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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Washington receiver Jamison Crowder could give the Vikings trouble

By Matthew Coller

Much like the Minnesota Vikings, quarterback Kirk Cousins and the Washington offense like to get the ball out quickly and allow their playmakers to run after the catch. Former fourth-round pick Jamison Crowder has emerged as one of Cousins’ top weapons with 40 receptions – 16 of which have come in the last two weeks. If the Vikings are without nickel corner Captain Munnerlyn, Crowder could become a difficult matchup.

The 5-foot-8 receiver from Duke sometimes becomes the forgotten man in an offense that features stars DeSean Jackson, Jordan Reed, Pierre Garcon and Vernon Davis. He is far from the biggest or fastest receiver on the field, but he has quick feet and a natural instinct for finding open areas in zone coverage and creating yards after catch.

They may have different draft statuses and different shoe sizes, but there are similarities between the way the Vikings use Cordarrelle Patterson in the screen game and the way Washington deploys Crowder.

This play is amost an exact duplicate of one the Vikings used on a 21-yard gain by Patterson against the Giants. Crowder looks like he’s trapped, then finds a lane and turns a potential loss into a 17-yard play. There will be no room this week for missed tackles or he will make the Vikings pay.

Where he differs from Patterson’s usage is in the number of over-the-middle plays. While a high percentage of Patterson’s receptions are behind the line of scrimmage, only seven of Crowder’s 40 are behind the line and 24 of 40 are between 1-10 yards through the air, which is more in the Stefon Diggs mold. Similarly to both Vikings receivers, Crowder has an exceptional catch percentage of 70.2% this season and 75.6% last year.

With the sheer number of big-play threats that Washington has, it can be easy to forget about the little slot receiver. Plus, they find ways to disguise him. On this play, he is lined up on the line and looks like he’s going to block, then leaks out into the middle of the field underneath the zone coverage and creates a positive play.

Crowder is used all over the field. He’s made 17 catches on the right side or right sideliine and 18 on the left side or left sideline.

While he is more of a “possession” receiver, Washington will occasionally send him down the field like on this play, a deep crossing route that leaves Crowder wide open.

Under normal circumstances, the Vikings would ask the veteran Munnerlyn to track a skilled slot receiver, but if injuries keep him from playing, Minnesota will have the choice of either playing Terrence Newman at nickel corner or going with rookie Mackensie Alexander. Last week, Alexander struggled against a completely different type of slot receiver in Anquan Boldin and Newman was moved to nickel in the second half. Moving Newman inside would force Trae Waynes to likely match up with Pierre Garcon if Xavier Rhodes is asked to track DeSean Jackson.

One benefit the Vikings have against Crowder is the likely return of Eric Kendricks. His speed in coverage has been essential to Minnesota shutting down screens and short passes in the middle of the field. crowder

The post Washington receiver Jamison Crowder could give the Vikings trouble appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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