Athletic pleads for Vikings to adopt “Pass-First” model


Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer told media on Monday that Dalvin Cook’s status was “day by day“after injuring his shoulder in San Francisco.

So while he seems optimistic the injury won’t end the season, the Vikings must also operate without knowing exactly when Cook will be back in the lineup.

Chad Graff of The Athletic said Cook’s injury should push Minnesota to “become a pass-first team“on the stretch. Graff wrote:

[It’s] It’s time for the Vikings to change their offensive identity again, even if only for the final six weeks of the season. It’s time for the Vikings to adopt a passing attack that is more like what the rest of the league is doing.

For the first time, the Vikings have the wide receiver depth to make it possible. For the first time ever, they have a passing attack that has been significantly more productive than their rushed play. And for the first time ever, they have enough reason for Zimmer to consider giving up his balanced attack.

Graff argued that “historical precedents would indicate [Cook] won’t be the same explosive player “immediately returning from injury. He also noted, however, that Minnesota’s passing game has proven to be more effective this season, anyway.

Frankly, such a move could have been justified even before Cook got hurt. For some reason, the Vikings’ running game this season has not been as effective as it has been in recent years. Based on expected points added per game, the Vikings rank sixth in the league in passing attempts and 27th.on rushed attempts.

This difference could become even more drastic if the Vikings relied on Alexander Mattison in the same role as Cook. Although Mattison had success as a backup in his first two years, he is ranked among the least effective rushers in the NFL this season. Maybe they could lean more on rookie Kene Nwangwu, but that’s far from a sure thing as he just had his first NFL carry-over on Sunday.

Graff noted KJ Osborn’s emergence as the No. 3 wide receiver option behind “one of the best receiving duos in the league with Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson.”

The Vikings have already made adaptations this season to make up for the loss of Irv Smith, Jr., to a torn meniscus, which likely created more targets for Osborn, so there could be more opportunities in the airs now.

This may go against Zimmer’s nature. It may go against the way this team is built. That was certainly not the plan initially. But the best coaches and the best teams adapt.


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