If the Vikings are searching for the right mix of Teddy Bridgewater being under center or in the shotgun or pistol (about 4 yards behind center), there is no stronger leaning than the running game.
On Adrian Peterson runs, the evidence is becoming more conclusive with each completed game in Norv Turner’s offense.
Against the San Diego Chargers, every one of Peterson’s 20 rushes for 126 yards came with Teddy Bridgewater taking snaps under center. In the season opener, Peterson ran six times for 26 yards with Bridgewater under center and four times for 6 yards with him in shotgun (or pistol). But while Peterson has proved more effective with Bridgewater under center, that can obviously be a tell if Peterson will get the ball or not if all his carries come with the quarterback under center like he was against San Diego.
Following the bye, the Vikings mixed up Peterson’s carries once again, but the evidence was pretty conclusive. He had 21 carries with Peterson under center and five with him in shotgun or pistol. The result: Peterson rushed 26 times for 60 yards – with 70 yards coming with Bridgewater under center and minus-10 when he was in the pistol or shotgun, including losses of 1, 5 and 6 yards in three of those five carries.
So does it make a difference in the passing game? Against the Chiefs, Bridgewater attempted to pass 22 times out of the shotgun, completing 13 passes for 153 yards, one touchdown, both of his interceptions and taking one sack. When he was dropping back from under center – 11 times – he completed four passes for 96 yards, no touchdowns, no interceptions and took his other sack in the game. He had a 60.3 rating from the shotgun or pistol, and 75.4 from under center.
The accepted line of thinking is that Bridgewater is more comfortable in the shotgun or pistol than when he is under center. While the Kansas City game doesn’t show that, the season stats do. Bridgewater’s stats in the shotgun, according to Pro Football Reference: 71.2 completion percentage, 6.3-yard average, three touchdowns and four interceptions, 13 sacks and an 81.6 rating. Under center, where he takes about one-fourth of his passing snaps: 42.9 completion percentage, 5.0-yard average, no touchdowns, no interceptions, two sacks and a 58.5 rating.
For the season, the common line of thinking that Bridgewater is better in the shotgun and Peterson is better with the quarterback under center is true. But in the Kansas City game, both were better under center.