Vikings vs. Lions Snap Count Analysis

Will Ragatz

The Vikings didn't play their best game of the year on Sunday, but it was still more than enough to dominate the Lions. The game felt fairly over at halftime, and there ended up being a decent amount of garbage time that allowed some of the backups to see increased snaps.

With that in mind, let's take a look at the Vikings' snap counts in Week 14. They're listed below, along with some explanation and analysis.

Offense (73 snaps):

QB Kirk Cousins: 73

RT Brian O'Neill: 73

RG Josh Kline: 73

C Garrett Bradbury: 73

LG Pat Elflein: 73

LT Riley Reiff: 68

WR Stefon Diggs: 54

WR Bisi Johnson: 52

TE Irv Smith Jr: 51

TE Kyle Rudolph: 47

TE Tyler Conklin: 35

RB Dalvin Cook: 34

FB CJ Ham: 30

RB Alexander Mattison: 27

WR Laquon Treadwell: 18

RB Ameer Abdullah: 6

RB Mike Boone: 6

LT Rashod Hill: 5

WR Alexander Hollins: 5

Analysis: The Vikings went with a ton of heavy formations against the Lions, which meant Conklin played a season-high 35 snaps and Ham was also above 30 for just the third time. Notably, Smith out-snapped Rudolph for the first time this season. Rudolph was way ahead of Smith in snaps early in the season, but the gap had been shrinking and shrinking until it disappeared as the two played the exact same amount in Seattle last week. It would be interesting to see what would happen to the tight end snaps if Adam Thielen is able to return.

Diggs and Johnson played nearly the same number of snaps, but Diggs was far more involved in the passing game. He caught six of nine targets for 92 yards, while Johnson was only targeted once (for a touchdown). The Vikings being up by a lot allowed the Cook-Mattison split to be a lot more even than usual. Dealing with a chest injury, Cook didn't play at all in the fourth quarter. Even fourth-string RB Boone got in the game at the end. Hill filled in briefly for Reiff on the offensive line.

Defense (71 snaps):

LB Anthony Barr: 65

LB Eric Kendricks: 65

S Harrison Smith: 65

S Anthony Harris: 65

DE Danielle Hunter: 63

CB Mackensie Alexander: 57

DE Everson Griffen: 55

CB Trae Waynes: 54

DL Ifeadi Odenigbo: 42

DT Linval Joseph: 37

DL Stephen Weatherly: 30

CB Mike Hughes: 29

CB Xavier Rhodes: 29

CB Holton Hill: 27

DT Jaleel Johnson: 25

DT Shamar Stephen: 24

LB Eric Wilson: 20

DT Armon Watts: 7

S Jayron Kearse: 7

S Andrew Sendejo: 6

LB Kentrell Brothers: 6

CB Kris Boyd: 3

Analysis: The most notable thing to discuss here is the cornerback rotation employed by Mike Zimmer. Waynes, Rhodes, and Hughes were rotated in and out, and Hill entered the rotation when Rhodes injured his ankle and had to sit. "I just think it's important that we mix some guys in there and let some guys adjust and see how the game, the flow of the game is and keep going from there," Zimmer said. He added that Hill, the second-year CB who returned from suspension a few weeks ago, is "still a work in progress."

The defensive line rotation was also interesting. Odenigbo played a career-high 42 snaps, lining up both inside and outside. Joseph and Stephen played less than usual, with Odenigbo, Johnson, and Weatherly also seeing significant roles. The depth of the defensive line allows the Vikings to keep guys fresh up front. It worked, as the run defense was much-improved from the Seahawks game.

The primary linebackers and safeties – Kendricks, Barr, Smith, Harris – almost never leave the field outside of garbage time.