It's no secret that the Vikings offense will look different in 2019 than it did in 2018.
The unit will be guided this year by Offensive Coordinator Kevin Stefanski and with the influence of Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Advisor Gary Kubiak, who both have emphasized the importance of being "multiple" on offense.
What exactly does this mean, and what differences can Vikings fans expect to see during the upcoming season?
The Athletic's Arif Hasan recently took a deep dive into Minnesota’s offense and predicted that the "core concepts" will have a new look in 2019. He wrote:
This year, the Vikings offense is clearly focusing on tight formations with bigger bodies, lining up with either two running backs or two tight ends often. One way to look at this is who they put on the field on first-and-10, the most common down and distance — what teams do here is what you get when you boil down an offense to its essential elements.
According to Hasan, the Vikings were in "11" personnel (one running back, one tight end and three receivers) on first-and-10 situations 61.6 percent of the time in 2018. Conversely, through three preseason games this summer, Minnesota has been in 11 personnel on 13.4 percent of its offensive snaps.
Instead, they've been in "21" and "12" personnel, either putting two running backs and one tight end or two tight ends and one running back on the field, with only two wide receivers. They've been in "21" 38.8 percent of the time and "12" 28.4 percent of the time.
Hasan went on to explain that the Vikings have "tightened formations and eschewed shotgun looks for under-center looks" with quarterback Kirk Cousins.
In 2018, the Vikings were under center on only 40 percent of their snaps and only 49 percent of snaps on first-and-10 …. In the preseason to this point, the Vikings have increased their likelihood of going under center to about 75 percent overall and 70 percent on first-and-10.
To view Hasan's breakdown in its entirety, click here.
Vikings Legends among 'Top 100 NFL players from HBCU programs'
In honor of the NFL's 100th season, Donal Ware wrote a feature for USA TODAY in which he listed the top 100 players from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Ware noted that the programs "have been competing since Dec. 27, 1892, when Johnson C. Smith (then known as Biddle University) defeated Livingston College in Salisbury, North Carolina, 5-0."
Ware pointed to the "storied history" of HBCU schools and many NFL greats who have come from those programs. He ranked his top 100 NFL players out of HBCU schools "based on factors such as being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame or being All-Pro and a Pro Bowler, making a school's Hall of Fame" and additional research.
Four names on Ware's list have Vikings ties, including three who spent the majority or all of their careers in Minnesota: John Gilliam (57), Sammy White (60) and Jake Reed (77). Harold Jackson, ranked 46th on the list, played one game for the Vikings in 1982.
Ware wrote the following of Gilliam, who played for five teams over an 11-season career:
Made the Pro Bowl all four years with the Vikings (1972-75). Named one of the 50 Greatest Vikings. Had the distinction of returning the opening kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown in the Saints inaugural season; 382 receptions for 7,056 yards, 48 TDs.
White spent his entire 10-season NFL career with the Vikings, starting in 1976 when he was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. That season, he totaled 51 catches for 906 yards and 10 touchdowns. Over 128 games played, White totaled 393 catches for 6,400 yards and 50 touchdowns.
Reed made up one-third of the "Three Deep" receiving trio with Cris Carter and Randy Moss and was part of the Vikings historic 15-1 campaign in 1998. Ware pointed out that Reed had four 1,000-yard seasons in Purple.
Vikings 4th preseason game opportunity for young DBs to stand out
Earlier this month, Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer commented that he was looking for young wide receivers and defensive backs alike to separate themselves from the group.
The Vikings are scheduled to face the Bills tomorrow night at 6 p.m. (CT) for each team's fourth and final preseason game, offering Minnesota's young players one more chance to stand out before final roster decisions are made Saturday.
The Pioneer Press' Chris Tomasson evaluated Minnesota’s cornerback depth behind Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and nickel back Mackensie Alexander. Mike Hughes was taken off of PUP earlier this week, and Holton Hill is slated to serve an eight-game suspension. Tomasson wrote:
Competing to make the team are Craig James, Duke Thomas and rookies Kris Boyd and Nate Meadors. James, who got into three games last season for the Vikings, is the only one of the group with regular-season experience.
NFL teams must have the 53-man roster set for the regular season on Saturday. However, the Vikings will continue after that to keep an eye on the waiver wire on cornerbacks who are released.
NFL Kickoff | We Ready
The kickoff for #NFL100 is here and we only have two words - WE READY! Don't miss the season opener Green Bay Packers taking on the Chicago Bears on Thursday, September 9th at 7:20 PM CT