EAGAN, Minn. – The Vikings defense got off to a rocky start but righted the ship and put up solid numbers once again in 2018.
The Vikings ranked fourth in total defense, limiting opponents to a total of 4,955 yards throughout the regular season (309.7 per game). They remained stout in some areas, including on third-down situations and in the red zone but fell off in a few areas from their impressive 2017 campaign – most notably in their performance against the run.
Minnesota weathered the partial-season losses of a number of key players, and its depth on defense was demonstrated.
Here's a look at 10 numbers of note on the Vikings defense from 2018:
1 – The Vikings won just a single game when allowing their opponent to rush for more than 100 yards. The Dolphins racked up 156 yards but were limited to just 37 net passing yards in Minnesota's Week 15 defeat of Miami. The Vikings were 7-0-1 when they kept opponents under 100 yards on the ground.
50 – The Vikings totaled 50 sacks during the 2018 season, which tied with the division-rival Bears for third in the NFL. Minnesota topped the league in sack percentage, taking down quarterbacks at a rate of 9.94 per 100 pass plays, improving from 6.67 percent (18th) in 2017, when it had 13 fewer quarterback takedowns.
30.5 – Minnesota allowed its opponents to convert just 30.5 percent of third-down attempts. The Vikings ranked No. 1 in the NFL on third-down percentage for the second consecutive season, following up an impressive 25.3 percent in 2017.
13 – The Vikings fell 13 spots from No. 2 to No. 15 in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game. After limiting its opponents to just 83.6 rushing yards per game last season, Minnesota allowed opponents to average 113.4 yards on the ground.
120 – Linebacker Eric Kendricks totaled 120 tackles (coaches' tally) over 14 games played, leading the Vikings for the fourth consecutive season. Since being drafted by Minnesota in 2015, Kendricks has racked up 487 total tackles (coaches' tally).
14.5 – Defensive end Danielle Hunter, who earned his first career Pro Bowl nod, recorded 14.5 sacks on the season, tying with Denver's Von Miller for fourth in the NFL. Hunter's 40 career sacks rank fifth overall since 2015 when he entered the league.
12 – The Vikings snagged 12 interceptions during the 2018 season, which tied for 18th in the league with Cincinnati, New Orleans, Seattle and Baltimore.
88 – Minnesota racked up 88 tackles for loss this season, which tied with Buffalo for third in the NFL. According to league stats, Hunter accounted for an incredible 21 of those (second-most in the NFL behind Aaron Donald's 25). Harrison Smith was the Vikings next-closest with nine.
3 – The Vikings ranked No. 3 overall in passing yards allowed per game with 196.3, staying quite consistent after last season allowing 192.4 (second overall). Minnesota also ranked No. 3 in red zone percentage; its opponents were successful on just 44.9 percent of their trips inside the 20.
21.3 – The Vikings allowed opponents to average 21.3 points per game against them (ninth overall), dropping from their 2017 campaign when they topped the NFL with 15.8 points per game.