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Lunchbreak: Balanced Attack Helping Success of Vikings Offense

The Vikings offense currently ranks fifth in the NFL with 375.7 yards per game, a stat that has been boosted by three consecutive 400-plus-yard performances.

But it's not one player who is carrying the team, as multiple players have chipped in at times to help lead Minnesota to a 9-2 record.

Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune took a look at three key stats that tell the underlying story of what has made Minnesota's offense so successful this season.

Kramer noted that during Minnesota's seven-game win streak, the Vikings are averaging 133.9 yards per game on the ground.

Only once in the Vikings' current seven-game winning streak has the offense not eclipsed 100 rushing yards. They're averaging nearly 134 rushing yards per game during this stretch, which is pacing an offense that likes to create off play action. Both [Jerick] McKinnon and Latavius Murray have been productive behind an offensive line that is most improved as run blockers. The Vikings are currently fifth in the NFL in time of possession, holding the ball for more than 32 minutes per game, which helps the entire team. **

A strong run game has, in turn, helped fuel a passing attack that has been led by Case Keenum.

Since the Vikings returned from their bye week, the quarterback ranks second in the NFL at 8.9 yards per attempt.

Only Philip Rivers (9.0) is averaging more yards per throw than Keenum's 8.9 in the past three games, during which he's posted three of the top 10 passer ratings (121.8 at DET, 100.8 vs. LA and 117.0 at WAS) of his six-year career. Keenum aired it out in Washington with deep strikes to Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. But in the last two weeks, receivers and backs have created after the catch with the longest gains being a 65-yard catch and run for a touchdown by Thielen and a 37-yard screen by Diggs. **

Keenum has also done his part to evade sacks and avoid pressure, as his overall sack rate of 5.2 percent is the lowest in the league.

Case Keenum's sack rate when under duress is, by a significant margin, the league's best. The Vikings offensive line is much improved, but Keenum should also get credit for his vision and athleticism to avoid would-be disaster scenarios and keep the next down manageable. Whether it's on Keenum's decisiveness or the protection, they could still do a better job of keeping him clean. Keenum is the NFL's sixth-most pressured quarterback at 39 percent, according to Pro Football Focus.

Minnesota's offensive line has allowed 12 sacks all season, which is tied for the fewest in the league.

Vikings playing for division title, playoff seeding down the stretch

The homestretch is rounding into view for the NFL.

While three teams' playoff hopes have already been dashed, plenty of other franchises, including the Vikings, have plenty at stake over the next few weeks.

The ESPN beat writers for each NFL team took a look at what each squad is playing for over the final five weeks of the season.

Vikings writer Courtney Cronin wrote that Minnesota has its eyes on an NFC North title and potentially a top playoff seed down the line.

Minnesota (9-2) is in contention for the No. 2 seed in the NFC and already has wins over the Rams and Saints, which could play an important role if there ends up being a three-way tie between those teams. The Vikings furthered their grip on the division after beating the Lions on Thanksgiving to give themselves a three-game lead in the NFC North. If they keep winning — they have an upcoming stretch that includes Atlanta, Carolina and Green Bay on the road — they'll lock up ideal positioning for the postseason.

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