Vikings Have One Really Embarrassing Stat through 5 Games

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In case you missed it, the 2023 Minnesota Vikings are a pass-first organization on offense — and then some.

Through five games, the Vikings throw the football 70.5% of the time, a mind-boggling ratio, as the average team calls passing plays about 58% per game.

Vikings Have One Really Embarrassing Stat through 5 Games

And while there’s nothing morally wrong about passing to the utmost — the Vikings head coach is a former quarterback, for God’s sake — running the ball a wee bit more would probably suit the team better in the long run and the win column.

One Really Embarrassing
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Curiously, per Pro Football Focus, Minnesota’s offensive line through five games ranks tops in the NFL per run blocking. The purple team has the trenches to run the rock; it just doesn’t do it. Plain and simple.

One stat embodies the Vikings rushing woes out of the gate in 2023, and it’s almost unbelievable. The Vikings have not broken a single tackle on a rushing play. Zilch.

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports.

Perhaps if the club ran the pigskin more than 30% of the time, the sinful stat would remedy itself. Still, the Vikings have rushed the ball 91 times for 404 yards and zero touchdowns, and along the way, have not broken a tackle.

Here’s a captain obvious factoid: Minnesota is the only team in the NFL through Week 5 without a broken tackle on the ground.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

The odd dynamic is that the Vikings are not a hideous rushing outfit outside of no broken tackles and the lowest rush playcall rate leaguewide. They rank 17th per rushing EPA/Play, a middle-of-the-road standing that suggests when they do hand the ball to Alexander Mattison or Cam Akers, the playcall actually works at a median success rate.

Like most weird stats — including the Vikings league-leading 12 turnovers — change is probably afoot. Eventually, perhaps on Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field, a Vikings runner will break a tackle, and the curse will be snapped. Similarly, Minnesota is due to go on a run of games sans fumbles, especially in the 1st Quarter, as there is no sensible explanation for the litany of turnovers.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

At the moment, though, the Vikings rarely run the ball compared to other NFL teams. And when they do, broken tackles are not on the agenda while the run game operates at an average production rate.

Add it to the list of 2023 Vikings weirdness.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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