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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Vikings should take note of White’s Super Bowl performance

By Matthew Coller

NFL: Houston Texans at Minnesota Vikings - Sun, 09 Oct 2016 12:49:39 EDT

You can bet that James White’s Super Bowl performance will go overlooked, but the New England Patriots’ running back was every bit as deserving of the MVP as quarterback Tom Brady.

Just as Le’Veon Bell.

they probably gonna give MVP to Tom Brady……..but James White deserves the Super Bowl MVP, no question about it…

— Le’Veon Bell (@L_Bell26) February 6, 2017

White not only scored the game-winning touchdown, but he caught 14 passes on 16 targets, setting an NFL record for receptions in a Super Bowl, and rushed for six times for 28 yards and scored three total TDs.

New England has turned into the best short-pass offense in the NFL, hands down. Tom Brady and Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford threw the same number of deep passes (as defined by NFL official play-by-play) during the regular season. On short throws, White was one of Brady’s favorite targets, catching 60 passes.

As the Vikings head into the offseason with questions at running back, they should keep in mind the success the Patriots had using White as basically a wide receiver out of the backfield.

Brady targeted his third-year back in almost every way possible, looking for White early in the game on a deep wheel route – a pass that was broken up by Falcons linebacker Dion James – and tossed him short passes to the flat, over the middle and on screens. With deep routes over the top being run by Julien Edelman (who averaged 17.4 yards per catch), Danny Amendola and Chris Hogan, the Patriots had mismatches between White and Atlanta’s linebackers throughout the game.

Minnesota began taking advantage of running back Jerick McKinnon’s receiving skills toward the end of the year as he racked up 28 catches in the final five games, but McKinnon never seemed to be a main focus of Pat Shurmur’s offense. He was more of an last resort than a playmaker that opponents had to gameplan against.

A main focus of the offseason for the Vikings is solving their issues with throwing the ball on third down. Not that Sam Bradford is going to soon become Tom Brady, but White averaged 10.7 yards per reception on third downs during the regular season and had four third-down catches in the Super Bowl. McKinnon, averaged 3.8 yards per catch on third down. That number can be improved if plays are designed to go his way.

If the Vikings don’t feel McKinnon is fit for playing the role of backfield receiver, they should target running backs in the draft who are adept at catching the ball. The Patriots found White in the fourth round.

All over the league, teams will look at the Atlanta Falcons’ offense for answers – and they successfully use running backs in the passing game, too – but White proved on Super Bowl Sunday that a pass-catching RB can be a dangerous threat in a short-pass offense.

The post Vikings should take note of White’s Super Bowl performance appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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