Next Gen Stats From Vikings-Giants: The Benefits of Extra YAC

Will Ragatz

Next Gen Stats is a fascinating and informative resource created last year by the NFL to go beyond the box score and provide additional context. It is well known for tracking peak sprint speed and for its attractive charts, but NGS can also tell us a ton of other things that help explain what happened on the field.

Here are a some NGS takeaways from the Vikings in Week 5:

  • Dalvin Cook reached the 5th-fastest sprint speed of any player in Week 5, clocking in at 21.09 MPH on his 41-yard run. That's his fastest peak speed of the season, and the 18th-fastest of any player all season.
  • Adam Thielen ran 89.7 yards on his 44-yard catch and run in the second quarter. That was the 8th-most ground covered by a player on a single play in Week 5.
  • On that play, Thielen had an expected YAC (yards after catch) of 7, but his real YAC was 32 yards. His 25 YAC Above Expected was the fourth-highest total in the NFL last week.
  • Cook also had receptions with 17 and 13 YAC Above Expected, which backs up the eye test of him being extremely dangerous with the ball in his hands as a receiver.
  • Stefon Diggs had 14 YAC Above Expected on the fourth-quarter catch where he broke multiple tackles.
  • All three of those plays, as well as Thielen's, were among the top-13 YAC AE figures from Week 5. Broken tackles that lead to unexpected YAC can be huge for an offense.
Adam Thielen's 32 yards after catch on this play were 25 more than the Expected YAC of 7. He covered 89.7 yards of ground.
Dalvin Cook's 19 yards after catch on this play were 17 more than the Expected YAC of 2.
Dalvin Cook's 17 yards after catch on this play were 13 more than the Expected YAC of 4.
Stefon Diggs' 16 yards after catch on this play were 14 more than the Expected YAC of 2.
  • Kirk Cousins' two touchdown passes to Thielen had completion probabilities of 25.2 percent (15-yard TD in first quarter) and 27.5 percent (9-yard TD in third quarter). That makes those plays two of the 12 most improbable completions of Week 5. Credit goes to both Cousins and Thielen for connecting on those two scores.
  • Cousins took, on average, 3.1 seconds to throw against the Giants, fifth-most in the NFL. He still has the highest average Time To Throw of any QB in the league this season.
  • Cousins completed 81.5 percent of his passes, despite having an expected completion percentage of 61.5. His +20 Completion Percentage Above Expectation was the highest in the NFL in Week 5. For the full season so far, he is fourth in that category at +5.7.
  • Thielen had over 63 percent of the Vikings' Air Yards against the Giants. Air Yards measures "yards downfield at the time of all passing attempts that the receiver is the target." For the season, Thielen accounts for just under 50 percent of the Vikings' Air Yards, which is easily the highest figure in the NFL.