 percent of his yards have come on runs of 15-plus yards. And he leads the league with four carries for 40 or more yards. So who’s second in that last category? Yup, it’s Adrian Peterson.