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After Further Review: Vikings Strike Bucs with 3 Long Pass Plays

After Further Review is a deeper look at plays or stats after Vikings games…

The Vikings posted three pass plays of 40-plus yards on Sunday in a 34-17 win.

The identities of the long gains were as a tone setter, a quick strike and a "might as well" on a free play.

Through just three games, Minnesota has four receptions of 40-plus yards, which is half the total of eight that the Vikings posted in all of 2016.

Here's another look at the three tosses by Case Keenum in his second start with the Vikings:

Q1, 13:45 remaining — First-and-10 at the Minnesota 35

The Vikings opened the game in 12 personnel with running back Dalvin Cook and tight ends Kyle Rudolph and David Morgan. Receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen also were in the game, but Minnesota handed off to Cook for gains of 6 and 4.

Importantly, Cook gained an extra 2 yards after contact on his second carry, earning a fresh set of downs. Instead of facing third-and-2, Minnesota had an opportunity on first-and-10 for a "shot" play.

The Vikings bring in fullback C.J. Ham. Keenum is in the pistol formation, with Cook behind him and Ham to his right. Minnesota sends Rudolph in motion, from left to right prior to the snap.

When Keenum takes the snap, safety Keith Tandy moves toward the middle of the field, allowing Keenum a 1-on-1 opportunity with Thielen against Vernon Hargreaves III. Keenum lofts it beautifully, and Thielen tracks it, meeting the ball in stride despite of an arm-grab by Hargreaves.

Q2, 2:45 remaining — First-and-10 at the Minnesota 23

After Trae Waynes recorded the first of three interceptions of Jameis Winston, the Vikings took the ball at their own 8-yard line with 3:51 left in the first half.

Minnesota is up 14-3 and manages to get a little breathing room with a 4-yard scramble by Keenum and a short pass to Cook for a gain of 11.

Latavius Murray has checked in at running back and is joined by Ham in an offset I-formation. The Vikings again motion Rudolph before the snap. Rudolph goes out on a route and commands attention from safety Chris Conte, who is the next-closest defender to cornerback Ryan Smith.

The Vikings block the Bucs four-man rush, allowing time for Diggs to win inside leverage on Smith with a slight double move and streak to the middle of the field where Keenum hits him in stride.

The long gain, plus having all three timeouts, gave Minnesota the option to run or throw the ball in the final two minutes, and Diggs capped the drive with a 17-yard touchdown catch with 47 seconds left.

Q3, 12:36 remaining — Third-and-3 at the Minnesota 41

This time, the Vikings catch the Bucs trying to change defensive linemen and quick-snap the ball with two extra Tampa Bay defenders (not the Tampa 2 defense) on the field. At worst, the Vikings are going to be awarded a first down via penalty, regardless of what happens, but Keenum also might as well take a shot for a bigger gain on the free play.

He uses a play-action fake to Cook and hits Diggs on a corner route against Smith, who goes to the turf, trying to deny the pass.

Diggs has enough space to avoid the sideline, turns to his left and slips a tackle attempt by Tandy en route to the end zone for the longest play of his three-year career.

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