The traditional way to combat opposing defenses that crowd the line of scrimmage to stop the running game is to strike downfield in the passing game. The Vikings will continue working on this part of their offense in an effort to free up Adrian Peterson on the ground.
But the Vikings may have found another effective way to challenge defenses who stack the line of scrimmage – attack on the ground with Percy Harvin.
Last week against the Chiefs, it was apparent that Kansas City’s top defensive priority was to suffocate Peterson before he could get into a rhythm on the ground. Peterson did his best to grind through the Chiefs defense, as he gained 80 hard yards on 23 carries. While Peterson continually worked against the interior of the Chiefs defense, the Vikings were able to deploy Harvin to attack the edges of the defense.
Harvin collected 67 rushing yards on 4 carries against Kansas City, with each carry occurring on a play where he would motion toward the center of the formation, take a short pitch from QB Donovan McNabb in the backfield, and then burn the edges of the Chiefs defense to get around the corner and burst upfield. Harvin gained 8, 13 and 23 yards going around the left end of the offense and then he picked up another 23-yard gain going around the right end.
Click here to watch one of Harvin’s 23-yard gains against the Chiefs.
Using Harvin as a RB is nothing new. This has been a part of Harvin’s skill set for years and it’s something the Vikings have been doing on occasion for the past 3 seasons. In fact, Harvin now holds both the single-season and career records for rushing yards by a WR – he has 141 rushing yards this season and 383 for his career. Harvin also holds the single-game rushing record by a WR and he needs just 3 more attempts to break the Vikings career mark for rushing attempts by a WR.
Using Harvin in this way will eventually force opposing defenses to guard the edges, which will help Peterson get rolling on the ground, too. With both Harvin and Peterson posing as threats in the ground game, McNabb and the passing game will have a better chance for success through the air.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 269 Comments »