With starting defensive end Everson Griffen at less than full strength due to a shoulder injury, the Vikings gave an increased workload to rookie Danielle Hunter in yesterday’s 38-17 win over the Bears. And Hunter rewarded them with 1.5 sacks and five tackles, including one for a loss.
The third-round pick played 48 snaps in the win. That was two shy of his career high, which he set back in Week 6 when Griffen sat out a win over the Chiefs with an illness. He has averaged 37 snaps the past three weeks.
Griffen, meanwhile, played just 31 snaps yesterday. Coach Mike Zimmer said that the plan was to mostly use Griffen in pass-rushing situations.
Brian Robison led the position by playing 55 of the 64 defensive snaps. Justin Trattou played 10. Zach Moore played six in his Vikings debut.
Meanwhile, at defensive tackle, Tom Johnson played 59 snaps. Sharrif Floyd, who started at nose tackle again with Linval Joseph missing his third straight game, played 35. Nose tackle Kenrick Ellis played 11. The Vikings also used defensive ends, such as Robison, at defensive tackle fairly often.
Here are some other observations from the NFL’s official snap counts:
— Running back Adrian Peterson played just 30 of the 62 offensive snaps after injuring his ankle in the second quarter. Jerick McKinnon played 19 snaps and Matt Asiata played 13. Fullback Zach Line played a season-high 23 snaps in the win after getting just 10 total the previous two weeks.
— Undrafted rookie Anthony Harris made his second straight start at safety and played 63 snaps. Andrew Sendejo returned to the lineup and started alongside him, playing all 64 snaps. Robert Blanton played two snaps.
— Wide receiver Adam Thielen played 23 snaps, just two fewer than No. 3 receiver Jarius Wright. Starters Stefon Diggs and Mike Wallace played 41 and 38 snaps, respectively. Even with Charles Johnson out, Cordarrelle Patterson still didn’t play on offense. That’s four straight games now.
— First-round pick Trae Waynes shifted back to a reserve role after starting against the Cardinals. He played nine snaps in place of starters Xavier Rhodes or Terence Newman, who played 61 and 58 snaps, respectively. Nickel cornerback Captain Munnerlyn played 50 snaps.
— Offensive tackle Austin Shepherd got his first offensive snaps in three weeks because the Vikings finally got back inside the 10-yard line. The rookie played two snaps as an extra tackle in the jumbo package.
— With strong-side linebacker Anthony Barr still out, veteran weak-side linebacker Chad Greenway again played an every-down role. Rookie middle linebacker Eric Kendricks also played all 64 snaps on D. Rookie Edmond Robinson again filled in for Barr in the base defense and played 14 snaps.
— Tight end Kyle Rudolph led all offensive skill players with 53 snaps played. Rhett Ellison played 34 and rookie MyCole Pruitt played nine.