Tom Dahlin/VikingUpdate.com

Counting snaps: Minnesota Vikings use healthy DL rotation against big OL

The Minnesota Vikings used a healthy rotation of defensive linemen Thursday night in an attempt to beat what is widely considered the best offensive line in the NFL.

Against what Mike Zimmer considered the best offensive line he has seen in a long time in the NFL, the Minnesota Vikings used a healthy rotation of defensive linemen Thursday night.

Everson Griffen led the snap count on the defensive line with 44 of 52 snaps, followed by Linval Joseph (39), Brian Robison (36), Shamar Stephen (33), Danielle Hunter (32) and Tom Johnson (22). That means each of the linemen that played on defense were in for at least 42 percent of the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive snaps.

That keep-them-fresh approach seemed to work. The Vikings got seven quarterback hits, including three sacks and held RB Ezekiel Elliott to a 4.3-yard average.

Offensively, the Vikings’ starting five offensive linemen, which this time included fill-in center Nick Easton, all played every snap. Zac Kerin got two snaps as an extra lineman.

QB Shaun Hill also got two snaps at the end of the first half after starter Sam Bradford took a shot to the ribs but returned to start the second half.

Adam Thielen led the receivers with 63 of the Vikings’ 74 offensive snaps. It was more than leading receiver Stefon Diggs, who was coming off a knee injury. The only two times that Thielen had more snaps than Diggs and Diggs wasn’t coming off an inactive week because of injury were in Weeks 10 and 11, against the Redskins and Cardinals, respectively, when Thielen had 57 snaps to Diggs’ 51 and 44 to 43 in consecutive games.

VIKINGS SNAPS VS. COWBOYS

  vs. Dallas Cowboys
  Off Def ST
Players 74 52 28
J Berger 0 0 0
B Fusco 74 0 3
A Boone 74 0 3
T Clemmings 74 0 3
J Sirles 74 0 0
S Bradford 72 0 0
K Rudolph 63 0 3
S Diggs 58 0 0
C Johnson 26 0 21
A Thielen 63 0 6
C Patterson 47 0 15
R Ellison 18 0 10
D Morgan 0 0 4
Z Line 10 0 10
M Asiata 21 0 7
J McKinnon 51 0 0
J Wright 0 0 0
L Treadwell 11 0 17
Z Kerin 2 0 3
N Easton 74 0 3
W Beavers 0 0 0
S Hill 2 0 0
A Sendejo 0 52 9
E Kendricks 0 52 3
A Barr 0 52 3
H Smith 0 51 3
X Rhodes 0 49 0
T Newman 0 22 3
T Waynes 0 31 9
E Griffen 0 44 3
B Robison 0 36 3
L Joseph 0 39 3
C Munnerlyn 0 29 0
D Hunter 0 32 0
C Greenway 0 23 3
T Johnson 0 22 0
S Stephen 0 33 6
M Alexander 0 0 0
A Harris 0 1 22
M Sherels 0 0 0
A Cole 0 0 14
E Lamur 0 4 14
J Trattou 0 0 22
J Kearse 0 0 22
K Brothers 0 0 22
E Robinson 0 0 8
K McDermott 0 0 10
J Locke 0 0 10
K Forbath 0 0 8

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