Safety Harrison Smith and outside linebacker Anthony Barr were injured early in yesterday’s 38-7 loss to the Seahawks, forcing the Vikings to turn to backups Robert Blanton and Jason Trusnik for significant snaps.
After Smith hurt his hamstring 10 plays into the game, Blanton replaced him and played 56 of the 67 defensive snaps. Antone Exum got 66 snaps next to him and cornerback Terence Newman played one snap at safety in place of Blanton when he got banged up in the second quarter.
Trusnik, meanwhile, replaced Barr in the base defense and played 30 snaps, 10 times as many as he played in his first three games with the team.
Barr leaving the game after seven snaps also meant more work for outside linebacker Chad Greenway, who replaced Barr in the nickel. Greenway ended up playing 64 snaps, his highest total in a month.
Barr and Smith are typically every-down players, ranking first and second, respectively, on the team in defensive snaps entering the game. But with both getting knocked out of the game, middle linebacker Eric Kendricks was the only Vikings defender to play all 67 defensive snaps.
Here are some other observations from the NFL’s official snap counts:
— With starting nose tackle Linval Joseph out with a foot injury, the Vikings leaned heavily on Sharrif Floyd and Tom Johnson. Johnson played 55 snaps and Floyd, who had to man the nose, played 47 snaps. Kenrick Ellis played a season-high 14 snaps. And backup defensive end Scott Crichton also got some reps on the inside and ended up playing 12 snaps on defense.
— Rookie defensive end Danielle Hunter also saw his playing time increase as the Vikings mixed and matched up front. Hunter played 34 snaps, his highest total since he started for an ill Everson Griffen in Week 6. Griffen played 54 snaps and fellow starter Brian Robison played 53.
— With the Vikings trailing for most of the game, second-year running back Jerick McKinnon out-snapped Adrian Peterson, 22-20. Peterson, of course, was not happy with how he was used. Matt Asiata got just 10 snaps and fullback Zach Line saw the field for just four offensive plays.
— After playing more than 80 percent of the snaps over the previous five weeks, tight end Kyle Rudolph played just 32 of the 52 offensive snaps. Rhett Ellison played 26 and rookie MyCole Pruitt played 19.
— With the Seahawks having two wide receivers on the field for a sizable chunk of the game, nickel cornerback Captain Munnerlyn played just 33 snaps. Top pick Trae Waynes got seven snaps and Josh Robinson got two. Xavier Rhodes and Newman played 65 and 60 snaps, respectively.
— Wide receiver Charles Johnson played a season-low seven snaps in the loss. Starting wideouts Stefon Diggs and Mike Wallace played 45 and 40 snaps, respectively, and slot receiver Jarius Wright played 29. Cordarrelle Patterson did not play on offense for a second straight week.