Despite a dramatic improvement for the offense in 2017, most of the biggest moves Rick Spielman made were with that group in mind. Kirk Cousins, John DeFilippo, Kendall Wright, all of them came to Minnesota to bring the Vikings from effective to juggernaut offensively.
The Full Press Vikings staff shares their thoughts for how the Vikings’ new-look offense projects for the 2018 season.
Anthony Talanca: If all players stay healthy, this offense has the chance to be better than the Brett Favre-led offense. With two elite receivers and a young running back that showed promise, the Vikings have the components to be one of the most balanced offenses in the NFL. Cousins’ accuracy is going to make teams respect the pass, opening up tons of holes for both Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray. If all clicks, this should be a top-five NFL offense this upcoming season. What it really all comes down to, however, is how well the offensive line blocks for Cousins
Clayton Brooks: First of all, I expect the Vikings to maintain balance. But they will also be more productive, particularly in the passing game. If the Cousins acquisition pays off early dividends, the passing attack will be top-five. Bank on it. I think the rushing attack should pick up where it left off. I think Murray will carry a heavier load in the early going to protect Cook and let him get back into game form. Overall, this offense should be in the top-seven or eight in total offense. I’ll go out on a limb and predict that this team will be among the top-five in scoring as well.
Sam Smith: Schematically, new offensive coordinator DeFilippo comes from a long line of West Coast specialists. Pat Shurmur is one of those guys, as well, so the offense will not have a dramatically different look from 2017. It should still include a lot of quick drops, timing routes, allowing Cousins to hit his mark and get the ball out. DeFilippo will also likely introduce a heavier no huddle emphasis, as he coached under Doug Pederson and Frank Reich in Philadelphia last season. Pederson is a long-time pupil of Andy Reid, a name synonomous with quick offensive pace. As for Reich, his early-90s Buffalo Bill teams essentially popularized no-huddle, making four-straight Super Bowls with the “K-Gun.”
The Vikings’ personnel is tailor-made for this type of scheme. They have a group of receivers who can move inside and out, run crisp routes and make plays in traffic or in space. They have a running back who proved to be an effective weapon out of the backfield. As such, I believe the Vikings will emphasize the pass just a little bit more in 2018. They were one of the most balanced teams last year, and I believe they will continue that trend. Murray and Cook will get their fair share of carries. But they brought in Cousins and DeFilippo to make their passing attack lethal. With good protection and continued brilliance from the weapons, this should be the year they develop a top-five unit.
– Anthony Talanca writes for Full Press Coverage and covers the Vikings. Follow him @atalanca.
– Clayton Brooks writes for Full Press Coverage and covers the Vikings. Follow him @ClaytonRBrooks2.
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