Vikings Running Game Is Not Helping Teddy Bridgewater


Teddy Bridgewater attempted 41 passes Sunday against Detroit, completing 75% for 315 yards, 1 TD and 2 very costly picks.

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What jumps out at you about this is the sheer number of pass attempts in a game that was not high-scoring and did not see the Vikings falling far behind at any point.

41 pass attempts in a game that ended 16-14 is way too many pass attempts.

Bridgewater’s accuracy was spot-on for much of the day, notwithstanding the two bad passes that led to the interceptions, but even taking that into account, 41 pass attempts is too many.

41 pass attempts is too many even if you take into account how many of said attempts were of the short variety. Yes, Norv Turner dialed up a nice variety of passing plays, getting multiple receivers involved. It was a good game plan against Detroit’s aggressive front. And it worked for a lot of the day.

It just didn’t work well enough to win the game.

Turner I’m sure did not go into yesterday’s game meaning to throw the ball 41 times. I’m sure his plan was to mix in more runs. I’m sure he would have preferred running the ball with much more frequency once the Vikings got up 14-0.

Unfortunately, Norv Turner just does not have the horses to execute a run-heavy game plan. Even with the Vikings in a close game in the second half, he had to keep going to the air.

The Vikings finished the day with 76 rush yards on 21 attempts. That doesn’t sound completely horrible until you realize that 30 of those yards came from Teddy Bridgewater himself on just 3 attempts.

The running back trio of Matt Asiata, Ben Tate and Joe Banyard accounted for 46 yards on 18 carries, or 2.6 yards per carry. That is not getting it done. That is not even CLOSE to getting it done.

Of course we understand that these running backs are currently operating behind an offensive line that is not even remotely what it was supposed to be going into the season. The loss of Phil Loadholt and Brandon Fusco on the right side has greatly diminished the Vikings’ ability to power up and run the ball as they wanted to.

The Vikings still seem able to get decent push up the middle but when Matt Asiata and Ben Tate are your top two backs, you can forget about any of those runs being broken for explosive plays. The second level is not being challenged by the Vikings run game right now. At all.

Bottom line, Norv Turner and Teddy Bridgewater are just in a bad spot right now when it comes to the running game. They don’t have the players to consistently block and they don’t have backs who can consistently exploit the holes that are there and put pressure on second- and third-level players to make tough tackles.

And that’s how you end up with Bridgewater throwing the ball 41 times in a game that had ground-and-pound written all over it from about the mid-point of the second quarter.

Bridgewater held up well in the second half but the Vikings right now are not capable of putting together enough of a running game to help him out. And that is frustrating.