By the numbers: Running game isn’t a rush

The Vikings have struggled to run the ball without Adrian Peterson and it shows. Plus, get the in-depth rankings for the Vikings and Falcons in numerous categories.

The Adrian Peterson era with the Vikings may well be over. But the void left by that loss has been easy to measure.

In the one game in which Peterson played for the Vikings, the team ran 32 times for 185 yards. Granted, 102 of those came from Cordarrelle Patterson, but it can be argued that the Rams defense was exploitable in large part to the commitment they were giving to Peterson.

But what has followed has been offensively offensive. In the two games since, the Vikings have scored one touchdown – and that came on the first drive of the New England game. Since then, the only player changing the scoreboard has been kicker Blair Walsh.

In the one game with Peterson, the Vikings ran 32 times for 185 yards and won that game 34-6. They scored six times – four touchdowns and two field goals.

In the two games since, the Peterson-less Vikings have rushed 41 times for 113 yards and no touchdowns. For those with moderate or worse math skills, that equates to 2.76 yards per carry, more than 3 yards less than the 5.78 yards they averaged in their season-opening road win.

Matt Asiata has rushed 25 times for 71 yards in those games with a long run of 8 yards.

As the Vikings turn the offense over to Teddy Bridgewater, imperative in that transition is that opposing defenses can’t simply bring the house because they don’t have to respect the running game.

The Falcons haven’t built a reputation for stuffing the run – a tradition like no other in Georgia. If the Vikings are going to move on from Peterson as their offensive identity, it has to come soon.

Third time a charm? It better be.


  • The Vikings have the 29th-ranked offense in the league (24th rushing, 31st passing) and the 11th-ranked defense (15th rushing, 13th passing).

  • The Vikings are averaging 273 yards a game (174 passing, 99 rushing) and are allowing 335 yards a game (225 passing, 100 rushing).

  • The Falcons have the top-ranked offense (16th rushing, 1st passing) and the 27th-ranked defense (19th rushing, 25th passing).

  • Atlanta is averaging 455 yards (334 passing, 121 rushing) and is allowing 387 yards a game (263 passing, 124 rushing).

  • Atlanta is tied for 18th in giveaway/takeaway ratio at minus-1 (eight giveaways, seven takeaways).

  • Minnesota is tied for 21st in giveaway/takeaway ratio at minus-2 (four giveaways, two takeaways).

  • The Falcons have the best red zone offense in the league, scoring touchdowns on seven of eight red zone possessions (87.5 percent). The Vikings are 26th at 40 percent (two TDs on five possessions).

  • Only Jacksonville (three) has fewer offensive red zone possessions than the Vikings.

  • The Vikings are tied for ninth in red zone defense, allowing touchdowns on four of eight possessions (50 percent). Atlanta tied for 29th at 70 percent (seven touchdowns on 10 red zone possessions).

  • Atlanta is fifth in third-down offense, converting on 17 of 34 third downs (50 percent). The Vikings are 28th, converting 34.2 percent (13 of 38). The league average is 41.7 percent.

  • The Falcons are 16th in third-down defense, allowing conversions on 17 of 30 third-down chances (42.5 percent). The Vikings are 21st at 43.9 percent (18 of 41).

  • The Falcons have one 300-yard passing game this season, a franchise-record 448 yards by Matt Ryan. The Vikings haven’t had a 300-yard passing game.

  • Neither the Vikings nor Falcons have allowed a 300-yard passer this season.

  • The Falcons have two 100-yard receiving games from Julio Jones and have allowed one. The Vikings haven’t had a 100-yard receiver or allowed one.

  • Atlanta hasn’t had or allowed a 100-yard rusher. The Vikings have had one (Cordarrelle Patterson) and allowed one.

  • Ryan is at or near the top in just about every passing category, including ninth in attempts (111), fourth in completions (76), fifth in completion percentage (68.5), second in yards (965), first in average gain (8.69 yards), fourth in TD passes (7), and fifth in passer rating (105.1).

  • Matt Cassel was the lowest rated passer with enough attempts to qualify with a passer rating of 65.8 and was 27th or worse in eight of the 10 comparative passing categories that are kept.

  • Ryan is 20th in fourth-quarter passer rating (78.0). Cassel is 26th with a rating of 69.5.

  • Ryan is seventh in third-down passer rating (105.6). Cassel was 17th with a rating of 89.4.

  • Steven Jackson is 20th in the league in rushing with 152 yards. Patterson leads the Vikings with 95 rushing yards, which ranks him 43rd.

  • Julio Jones is tied for third in the league in receptions with 23. Greg Jennings leads the Vikings with 12, which ties him for 54th.

  • Jones leads the NFL with 365 receiving yards. Patterson leads the Vikings with 143 yards, which places him 54th.

  • Jones is tied for sixth in scoring among non-kickers with 18 points (three touchdowns). No Viking has scored more than one TD.

  • Matt Bryant is tied for 13th in scoring among kickers with 25 points. Blair Walsh is tied for 20th with 20 points.

  • Walsh is tied for sixth in touchbacks with 12. Atlanta’s Matt Bosher is tied for eighth with 11.

  • Jones is fourth in total yards from scrimmage with 365 (all receiving). Patterson is tied for 32nd with 238 yards (143 receiving, 95 rushing).

  • Jeff Locke is 12th in punting average at 46.1 yards. Ironically, Bosher is 14th with the same average of 46.1, but his is 0.043 yards per punt behind.

  • Locke is 17th in net punting average at 39.9 yards. Bosher is 19th at 39.3 yards.

  • Everson Griffen and Tom Johnson are tied for 13th place in sacks with two. As a team, the Falcons have three sacks, nobody with more than one.

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