Early in Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins, the Minnesota Vikings seemed to make a statement trying to take shots down the field. Teddy Bridgewater attempted five deep throws down the field in the first half, but was unable to complete any of them.
The Vikings even tried switching between different targets during those attempts – Bridgewater threw to three different receivers deep down the field – but no matter what the Vikings tried they were still unable to connect deep downfield.
Even though none of the passes were caught, they still had an effect in the game, and ultimately helped out the Vikings offense.
“A lot of corners try to sit on us sometimes,” said Vikings wide receiver Jarius Wright. “So taking the deep shots definitely backs the corners off and we were able to – later in the game – throw some quicker check downs, so you definitely have to take the shots to show the defense that we’re not scared to throw the ball down the field.”
As things did open up for the Vikings receivers underneath, the team backed away from throwing the deep ball in the second half. It may not have been due to the incompletions, but instead because the Vikings were finding success elsewhere.
In the second half of the game, the Vikings offense was able to run the ball after an abysmal first quarter that saw them rush for a total of one yard. They also had success with Bridgewater throwing short to intermediate passes.
“Some different things were working for us,” said Wright when asked why they stopped taking shots downfield. “Definitely in the second half we were able to run the ball better and when you can run the ball it opens up the offense in many different ways.”
Even though Minnesota ultimately won the game, it was the third week in a row where the game came down to the final drive, and if the Vikings could have connected on any of the deep passes the game would not have been as close.
Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson was targeted deep downfield on three separate occasions during the first half, one of which he was deep down the field with no defenders near him, and you could see his frustration after he realized the ball was out of his reach.
“Oh course its frustrating,” Patterson said. “Like I said, we got the win and are going to look past that, all of the deep balls. We just need to work in practice and work on getting that communication with each other.
“Teddy is a smart guy. Sometimes you overthrow it and sometimes you underthrow it. That’s what happens when you are back there with pressure coming on you; sometimes you don’t know how to throw it.”
With the Vikings now going into their bye week, deep-ball accuracy is still something that needs to be worked on as Bridgewater continues to struggle with it. It is something that both him and his receivers know they need to improve on, and even though they have struggled, they all still seem to be confident that they will figure it out.
Vikings vexed by deep-ball misses
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