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A Look Inside The Numbers

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 20, 2009 – 11:42 am

The Vikings are ranked 2nd in the NFL along with the NY Giants and Arizona Cardinals in TDs on 1st offensive possessions with 3, and they are ranked tied for 3rd with Arizona in total points on 1st offensive possessions with 21.

With a solid defense and one of the league’s best rushing attacks, getting off to an early lead is a key tactic in winning for the Vikings.

But one way to offset an advantage derived from offensive success on the 1st possession is to quickly punt the way on ensuing possessions throughout the game. As Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress likes to say, possession of the football is what both teams are fighting over.

With a 6-0 record and as the 2nd highest scoring team in the NFL, the Vikings are looking good in 2009. But Childress and players in the Vikings locker room would be the first to tell you that there are plenty of areas that need improvement.

One of those areas, in spite of the Vikings high success rate on 1st possessions, is actually possessing the ball. The Vikings have had 69 offensive series in 2009, and 23 of them have been 3-and-outs, which is 3rd highest in the NFL. Making up the 23 three-and-out series are 21 punts, 1 TD and 1 INT.

So what’s been happening? Your 1st reaction might be to blame the play-calling and an ultra-conservative offense. But that’s not actually the case. There are 2 culprits that have led to the Vikings 23 three-and-out possessions – sacks and negative rushing plays.

Of the Vikings 23 three-and-out series, 10 of those drives have had sacks and 3 of them have had negative runs. These sacks and negative runs put the offense behind schedule in their down-and-distance strategy. While every play is schemed to go for a TD, certain plays fall into certain down-and-distance categories. So it’s important for offenses to stay in manageable down-and-distances to sustain scoring drives and call plays that have been installed in the game plan.

Just a few stats I wanted to pass along. So the next time the Vikings go with a “conservative” play call on 3rd down, consider the fact that the ultimate outcome of a punt might have been determined not because of the 3rd-down play-call but because of a negative play on either 1st down or 2nd down.


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 6 Comments »


6 Responses to “A Look Inside The Numbers”

  1. By Vikings Fan from Afar on Oct 20, 2009 | Reply

    Great article. Thanks!

    I bet taking a penalty could also lead to a 3 and out.

  2. By vikingsfan1955 on Oct 20, 2009 | Reply

    All of us know by now what our weakness is and the numbers verify that on the offense we are dangerous and our d is strong but not strong enough.At the start the o-line was weak and favre was getting hit way to much but now they are on top of their game.Our d holds but we would be blowing teams away if we stop letting them get close.With winfield hurt last game showed how bad we are at safty and corner.Preseason they were all good but now they struggle.We have to get better on the run stopping.We will be ok because frazier knows what wrong and has always fixed defensive problems.If u think we should rest players ur wrong we need every win and we need to win big.If we have to play backups they have to step up thats why they made the team.Good teams win with good backups.I know we are as good as the saints and that matchup would be mind boggling.We win if the corners play well but thats at the end of the yr.

  3. By Viking reality check on Oct 20, 2009 | Reply

    Come on guys, its obvious that their is also a lacking in the play calls, lets stop beatimg around the bushes and face the truth. If the vikings keep putting on the killer instincts by pounding in TDs and stop being so conservative; then my friend we are the Superbowl team. Its about time we start using both of our assets which is AP & Favre; and not just run run run. Favre is doing a great job and I hope he’ll do more audibles at the line, because he knows how to adjust on the fly and thats what makes teams win

  4. By Alvike on Oct 20, 2009 | Reply

    I’ve never had any problems with the “ultra-conservative” play calling. We have the best RB in the league, and we have a more than capable pa ssing attack. But nothing demoralizes the other team then running the ball down their throats. They realize that there is nothing they can do to stop us. It’s GREAT!!!!

  5. By PAVikesFan on Oct 20, 2009 | Reply

    Good points…running the ball is our strong suite, that’s who we are, and it does demoralize teams when they know what we are going to do and they still cant stop it,however, we do FINALLY have a more than capable QB you may have heard, so, let’s not be afraid to put the game in his hands in crucial situations…From what I hear around the country from Vikings fans everywhere, and I agree with them, our safeties are kil-ling us, straight up…they cant cover, they cant tackle…and in the cover 2 which we play in, its absolutely imperative that we get good safety play, that’s why when we dont get a pa ss rush we get scorched, b/c there is either usually a TE running wide open down the middle of the field or a RB out of the flats…one more thing, I do like Ced Griffin, I think he’s better than what he plays, he sometimes plays too soft in coverage, he stands straight up in his backsteps and technique and usually gives the receiver too much space to run his route…he can learn a thing or two from Antoine’s technique

  6. By PAVikesFan on Oct 20, 2009 | Reply

    let me correct one thing, the RB out of the flats is not a successful play against a cover 2, b/c u have the corners playing up and they guard against short, underneath routes to the sidelines…

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