Analysis

Several Vikings Stuffing the Stat Sheet

The Minnesota Vikings have done everything right since their week four loss in Chicago. As a result, the team is sitting in a position to control their own destiny to at least a wild card spot, and have a very good shot for a division title. That is of course assuming that Green Bay’s tough schedule ever catches up with them. With the team playing so well, it’s no surprise that the Vikings have a few players near the top of the league in certain statistics.

Dalvin Cook has been roasting defences all season, and as a result is leading the NFL in both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. His yards per attempt are also at an elite level of 5.3 Y/A, good enough for fifth in the NFL. Perhaps just as impressive has been rookie Alexander Mattison. 

Mattison, whose job is to spell Cook and prevent wear and tear on the Vikings feature back, has been exceptional and is 31st in the NFL in rushing yards, and third among rookies in the same category. Being 31st doesn’t sound all that impressive, but considering Mattison is second fiddle back to the NFL’s top rusher and is still beating any starting backs in yardage is impressive.

The man who was most upset about the Vikings performance after four weeks was wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Diggs reportedly was angling for a trade, and a simple wink from the star receiver sent NFL and Vikings Twitter into a frenzy of speculation. Since then, Diggs has played out of his mind, putting up numbers not seen by a Vikings player since Randy Moss, and even better than any Vikings in some cases. 

On the year, Diggs is fourth in the NFL in receiving yards. Diggs teammate, and best friend, Adam Thielen is tied for the NFL lead in receiving touchdowns with six. That’s after missing last week’s game due to a hamstring injury.

A lot has been made of Kirk Cousins recent success, including putting him in the conversation for NFL MVP. Cousins traditional stats don’t stick out as excellent; 10th in touchdowns and 13th in passing yards. However, Cousins is tied for first in completion percentage while at the same time leading the league in yards gained per pass attempt. 

For reference, when Sam Bradford set the NFL mark for completion percentage in 2016, he had the 18th highest yards per passing attempt due to a lot of short passes. This means that Cousins is not only completing passes at a high rate, but that he is gaining a good amount of yards on every one of his attempts.

On defense, the Vikings also have a few standouts. Eric Kendricks is sixth in the NFL in solo tackles, eighth in total tackles, and third in passes defended. That’s a crazy good combination for anybody, but the passes defended are especially impressive from Kendricks position as an inside linebacker. 

Also on the defensive side of the ball, Danielle Hunter is fourth in the NFL in sacks. The newly 25-year-old Hunter has been dangerous since he came into the NFL, but he has truly become one of the NFL’s best pass rushers. That’s incredibly important in a time when getting to the quarterback is more valuable than ever and pass rushers are signing record deals.

Finally on the defensive side, Anthony Harris is tied for third in the NFL with three interceptions, he also has six passes defended good for top 25. I’ve been down on Harris a bit this season. He seems to be a bit slow on coverages and as a result has let his fellow defensive backs take some heat for giving up big plays, but he has still been very solid and put up some decent numbers.

All rankings for this article were pulled from pro-football-reference.com.
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Kirby O'Connor

Kirby O'Connor is a graduate of Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, where he studied Electronic Publishing and minored in Art. Kirby is a lifelong, die-hard Vikings fan thanks to his father. You can find him on Twitter @kjocon14.

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