For first time in Zimmer era, Vikings offense finally carrying its weight

After three video games, the Vikings rank second within the NFL in complete offense with a mean of four hundred.three yards. That comes after three seasons beneath Zimmer by which they have been among the many league’s worst offenses, rating twenty seventh in 2014, twenty ninth in 2015 and twenty eighth in 2016.

“There have been occasions final yr …. the place we really feel we let our protection down,” receiver Adam Thielen stated Monday, Sept. 25. “They performed rather well and we did not, and in order that was one thing for us coming into this yr that we needed to do nicely.

“We needed to say, ‘Hey we acquired your again. You guys received our again. Let’s win every recreation as a staff.’ I feel we did that within the two wins we have had thus far.”

The Vikings (2-1) have been explosive on offense in these two wins, each at residence, 29-19 over New Orleans within the opener and 34-17 over Tampa Bay on Sunday. They did lose their solely street recreation, 26-9 to Pittsburgh, and Thielen stated the offense may additionally have let the protection down in that one.

Nonetheless, the Vikings discover it encouraging getting off to such a robust offensive begin.

“We now have a number of playmakers on offense,” receiver Jarius Wright stated. “The offensive line is enjoying nice. … We simply let the NFL rankings converse for themselves. If we’re ranked excessive on offense, then meaning we’re enjoying good.”

When Zimmer took over in 2014, he sought first to construct a dominant protection, and largely has been profitable. The offense has taken longer.

It did not assist that operating again Adrian Peterson missed 15 video games in 2014 due to a toddler-abuse incident after which thirteen video games final yr due to accidents. And Minnesota has had quite a few accidents on the offensive line, particularly final season.

Peterson is gone, changed by rookie Dalvin Prepare dinner, who has made an enormous distinction. Prepare dinner is second in NFL dashing with 288 yards.

“It is good to all the time have a superb operating recreation for a group,” Prepare dinner stated. “Ain’t no good staff just isn’t going to have a great operating recreation. You’ve got received to have the ability to run to open up the passing recreation.”

Towards the Buccaneers, backup quarterback Case Keenum changed an injured Sam Bradford for the second straight recreation, finishing 25 of 33 passes for a profession-excessive 369 yards and three touchdowns. However the mere presence of Prepare dinner, who carried 27 occasions for ninety seven yards, benefited the passing assault.

“When you’ll be able to run the soccer the best way we have been operating it, it helps,” Zimmer stated. “It helps get extra individuals down within the field and it provides extra single protection on the surface.”

It additionally helps that offensive coordinator Pat Shumur had a full offseason to put in…

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