PFF Stats To Note From the Vikings’ Second Preseason Game
The Minnesota Vikings dropped their ninth consecutive overall preseason game Saturday night to the Tennessee Titans by a score of 24-16. The games ultimately don’t count, so the final score is irrelevant. However, the players playing in these games have a ton to play for, and ultimately will affect how the team plays once the games do count.
Box score stats, like the final score, rushing yards, touchdowns, etc., can be deceiving in these games as well. With a lack of talent across the board, some players can splash just by taking advantage of poor opponents. Sometimes a preseason legend will be born because a guy intercepted a pass and ran it back for a touchdown. Unfortunately, many will miss the fact that the same player gave up six receptions, and two touchdowns, and didn’t notch a tackle.
Luckily for us, the guys over at Pro Football Focus (PFF) dive deep and give us quantifiable data that goes beyond the box score. If you believe a player missed a few tackles, PFF will tell you how many tackles were missed. This is especially helpful for preseason when most fans are having a tough time deciphering who is who on the field.
I scrolled through the PFF stats and grades on the Vikings’ side of the ball for Saturday’s game. Many of the stats confirmed what I saw on television. Others made me second-guess my opinions. Here are five of the more interesting PFF stats that I found when doing my deep dive.
Udoh’s 85.7% Efficiency Rate
Perhaps no one’s bad night was on display as much as right tackle Oli Udoh’s was. The tackle-turned-guard-turned-tackle had a pass-blocking efficiency of 85.7%, giving quarterback Nick Mullens a rough night. Udoh allowed two sacks and committed an additional two penalties, both accepted. Hopefully, starting right tackle Brian O’Neill is healthy and ready to return for the start of the season following a partially torn Achilles injury suffered last season. But if not, Udoh didn’t do much to inspire confidence that he can man the position if needed.
No Long Completions From Hall
Against the Seahawks, Jaren Hall, the Vikings’ fifth-round rookie quarterback, didn’t have much of a chance to succeed behind an offensive line that was porous at best. He did look more comfortable Saturday night, but that didn’t mean that he was able to spread the ball down the field. Hall threw only two passes over 10 yards past the line of scrimmage, completing neither. Between 0-10 yards past the line of scrimmage, he was 1/2 for 23 yards. His other three completions came behind the line of scrimmage, but they did go for 26 yards and Hall did show good patience allowing these screen passes to develop. One would have to imagine Kevin O’Connell will try pushing the ball downfield with Hall next week against the Arizona Cardinals.
Powell’s 14-Yard Average Depth Of Target
One guy who was getting downfield was wideout Brandon Powell. The former Los Angeles Rams punt returner is pushing for a roster spot with the Vikings. Primarily running out of the slot, Powell’s average depth of target (ADOT) was 14.0 yards. Only tight end Ben Sims and fellow receiver Lucky Jackson eclipsed the 10-yard mark. Powell brought in one pass for 11 yards and handled the team’s first two punt returns. Based on training camp practices and the two preseason games, he has a real shot of making the team and contributing in some capacity on offense while also holding down punt return duties.
Cine-‘s Three Defensive Stops
PFF refers to “stops” as tackles that constitute a “failure” for the offense. Safety Lewis Cine, the Vikings’ 2022 first-round pick, had an up-and-down game, getting hurdled on a 33-yard touchdown run by Titans running back Tyjae Spears. But he was able to notch three stops on the night. More impressive is that three of these came on pass plays, including his sack of Titans quarterback Malik Willis in the third quarter inside the five-yard line to help force a field goal. He still isn’t going to crack the starting lineup in Week one, but he looked more comfortable than he did in the team’s first preseason game at Seattle.
Day’s 90.5 Grade
Defensive tackle Sheldon Day, another former Ram, saw 39 snaps on Saturday night, and he made the most of them. He forced a team-high four pressures and got a strip-sack of Willis in the second quarter. Day was placed all over the defensive line, getting one snap over the A-gap, 17 over the B-Gap, 18 over the tackle, and three outside of the tackle. His experience, versatility, and production could get him onto the 53-man roster.