Following the Minnesota Vikings’ 29-19 win over the New Orleans Saints, quarterback Sam Bradford talked about how the offense was “multiple.”
He’s referring to the different combinations of players and formations offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur used in Week 1. A look at the official snap counts reveals that the Vikings got many players involved.
As you might expect, the offensive line and QB Sam Bradford were in on every play outside of two missed by Nick Easton in the third quarter. Adam Thielen also played 100% of snaps, Kyle Rudolph was mostly on the field, playing 55 of 65 snaps and Stefon Diggs was in for 58 of 65 plays. The rest of the offense was mix-and-match.
Receiver Laquon Treadwell, who only grabbed one catch for seven yards, saw the field for 36 plays while second tight end David Morgan played 18 snaps and Jarius Wright was on for 15 plays. Even Stacy Coley and Blake Bell were on the field for two snaps each.
In the backfield, Dalvin Cook was clearly RB1, playing 51 of 65 snaps, but Jerick McKinnon was on for 11 plays and CJ Ham saw nine snaps.
Latavius Murray was the least used running back with just three plays – not likely what he expected upon signing in Minnesota this offseason.
On the defensive side, the Vikings used base package defense with rookie Ben Gedeon early in the game, but it appeared they played him less after a slow reaction to a seam route by tight end Colby Fleener. Gedeon finished with 16 plays.
Mackensie Alexander did not see the field early on, but was forced into action when Xavier Rhodes had a heat-related illness. Alexander was on for 27 plays and did not allow a catch against. He made one strong play at the goal line to deflect a pass.
Terence Newman started at nickel corner and played 66% of snaps.
Brian Robison saw the field quite often against the pass-happy Saints, playing 38 downs. The Vikings also mixed DT Shamar Stephen in for 27 snaps. They elected to sit rookie Jaleel Johnson, who had a strong training camp and preseason. Tom Johnson played 73% of total snaps.
Harrison Smith, Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks and Andrew Sendejo played every defensive snap against the Saints.
It was clear from the defensive usage that the Vikings were focused on the Saints’ pass game, but they were still effective stopping the run, only allowing 18 yards each to Adrian Peterson and Alvin Kamara.