Throughout most of the 2014 season the Minnesota Vikings have had one of the leagues worst passing attacks. They are currently ranked 30th in the league for passing offense, averaging 194.8 yards per game – and that coming after a game where Bridgewater threw for 309 yards.
Last week was a very good game for the Vikings passing attack. It was only the second time this year that a Vikings quarterback threw for over 300 yards in a game – Bridgewater threw for 317 yards in Week 4 against the Falcons – and it was the second game where a Vikings receiver went for over 100 yards – Jarius Wright had 132 yards against the Falcons.
Not only did Wright go for 123 yards and the game-winning touchdown against the New York Jets, but fellow wide receiver Charles Johnson also went for 103 yards and a touchdown – and it would have been two touchdowns if he didn’t fumble at the goal line. That performance by the receiving group has really boosted their confidence, and they want to show everyone that they are the playmakers on this team.
“I think it’s big, man,” said Johnson. “We want our receiving corps to feel like we’re the playmakers on this team, and that if we need a big play they can depend on us.”
In the past few games the Vikings passing game has been showing improvement, and it was on display again last weekend against the Jets. Johnson said that they are just working hard everyday in practice and now it is starting to show up on the field.
“Coming out here each and every day and grinding,” Johnson said. “Come out and work and practice and you will do it in the game. We come out here everyday, we work hard, try to get better.”
Along with hard work, the offense as a whole seems to finally be acclimating to offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s system. After the season’s first game – when the Vikings scored 34 points against St. Louis – a lot of people thought the Vikings would have a potent offense all season, but the truth is they still had to get used to the new system.
With the recent success they have been having, it seems as though the offense is finally figuring out the new system, and Johnson agrees.
“When you come into a new system, you have to get comfortable,” he said. “We got a new quarterback, a lot of young players; we are all trying to get it working together. I mean, as long as we keep building each and every week and each and every day we got a bright future.”
Having a rookie quarterback also played into the struggles of the passing game for the Vikings. When Bridgewater first entered into the offense for the first time, he did not have chemistry with many of the receivers and it takes time to develop that.
Heading into Week 15 means that Bridgewater has started 10 games for the Vikings, and has been taking first-team reps with the offense. That helps build confidence between him and the receivers, and it has started to show on the field.
“Yeah definitely, I mean you come straight in, you’re not going to have confidence in everybody because you’re new to them, their new to you,” Johnson said. “Once you come out here and keep working with them everyday it’s only going to help build that.”
This Sunday the Vikings will go up against the Detroit Lions. The last time these two teams met Bridgewater was held below 200 yards passing, and the team’s leading receiver was running back Jerick McKinnon (six receptions for 42 yards). He has since been placed on injury reserve.
What has happened in the past stays in the past, though, and this Vikings offense is performing much better than it was earlier in the season. Johnson believes that if the offense just goes out and plays its game that everything will be OK.
“We just got to come out and do what we do,” he said. “Run our routes right, know the plays, and come out and just work hard, man, you get open and get the ball and it will take care of itself.”
Vikings offense starting to find its rhythm
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