With all the new players added to the Minnesota Vikings, the Vikings need to find ways to optimize their offense in the areas they were deficient. The Vikings struggled on first and second down running, third and long and goal line situations. Who should be on the field to maximize output in these situations?
The Vikings struggled to generate first downs in 2017, partly because they did poorly generating yards on first and second down. The Vikings only passed 36% of the time on first down and 27% on second downs. In this 3-WR set, Stefon Diggs is in the slot and Laquon Treadwell and Adam Thielen are on the outside. Ideally, Diggs should be moved around the formation as his skillset allows him to line up everywhere. The flexibility of this formation allows any of the Vikings wide outs to play the slot based on the personnel. Dalvin Cook in the backfield allows Sam Bradford to have a check down outlet, but also motion Cook out wide for an empty backfield. The Vikings can do various play calls from this formation (i.e. Shotgun runs, multiple passing options, potential gadget plays), but play design can increase success rate.
3rd and Long
The Vikings found themselves in third and long situations too often this season. They had 213 attempts on 3rd downs and only completed 38% of them; 18th in the league. The Vikings will need to find a way to increase production on third and long situations. Diggs has shown to command attention, and the Vikings could exploit this with other weapons. Rub routes and pick plays could get Diggs into space, but for 3rd and long Vikings will need to push the ball down the field. Kyle Rudolph saw substantial targets on third down with 71 targets and 503 yards with an average of 11.7 Per Warren Sharp: 8 Elements teams need to incorporate to improve efficiency, teams had an average completion of 51% with 8.2 yards per attempt with two running backs, one tight end, and two wide receivers.
Goal line situations
The Vikings mightily struggled in goal line situations, due to heavy power run formations. Adam Thielen contributed in the red zone scoring three times on 10 targets. Diggs only had one touchdown on 12 targets, but despite a disappointing rookie season, Treadwell size and frame could be utilized in the red zone. Bucky Hodges size and athleticism will be an asset for both positioning and jump ball situations.