What the Vikings Do BEST thru 10 Games

One Clue Why
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The Minnesota Vikings hold a 6-4 record after Week 10, with sights on the Denver Broncos this Sunday night. After defeating five straight NFC opponents, Minnesota is now mathematically in the driver’s seat to reach the postseason.

What the Vikings Do BEST thru 10 Games

And while the 2023 campaign still has seven games on tap, Minnesota has done a handful of things quite well to date. These are three items where the franchise excels.

Vikings Do BEST
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They’re ranked in no particular order.

1. Defensive Penalties

Aspect of Vikings
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports.

NFL Ranking in Fewest Defensive Penalties: 1st
NFL Ranking in Fewest Defensive Penalty Yards: 1st

Compared to other NFL teams, the Vikings’ defense is rarely flagged. On average, Flores’ unit is penalized 1.3 times per game — for 12.5 yards. Juxtaposed against a team like the Dallas Cowboys, for instance, Minnesota is penalized three times less than Mike McCarthy’s defense.

So, not only did Flores bring a blitz-happy, aggressive defense to the Twin Cities, but the group is incredibly disciplined and is hardly called for infractions.

Another example: Minnesota hasn’t been called for a Roughing the Passer or Unnecessary Roughness penalty of any kind this season.

2. Offensive Line Pass Protection

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Pro Football Focus Pass Protection Ranking: 1st

After years, your prayers have been answered. The Vikings, alas, have an elite pass-protecting line. With right guard Ed Ingram’s sudden stabilization next to Brian O’Neill, Minnesota offensive trenches have no weak spots.

The Vikings rank tops in the business per PFF‘s pass-blocking metric, followed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Detroit Lions rounding out the Top 3.

The good news for Minnesota? This offensive line should remain intact for multiple years. Everyone is somewhat young and committed to the team contractually, assuming left guard Dalton Risner returns this offseason.

3. Passing Offense

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In case you haven’t noticed, the moment Kevin O’Connell took over the organization, the Vikings became a pass-first team. Here are some passing offense rankings through 10 weeks of action:

  • 2nd in Passing TDs
  • 2nd in Least INT %
  • 3rd in Passing Yards
  • 3rd in Passing 1st Downs
  • 4th in Passer Rating
  • 4th in PFF Passing Offense
  • 5th in Completion %
  • 5th in QB Pocket Time
  • 7th in Lowest Sack %
  • 8th in 1st Downs
  • 9th in Yards per Pass
  • 10th in QB Dropback EPA/Play

And half of that success has been accomplished without Justin Jefferson, who was injured in Week 5. What’s more, Kirk Cousins has been out for the last two games. The Vikings’ passing game has hummed even without Jefferson and Cousins, courtesy of players like Josh Dobbs, T.J. Hockenson, and Jordan Addison.

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.