In this series of articles, I’ll be doing an analysis of the Minnesota Vikings offensive personnel usage in the 2019 season. This should shed some light on a couple of things. Firstly, I hope to target which groups gave the Vikings the most success. I would also like to get an idea of what we can expect from this season, taking into account of course that Gary Kubiak has full control of the offense now.
The first thing you might notice is that I haven’t labeled formations in the conventional style. For example, what I have as 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB is 11 personnel. The reason I didn’t do that is that I wanted to make a distinction between times that the Vikings used a true fullback versus having two running backs on the field at once. Also, I have a hard time remembering what the groupings mean so this is more clear to me. If this is a problem, please leave a comment and I’ll adjust it for upcoming pieces.
The 2019 season opened at home for the Vikings against the Atlanta Falcons. A fast start by the Vikings including a sack by Anthony Barr on the first play of the season, an Eric Wilson blocked punt, and Adam Thielen’s first touchdown of the year set up a game that never really felt close (which had we known how bad the Falcons were, we could’ve made some good money betting on this game via our William Hill casino promotion code).
The Vikings ran a total of 48 plays on offense, not counting punts and penalties.
|Personnel||# Of Plays||% of Plays||Total Yards||Yards per play|
|3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB||12||24.49%||81||6.75|
|2 WR, 2 TE, 1 RB||12||24.49%||74||6.17|
|2 WR, 1 TE, 1 FB, 1RB||9||18.75%||19||2.11|
|1 WR, 2 TE, 1 FB, 1 RB||8||16.33%||71||8.88|
|1 WR, 3 TE, 1 RB||4||8.16%||16||4.00|
|2 WR, 1 TE, 2 RB||1||2.04%||8||8.00|
This game was an absolute dream for Mike Zimmer. The defense came out and dominated while causing three turnovers. The offense was able to run the ball nearly 80% of the time and still put up 28 points, more than enough to win.
On offense, Kirk Cousins, or perhaps Dalvin Cook, and company had their most consistent success from 1 WR, 2 TE, 1 FB, 1 RB sets, including a touchdown and three 15+ yard runs. This fits the narrative of the two tight end sets being a staple of the Kubiak offense. The Vikings averaged 6.35 yards per play with two tight ends or more on the field.
What will stick out about this game, and most of the season, is the Vikings use of CJ Ham. He was on the field for 35% of the offensive plays, which is certainly an outlier in today’s NFL, but it does give a small clue as to why the Vikings decided to extend a fullback like him on a multi-million dollar deal when a lot of other teams don’t even carry a dedicated fullback.
The last point I’ll make about this game is that it is an outlier in how little success the Vikings had passing the ball. Cousins went for less than 100 passing yards, and only threw the one touchdown to Adam Thielen to start the game. The Vikings also benefited from multiple Atlanta mistakes like penalties and turnovers.
Offensive Player of The Game: Dalvin Cook
This is an easy call. Cook went for 111 yards and two touchdowns, making his first big statement of the year. Of course a lot of credit needs to go to Ham and the offensive line, but Cook was extra electric in space this week.
Hopefully this has been somewhat useful to look at. I’m not a huge analytics guy, but I’m trying to get a bit more into the nitty-gritty here. Week two’s game should be more interesting numbers wise, but I’m not exactly looking forward to having to watch that game again.