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Skol Schemes, Week 10: Cooking With Gas

Breaking down Dalvin Cook’s long TD run

Minnesota Vikings v Buffalo Bills Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images

As the 3rd quarter was winding down in a 27-10 game between the Bills and the Vikings, I pondered what the rest of the day may have in store for me. I considered, for one full minute, if I would even go downstairs for a quick snack to break a tradition of sitting with a restless leg for four quarters (minus a halftime food break) that has lasted 10 games.

Dalvin Cook had no patience for my mental break and quickly gave the Vikings life on the way to a huge comeback and the most thrilling win of an already wild season. Cook’s 81 yard touchdown run was a combination of scheme, execution, and high level play making.

The run was first set up via formation. The Vikings are in 12 personnel — one running back and two Tight Ends. By having both Tight Ends together, Kevin O’Connell encouraged the Bills to allocate more resources to the strong side of the formation. The Bills set their 3 technique to the two Tight End side and had an extra defender down in their over front.

O’Connell loves calling zone to the weak side. Instead of their usual wide zone with a slightly wider track aiming at the Tight End, they use the term mid zone. This bumps the running back’s path in, allows the play side tackle to be more aggressive, and can hit quicker than wide zone. This play is often run to the B gap bubble, which is created by a vacated space in between the defensive tackle and defensive end. Getting the defensive front in a favorable look is just the start of it.

Regardless of the play drawn up on the whiteboard, players still need to make plays. The play side of the Vikings offensive line (Center Garett Bradburry and Left Guard Ezra Cleveland) executed their double team beautifully and helped seal a linebacker to get Dalvin Cook in a one on one situation.

Enough cannot be said about Justin Jefferson’s receiving ability, but his block of the down safety on this play deserves recognition. By blocking the safety who is poised to fill the B gap, the offense has now put Dalvin Cook in the driver’s seat. At this point, the Vikings have their best ball carrier on what the defense probably sees as one of their lower tier tacklers. The result? A broken tackle, speed to erase an angle, and 6 points. Here is the clip in full:

One might say that Dalvin was ... Cooking on that TD run. Check out my full video breakdown: