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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Film: Vikings manhandled in one of offense’s worst outings in years

By Andrew Krammer

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The Vikings knew they were facing a ‘much more’ talented Seattle Seahawks than the similarly-schemed Atlanta Falcons they had just handled the week prior.

But even a subpar offense didn’t expect to get whooped like this.

Michael Bennett, Bruce Irvin and Frank Clark wiped the TCF Bank Stadium turf with the Vikings, ensuring the early stops on Adrian Peterson would be his only action as offensive coordinator Norv Turner pulled away from their only lifeline on offense.

Peterson may not have been capable of resuscitating this lifeless group, but he didn’t get much of a chance as he spent most of the afternoon on the sideline. He finished with a career-low 20 snaps for a game in which Peterson was not injured, finishing with 12 touches for 24 yards against a superior Seattle Seahawks defense.

“We kind of got away from who we are a little bit once the score got to 14-0,” coach Mike Zimmer said postgame.

Twice in the first half after Peterson was tackled for a loss of a yard, Turner dialed up four consecutive throws. Under fire and only taking a few successful shots, Teddy Bridgewater wasn’t able to overcome his own deficiencies, and that of the play around him, which included a rash of costly penalties once again. The Seahawks varied their looks up front, shifting defensive linemen around and consistently found holes in the Vikings’ offensive line despite rarely rushing more than four. Since the Vikings failed to consistently hold up vs. a four-man rush, the Seahawks could afford to drop many into coverage with Peterson primarily sidelined.

Throughout, Seattle saw a shaken Bridgewater.

“He was so scared,” Irvin told reporters postgame. “Teddy’s a really good quarterback, and he’s going to do some big things in this league. But we had him.”

A marginalized Peterson and a passing attack incapable of pushing the ball resulted in a measly 125 total yards of offense, which is the lowest mark of Turner’s tenure in Minnesota and the franchise’s worst since Dec. 21, 2006. They were also shutout on offense for the first time since Josh Freeman started at quarterback two years ago.

After producing 125 yards and seven points, the Vikings rank 30th in yards per game (315.8) and 28th in points per game (19.8).

Personnel groupings (#)
3 receivers / tight end (11): 29
2 receivers / 2 tight ends (12): 15
1 receiver / 3 tight ends (13): 4
1 receiver / 2 tight ends / fullback (22): 3
2 receivers / tight end / fullback (21): 1
Total: 52 plays

The Vikings’ 94 net passing yards against Seattle are the franchise’s fewest since facing Mike Zimmer’s Cincinnati Bengals at the end of the 2013 season. This review will focus primarily on the passing game since there wasn’t a rush to speak on. Bridgewater’s career-low 118 passing yards was the result of many factors, but the second-year quarterback didn’t help himself much. He often didn’t have time to execute long-developing plays, though his wariness to make a mistake downfield flared up by a Seahawks defense capable of dropping seven into coverage with a four-man rush dominating throughout the game. In other words, the windows for Bridgewater were tight on Sunday, and he rarely tested them. His longest completion came on a shallow crossing route to Mike Wallace, who picked up most of 25 yards with his feet. Bridgewater put zip on the ball a couple times, stepping into an 18-yard completion to Wallace on a comeback. His best throw came on the run, escaping the pocket and floating a nice touch pass to Jarius Wright, who tiptoed the sideline for 17 yards. Those were the highlights. Bridgewater was otherwise getting hit, hesitating or overthrowing. It didn’t matter what formation, either. Bridgewater completed 9 of 18 passes for 56 yards out of the shotgun, compared to 8 of 10 for 62 yards and an interception from under center. Bridgewater’s interception was an example of him trying to take the shot downfield with options open underneath. However, he overthrew the post to Stefon Diggs and into the arms of Earl Thomas. The error was magnified when Russell Wilson tossed a 20-yard score on the next play to put the Vikings in a 21-0 hole heading into halftime.

Image (below): With Peterson lined up behind a two-TE formation toward right tackle, the Seahawks use a 4-3 under front and bring safety Kam Chancellor into the box — a common sight on Sunday when Peterson was in the game. The route concept off play-action should, and does, create an opening that goes missed.

Video (below): With Diggs clearing out the cornerback, Wallace comes free underneath toward the left side, but goes untargeted by Bridgewater as he checks down to Peterson.

Irvin, Bennett and Clark combined for seven TFLs and six QB hits as the Vikings were physically outmatched up front. Seattle’s five-man rush rate was just 3 of 33 [9%], but they were still able to consistently fluster him. The Seahawks deployed various looks up front, shifting around defensive linemen to change the matchups and their routes to Bridgewater and Peterson. The Vikings have faced vaunted rushers tandems from Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware to Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, but Bennett and Clark put on the most dominating performance against them all season. Bennett started hot, throwing T.J. Clemmings (52) aside on the opening snap to tackle Peterson for a gain of three. Two plays later he swam over Mike Harris (52) to force Bridgewater up and into the first sack. Bennett later twisted with Cliff Avril, breezing right past Clemmings to hit Bridgewater and force a punt in the third quarter. You get the idea. The Vikings’ offensive line is fairly non-athletic, and the Seahawks exposed that. Left tackle Matt Kalil (52) allowed three pressures against Irvin, who was often too quick off the edge for him. Peterson forced the second sack when he ran into the back of Brandon Fusco (52), who then lost his hold on Clark. Joe Berger (52) didn’t stand out as much, which is a good thing, aside from him laboring in space on a couple failed screens. Berger was a part of a team-low two pressures, including this one below.

Video (below): One example of the Seahawks’ odd fronts as they overload the right side and run a twist underneath that has the left end, Avril, defending the QB scramble that Bridgewater has gone to when the edges break down.

Video (below): Same play, and a different angle shows the long-developing route concept doesn’t have time to develop before the pocket breaks down.

Wallace’s 25-yard gain was his longest since coming to Minnesota, and one of just four completions to gain more than eight yards on Sunday. When the Vikings would take a step forward, they’d take two steps back by either getting crushed or penalized. Trailing 21-0 out of halftime, Bridgewater found Matt Asiata (10) for a 10-yard gain in what would’ve been just their third third-down conversion of the game. Instead, Wright was flagged for offensive pass interference, forcing them into 3rd and 14, then a punt. After Bridgewater hit Wright (29) for 17 yards down the sideline, the Vikings were hit with three consecutive penalties – a hold on Fusco, a head-scratching OPI on Wallace (40) and then an illegal block in the back by Harris. Diggs (45) drew a team-high six targets, catching two for 22 yards. Wallace led the Vikings with 43 yards on his pair of receptions. Kyle Rudolph (32) found some difficult matchups, allowing a tackle for a loss by Bennett, who slipped underneath him to grab Peterson. Rudolph, who was only targeted as a safety valve, had a key block downfield that allowed Wallace to pick up extra on his 25-yard gain. Rhett Ellison (26) was the only Vikings’ big man capable of holding his own, and the only one to knock Bennett on his backside when he earholed him while helping Clemmings. Jerick McKinnon (22) flashed his elusiveness on a 12-yard gain up the middle, benefitting from a Seahawks defense on their heels more than toes with Peterson out of the game. Peterson (20) gained five yards twice, and otherwise was contained on his eight carries by Seattle’s eight-man fronts against him.

Game ball: Rhett Ellison – One of the few Vikings blockers capable of pushing back on Sunday.

Goat(s): O-line – A poor effort from a group that has played nearly every snap together, but has consistently crumbled under the weight of superior defensive fronts.

The post Film: Vikings manhandled in one of offense’s worst outings in years appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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