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Bleacher Report – Vikings

The Vikings are ready for the RPO rage

By Matthew Coller

Inevitably when a team wins the Super Bowl, World Series, Stanley Cup or NBA title, the rest of the league will do a deep dive into what pushed the victorious organization to the top.

In basketball, the Golden State Warriors led a revolution of three-point shooting. Everyone is tanking because of the Houston Astros. Puck possession was king for awhile in hockey. And with the Philadelphia Eagles’ win over the New England Patriots behind backup quarterback Nick Foles, the rest of the NFL has its eyes on the Run-Pass Option plays Philadelphia used to succeed.

On Tuesday, The Ringer published an in-depth article breaking down the present and future of the RPO. The piece featured Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, who broke down several ways the Eagles used the RPO to beat the Vikings.

In breaking down a six-yard completion in the red zone during the NFC Championship game, DeFilippo told author Robert Mays:

“[That was] a special play specifically designed for third-and-short situations. It works particularly well against teams that rotate their safeties hard [like the Vikings].” Devising concepts to beat man coverage is a requirement for dropback passing games in the NFL, so merging those route combinations with RPO principles doesn’t require a huge leap.

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is anticipating that opponents will be implementing RPOs into their schemes when they match up with his No. 1 ranked defense this year.

“An RPO typically is no different than when they used to line up under the center and the receiver would run a dart, so it’s a quick, short throw most of the time,” Zimmer said. “But just because they line up like that doesn’t mean it’s an RPO, so you have to be able to cover all the same things.”

“That will be the rage of the NFL,” Zimmer added.

DeFilippo told The Ringer that opponents often blitzed linebackers as a response to RPOs. Some have pointed to man-to-man coverage as a solution. Zimmer said a key part of stopping RPOs involves figuring out when they are coming.

“I don’t think you can just play man coverage because they’ll get in stacks and run pick routes off of it and it’s two-on-two basically at the end of the day, so you’re going to have to have a few different things,” Zimmer said. “There’s some tips on when they’re doing it and things like that. Typically not on third down, it’s going to be first and second down, so you have to be able to have a plan when you get those tips.”

On the offensive side, Kirk Cousins’ previous offenses were not known for RPOs, but DeFilippo has casually mentioned their presence during press conferences this year.

“We’ll have our own spin to it,” DeFilippo told The Ringer. “I’ll leave it at that.”

The post The Vikings are ready for the RPO rage appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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