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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Don’t overlook another excellent offensive gameplan by OC Pat Shurmur

By Matthew Coller

To say that the Minnesota Vikings exploited the Cincinnati Bengals’ weakness on defense would be like saying the state of Minnesota has a handful of lakes.

Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur was well aware of the Bengals’ weakness at linebacker, where star Vontaze Burfict was out with a concussion and Cincinnati was forced to start two rookies – one undrafted, the other a sixth-round pick. The Vikings abused them with play-action throws and screen passes.

Per Pro Football Focus, only seven of Case Keenum’s 23 passes traveled more than 10 yards in the air and 186 of his 236 yards (77.1 percent) came after the catch.

“They had some new linebackers in there and when they’re playing man-to-man, we thought we had an opportunity to get some plays,” head coach Mike Zimmer said.

On the game’s opening drive, Keenum took a sack on the first play from scrimmage. Shurmur quickly dialed up a screen to Latavius Murray, which went for 28 yards. The rest of the day was rise and repeat.

Jerick McKinnon had a 41-yard catch on a short throw, then another 29-yard reception that nearly turned into a touchdown. McKinnon finished the game with 114 yards receiving.

At the goal line, the Vikings struggled last week against Carolina. Not this time. A 1-yard touchdown run on a handoff to Murray and play-fake to wide open Kyle Rudolph gave the Bengals no chance to stay in the game.

Stefon Diggs also caught a touchdown on one of the few throws that traveled more than 10 yards. On the play, Diggs lined up inside as McKinnon set up at a wide receiver spot, giving an advantage to the Vikings’ star receiver. Shurmur has been excellent all season at creating matchups by using motion or with running backs/tight ends/fullbacks lined up in receiver spots.

The Vikings’ execution was helped along by the return of center Pat Elflein. He was greatly missed in the short passing and run game against Carolina.

The post Don’t overlook another excellent offensive gameplan by OC Pat Shurmur appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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