The Minnesota Vikings used a heavy contingent of defensive reserves to gobble up the majority of the special-teams snaps in 2016.
The Vikings had five players in for more than 50 percent of the special-teams snaps and all five of them were reserves on the defensive side of the ball.
Nobody saw more special-teams snaps than second-year safety Anthony Harris, who got the chance to make a couple starts on defense when injuries occurred, yet still had more snaps on “teams” than on defense. Harris barely led Minnesota with 277 snaps on special teams, more than 100 more snaps than punter Jeff Locke and long snapper Kevin McDermott.
Close behind Harris were reserve linebacker Audie Cole, who played in 64 percent of the special-teams snaps, and reserve defensive end Justin Trattou (almost 63 percent of the snaps with 270 total). Reserve linebacker Emmanuel Lamur and backup safety Jayron Kearse, a rookie, were the only others to exceed 50 percent of the special-teams snaps, but Harris was the only player in for more than 40 percent of the special-teams plays that also had more than 100 snaps on offense or defense.
While Kearse was the only rookie taking more than half of the snaps on teams, another rookie, linebacker Kentrell Brothers, was recognized for his prowess in coverage and finished seventh on the team in special-teams snaps.
Cole (13) and Lamur (11) were the only players with double-digit sacks, but Brothers and Harris had nine each and Trattou finished fifth with eight.
Using reserves on special teams helps save the wear and tear on offensive and defensive starters, and Trae Waynes and Andrew Sendejo were the only players used for more than 30 percent of the special-teams snaps that also had more than 500 snaps on offense or defense.
Here were the most-used Vikings on special teams in 2016:
|Off||Off %||Def||Def %||ST||ST %|
|Players||1053||1035||429||Rush Diff||Pass Diff||PFF Grade|