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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Vikings’ third down and red zone success drives win over Falcons

By Matthew Coller

The Minnesota Vikings have been nothing short of magnificent on third-and-short and red zone situations. Their success comes back to offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, who has found ways get his receivers open and spread the ball around in the game’s biggest situations.

During Sunday’s 14-9 win over the Atlanta Falcons, the Vikings went 6-for-12 on third down – including three third down conversions on a 15-play drive in the third quarter and another key conversion to put the game on ice in the fourth.

“I thought the offensive coaches did a good job, I thought the receivers found places,” head coach Mike Zimmer said. “I thought [Case Keenum] didn’t try to force the ball into places that it didn’t need to go, so I think when you have some opportunities and some zones, you take them and you keep the clock running and the field position going.”

The Vikings entered Sunday’s game as the second best team in third down percentage and Keenum had a 114.3 quarterback rating on third downs with fewer than six yards to go.

Shurmur has found ways to get different players involved at key times. Both Jarius Wright and Laquon Treadwell had third down receptions and fullback CJ Ham picked up a first down run in the first half.

The Vikings were just as excellent on the defensive side as they were on offense. Atlanta’s No. 1 ranked third down offense went 1-for-10 and they were forced into field goals three times (0-for-1 in the red zone).

In the red zone, the Vikings have taken a huge step forward from last season when they were one of the league’s worst teams in touchdown percentage. This year they entered the game 11th, then went 2-for-2 on two wide open throws to Jerick McKinnon and Kyle Rudolph.

“We do a good job of scheming up,” Zimmer said. “As I’ve said before, you go back and look at a year ago and we had penalties in the red zone, we had third downs we didn’t convert and we end up kicking field goals. In the offseason we made a huge emphasis about converting third downs in the red zone”

The post Vikings’ third down and red zone success drives win over Falcons appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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