Every Wednesday morning, beat writer Matt Vensel will share five Vikings stats that actually mean something heading into that weekend’s game.
31.5 — opponents’ passer rating when targeting Xavier Rhodes
Rhodes, the fourth-year cornerback, might have had the best game of his career in Sunday’s 30-24 win over the Cardinals. Rhodes was targeted by Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer seven times and he picked off as many passes as he allowed completions. After one of his two interceptions, Rhodes set a franchise record with a 100-yard return for a touchdown. Palmer had a 0.0 passer rating when targeting Rhodes. On the season, opposing quarterbacks now have a 31.5 passer rating when targeting Rhodes, according to Pro Football Focus. That is the best mark in the NFL. Statistically speaking, QBs would be better off just throwing it away.
After losing left tackle Jake Long for the season in D.C., the Vikings had to go back to T.J. Clemmings at left tackle, with Jeremiah Sirles replacing him on the right side. Despite reshuffling the line again, the Vikings had one of their best games of the season in pass protection. The offensive line allowed only 10 total pressures on 34 dropbacks for Sam Bradford, according to Pro Football Focus. Sure, it helped that on average Bradford got the ball out at 2.19 seconds, but let’s give credit where it is due. Left guard Alex Boone in particular had a strong game, not allowing a single pressure, per PFF.
6 — games that Bradford had a completion percentage of 70-plus
With Pat Shurmur calling the plays the past three games, Bradford has had a quicker trigger as he got the ball out to his wide receivers on screens and other short routes. In all three, he completed at least 71.4 percent of his passes. Bradford has had a completion percentage of at least 70 in six of his nine starts with the Vikings and at 69.8 percent on the season Bradford is knocking on the door of joining a select group of quarterbacks. Only five passers in NFL history have topped the 70 percent mark in a season. Drew Brees, who has already done it thrice, and Tom Brady are currently above 70, too.
1 — NFL team with three defensive ends with at least five sacks
Second-year defensive end Danielle Hunter had two sacks in the win over the Cardinals, in the process jumping over fellow end Everson Griffen for the team lead in sacks. Hunter now has seven sacks on the season, one more than Griffen. And veteran Brian Robison, who starts over Hunter at left end and has out-snapped him every game, tallied his fifth sack of 2016 against the Cardinals. As a result, the Vikings are the only team in the NFL that has three defensive ends with at least five sacks, per Vikings PR.
2,283 — consecutive offensive snaps played by trusty Joe Berger
The Vikings, with their long list of injuries up front, continue to shuffle their offensive line. But they have had one constant. That would be Berger, their 34-year-old center. Berger has played every offensive snap since midway through 2014, after right guard Brandon Fusco was lost for the season. He played the final 607 snaps that season and in 2015 played every snap after center John Sullivan suffered a season-ending back injury in the preseason. After beating out Sullivan this summer, Berger has been on the field for every snap so far. Seven other linemen have started alongside him.