By the numbers: Tate’s strong debuts

Ben Tate is likely to see his first action as a Viking and has a history of good first games. Plus, get all the rankings and statistics between the Vikings and Packers.

Ben Tate has been on the wrong side of NFL fortune during his short professional career. A second-round pick of the Houston Texans in 2010, Tate was the talk of training camp and big things were expected of him. The Texans made a bold draft-day move to jump up into the second round to take Tate with the 58th pick – the only time Houston has drafted a running back before the third round in franchise history.

But in the preseason opener Tate broke his ankle and opened the door to unknown Arian Foster. All Foster did was rush 327 times for 1,616 yards and 16 touchdowns and Houston had the Pro Bowl running back it was looking for. It just wasn’t Tate.

Since then, Tate has only had sporadic chances to be a featured back. But he has made a big splash when he gets his first opportunities to show what he can do.

In 2011, Foster missed three games. In relief of Foster, Tate started those three games, posting numbers of 24 carries for 116 and one touchdown, 19-82-0 and 16-97-1.

After spending the 2012 season behind Foster, who played all 16 games, last season Foster went down in Week 8. Tate came off the bench in that game and rushed 22 times for 81 yards. He would start six more games that season and in the two games he had more than 16 carries, he rushed for 88 and 102 yards.

Finally getting an opportunity to compete for a featured back spot in Cleveland, career derailment happened again.

Tate got injured in the regular-season opener but was off to a strong start, rushing six times for 41 yards before going down and being replaced by Terrance West, who went off for 100 yards on 16 carries. In Tate’s first full game with the Browns, he ran 22 times for 124 yards.

After that, Tate’s numbers tailed off and he was surpassed on the depth chart by West and Isaiah Crowell and, when Tate went public with his dissatisfaction with his new role, he was sent packing by the Browns.

As he enters his first game as a Viking, he does so with Matt Asiata out with a concussion and Jerick McKinnon slowed with a low back injury. If history tells us anything, it’s that Tate has had big debuts when given the opportunity to be a featured back. While McKinnon will likely start Sunday, if he isn’t 100 percent, Tate could begin his career reclamation as he looks for the opportunity that, to date in his career, has eluded him.


  • The Packers have the 9th-ranked offense (18th passing, 8th passing) and the 25th-ranked defense (29th rushing, 13th passing).

  • The Vikings have the 30th-ranked defense (12th rushing, 29th passing) and the 12th-ranked defense (21st rushing, 8th passing).

  • The Packers are ranked first in the NFL in average gain per pass play, interception percentage and points per game scored on offense.

  • Of the 16 comparative offensive categories the NFL keeps track of, the Vikings are ranked 28th or lower in nine of them.

  • Of the 17 comparative defensive stats kept by the league, the Vikings are in the top 12 in nine of them.

  • Green Bay is averaging 370 yards a game on offense (268 passing, 102 rushing). The Vikings are averaging 309 yards a game (192 passing, 117 rushing).

  • Defensively, the Packers are allowing 377 yards a game (238 passing, 139 rushing). Minnesota is allowing 341 yards a game (225 passing, 115 rushing).

  • Nobody is better than Green Bay in giveaway/takeaway ratio at plus-14 (eight giveaways, 22 takeaways). Minnesota is tied for 13th at plus-1 (13 giveaways, 14 takeaways).

  • The only teams other than Green Bay that have a giveaway/takeaway mark of plus-10 or better are New England (plus-11), Arizona (plus-11) and San Francisco (plus-10).

  • The Packers have the ninth-ranked red zone offense, scoring touchdowns on 25 of 41 possessions (61 percent). The Vikings are tied for 21st at 52 percent (13 of 25).

  • The Packers have as many red zone touchdowns as the Vikings have red zone possessions.

  • Defensively, Green Bay is fourth in the red zone, allowing touchdowns on 13 of 29 possessions (45.7 percent). The Vikings are 26th at 63 percent (17 TDs on 27 possessions).

  • The Packers are seventh in third-down offense, converting on 66 of 130 chances (50.8 percent). The Vikings are 28th at 35 percent (48 of 137). The league average is 40.8 percent.

  • Defensively, the Vikings are 14th in the red zone, allowing conversions on 54 of 134 opportunities (40.3 percent). The Packers are 24th at 43.5 percent (57 of 131).

  • The Vikings are sixth in average starting position following kickoffs, checking in on the 23.7-yard line – more than two yards better than the league average of the 21.6-yard line. The Packers are 26th with an average starting point of the 20-yard line.

  • Defensively, Minnesota is seventh in average starting position allowed following kickoffs at the 20.4-yard line. Green Bay is 30th with an average start allowed at the 23.7-yard line.

  • Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers has four 300-yard passing games. Teddy Bridgewater has the only 300-yard game for the Vikings.

  • The Packers have allowed two 300-yard passers. The Vikings have allowed just one.

  • The Vikings have had just one 100-yard receiver – Jarius Wright vs. Atlanta. The Packers have had 10 – five by Jordy Nelson, four by Randall Cobb and one by Eddie Lacy.

  • Green Bay has allowed four 100-yard receivers. Minnesota has surrendered three.

  • The Vikings have three 100-yard rushing performances – two from Jerick McKinnon and one from Cordarrelle Patterson in Week 1. Green Bay has just one 100-yard game from Lacy, but it came in the first meeting with the Vikings at Lambeau Field.

  • Both the Vikings and Packers have allowed three 100-yard rushers.

  • Rodgers is 17th in pass attempts (313), 14th in completions (209), sixth in completion percentage (66.8), sixth in yards (2,748), first in average gain per pass play (8.78 yards), tied for second in touchdowns (28), first in interceptions (3), tied for first in interception percentage (1.0) and first in passer rating (120.1).

  • On the flip side, Bridgewater is 28th in attempts (225), 28th in completions (137), 25th in completion percentage (60.9 percent), 29th in yards (1,479), tied for 37th in touchdown passes (4), 31st in TD percentage (1.8), tied for ninth in interceptions (6), 20th in interception percentage (2.7) and 29th in passer rating (75.0).

  • Rodgers is fourth in fourth-quarter passer rating at 109.7. Bridgewater is 26th with a rating of 81.4.

  • Rodgers is best in the league in third-down passer rating at 126.7. Bridgewater is 17th at 89.3.

  • Lacy is 17th in the league in rushing with 547 yards. McKinnon is 18th with 484 yards.

  • Nelson is seventh in receptions with 60, followed by Cobb, who is 19th with 54 catches. Greg Jennings leads the Vikings with 36 receptions, which ties him for 63rd place.

  • Nelson is third in receiving yards with 998. Cobb is 12th with 779 yards. Jennings leads the Vikings with 463 yards, which ties him for 58th in the league.

  • Cobb is third in scoring among non-kickers with 62 points (10 touchdowns and a two-point conversion). Nelson is tied for sixth with 54 points (nine TDs). Matt Asiata leads the Vikings with 44 points (seven touchdowns and a two-point conversion).

  • Mason Crosby is tied for eighth in scoring among kickers with 82 points. Blair Walsh is 20th with 69 points.

  • Crosby is tied for 11th in touchbacks with 32. Walsh is tied for 14th with 30.

  • McKinnon leads the Vikings in total yards from scrimmage with 610 (484 rushing, 126 receiving). The Packers have three players with more yards than that. Nelson is eighth with 998 (all receiving). Lacy is 16th with 869 (547 rushing, 322 receiving). Cobb is 24th with 788 (779 receiving, 9 rushing).

  • Tim Masthay is 10th in the league in punting average at 46.2 yards. Jeff Locke is 26th with a 44.1-yard average.

  • Masthay is 17th in net punt average at 38.9 yards. Locke is 24th at 38.5 yards.

  • Patterson is 11th in the league in kickoff return average at 24.4 yards. Last year, Patterson led the NFL, averaging more than 30 yards per return.

  • Harrison Smith is tied for third in interceptions with four. Casey Hayward of the Packers is tied for eighth with three picks.

  • Veteran Julius Peppers has two interceptions and has returned both of them for touchdowns, including one in the first meeting with the Vikings.

  • Everson Griffen is tied for eighth place in sacks with nine. Peppers leads the Packers with five sacks, which ties him for 22nd place.

  • Green Bay has outscored its opponents 107-44 in the first quarter and 208-95 in the first half of games this season.

  • The Packers have five returns for touchdowns – two interception returns by Peppers, an interception and fumble return by Heyward and a punt return by Micah Hyde.

  • Green Bay has scored more points in the first half (208) than the Vikings have scored in all 10 of their games this season (181).

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