Vikings Snap Count Analysis Against Chiefs

Will Ragatz

The Vikings' offensive rotations looked a little different against the Chiefs than they had for the previous month, given that the team was again playing without Adam Thielen and that the game was close throughout, with three ties and six lead changes.

Let's get into the snap counts to see what we can learn going forward.

Quarterback

  • Kirk Cousins: 71/71 (100%)

Running back

  • Dalvin Cook: 57/71 (80%)
  • Ameer Abdullah: 9/71 (13%)
  • Alexander Mattison: 6/71 (8%)

The Vikings' running back rotation in Week 9 was a departure from the norm. Cook played a season-high 80 percent of the offensive snaps, and it was only the second time this season his snap percentage had been above 72 percent. The other came when he played on 79 percent in the loss to the Bears. In close games, the Vikings are forced to play their best running back more than they would perhaps like to.

Also of note is that Abdullah saw a season-high nine snaps and was on the field for more offensive plays than Mattison for just the second time all year. (The first? Yep, the Bears game). Abdullah caught a 16-yard touchdown pass for his first score since 2017, and now has one more receiving target than Mattison despite playing nearly three times fewer snaps. However, Mattison has 71 carries as a runner compared to just seven for Abdullah.

Abdullah, in addition to returning kickoffs and leading the Vikings in special teams tackles, is clearly valued more as a pass-catcher than the rookie Mattison is. That could allow him to continue to see the field against teams like the Cowboys, Seahawks, and Packers.

Fullback

  • CJ Ham: 22 of 71 (31%)

Ham saw four targets against the Chiefs, as many as Stefon Diggs. One of those went for a 32-yard completion, the Vikings' longest play of the game.

Wide receiver

  • Stefon Diggs: 63/71 (89%)
  • Olabisi Johnson 59/71 (83%)
  • Laquon Treadwell 20/71 (28%)
  • Adam Thielen: 7/71 (10%)

Thielen returned to action to start the game, but had to leave after just seven snaps because he re-aggravated his hamstring injury. That meant Diggs slid into a near every-down role, Johnson moved up to WR2, and Treadwell came in on three-WR sets. Interestingly, Diggs and Johnson each only caught one pass for four yards (though Johnson's was a touchdown).

It was Treadwell who stepped up and had the most productive day, catching three passes for a career-high 58 yards. Only five of Cousins' 19 pass completions went to wide receivers.

Tight end

  • Kyle Rudolph: 55/71 (77%)
  • Irv Smith Jr: 43/71 (61%)
  • Tyler Conklin 14/71: (20%)

Irv Smith Jr.'s snap percentages by week: 49, 42, 49, 47, 51, 55, 56, 64, 61. That's a pretty steady upwards climb for the rookie out of Alabama. He clearly is continuing to learn the intricacies of the position and improve as a blocker. On Sunday, Smith finished second behind Cook with six targets, catching four of them (the best catch rate for anyone with multiple targets) for 33 yards.

Rudolph got into the end zone for the second time this season. Conklin is a skilled blocked in jumbo formations, but doesn't have a single catch on the year.

Offensive line

  • Pat Elflein: 71/71 (100%)
  • Garrett Bradbury: 71/71 (100%)
  • Brian O'Neill: 71/71 (100%)
  • Josh Kline: 71/71 (100%)
  • Riley Reiff: 71/71 (100%)

The O-line is fully healthy, which is good. However, the line didn't have one of its best games of the season in Kansas City. They only allowed one sack, when Elflein was bullrushed straight into Cousins, but they also didn't run-block very effectively.

Defensive line

  • Everson Griffen: 55/60 (92%)
  • Danielle Hunter: 52/60 (87%)
  • Linval Joseph: 44/60 (73%)
  • Shamar Stephen: 38/60 (63%)
  • Stephen Weatherly: 18/60 (30%)
  • Ifeadi Odenigbo: 17/60 (28%)
  • Jaleel Johnson: 14/60 (23%)

The Vikings sacked Matt Moore five times, with four of them coming from the defensive line. Griffen, Weatherly, and Odenigbo all recorded solo sacks, and Hunter and Johnson split one. Griffen and Weatherly had particularly strong games, with multiple QB hits. This position group remains incredibly deep.

Linebackers

  • Eric Kendricks: 60/60 (100%)
  • Anthony Barr: 60/60 (100%)
  • Ben Gedeon: 3/60 (5%)
  • Eric Wilson: 1/60 (2%)

It's an extremely rare sight to see a Vikings defensive snap without Kendricks and Barr, as the Vikings run two linebackers and five defensive backs at virtually all times. The star LB duo didn't make a massive impact on Sunday, though.

Defensive backs

  • Anthony Harris: 60/60 (100%)
  • Harrison Smith: 60/60 (100%)
  • Xavier Rhodes: 55/60 (92%)
  • Trae Waynes: 51/60 (85%)
  • Mike Hughes: 39/60 (65%)
  • Mackensie Alexander: 32/60 (53%)
  • Jayron Kearse: 1/60 (2%)

Like Kendricks and Barr, the two Vikings safeties don't leave the field often. Smith has played 98 percent of the snaps for the season, and Harris is at 96. Waynes and Rhodes dominate snaps at the two outside corner spots, although they occasionally rotate out and are replaced by Hughes or Alexander. Waynes struggled mightily to keep up with Tyreek Hill on Sunday.

This is now two straight weeks where Hughes has out-snapped Alexander, which is notable because Alexander was playing more than Hughes in the two weeks prior. It's definitely a luxury for Zimmer to have both of those guys healthy, as that wasn't the case earlier in the season.

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