Each Wednesday, we highlight five Vikings stats that really mean something.
38.4 — percentage of the Vikings’ yards gained by Adrian Peterson.
The Vikings went through a lot of hassle and are shelling out a lot of cash to employ Peterson this season. So naturally they are putting him to good use. Through four games, Peterson is accounting for a whopping 38.4 percent of their offensive production (1,207 total yards). He has carried the ball 75 times for 372 yards and is third on the team with nine catches, totaling 92 receiving yards. His per-game average of 116 yards from scrimmage ranks fourth in the NFL behind a trio of other running backs.
seven — penalties for cornerback Xavier Rhodes in four games.
During Monday’s practice, the Vikings forced Rhodes to strap on boxing gloves for positional drills. Why? The third-year cornerback has been the league’s grabbiest player. In the first four games of the season, Rhodes was flagged three times for pass interference, three times for defensive holding and once more for a horse-collar tackle that also resulted in a five-figure fine. His average of 1.75 penalties per game is tied for the highest in the NFL. With whom, you ask? Teammate Everson Griffen.
six — catches for Stefon Diggs in the Week 4 loss to the Broncos.
Diggs, a rookie wide receiver, made his NFL debut two Sundays ago and recorded six catches for a team-high 87 yards. That tied him for the most catches by a Vikings player in his first game. Chuck Foreman and Jim Brim also had six grabs in their debuts, and Paul Flatley and Hal Bedsole had five in theirs. Foreman would catch 37 as a rookie and become one of the best receiving backs of his era. Flatley caught 51 as a rookie and had a fine career. The other two didn’t stick around in the league for long.
four — punt return yards allowed by the Vikings so far in 2015.
No team has allowed fewer punt return yards than the Vikings, who have given up just four. The Patriots, who have allowed 23 punt return yards, are closest to them. Punter Jeff Locke deserves much of the credit. His net punting average of 41.4 yards ranks 11th in the league, and he has dropped nine of his 16 punts inside the 20-yard line with no touchbacks. And on the five returns opponents have tried, the coverage team has been there to corral the returner. The longest return an opponent has had was two yards.
five — consecutive losses for the Vikings coming off a bye week.
NFL teams typically fare pretty well in their first game after a week off, but Brett Favre was the quarterback the last time the Vikings won after the bye week. That was in 2009, when Favre led them past the Lions at home to improve to 8-1. Since then, the Vikings have lost five straight after the bye while getting outscored, 158-60. Of course, since then they have employed three different head coaches, so you certainly can’t pin all that on Mike Zimmer, whose team lost to the Bears, 21-13, after the bye last year.