Heading into Thursday evening’s contest in opposition to the New England Patriots, Minnesota Vikings operating again Dalvin Prepare dinner has taken considerably of a again seat in Kevin O’Connell’s offense. He’s averaging profession lows in a number of classes, however a few of that’s self-inflicted from his personal sideline. Is it time to unleash one of many NFL’s most dynamic operating backs?
Ten video games into his 2022 NFL season, Dalvin Prepare dinner has 799 yards to his credit score. He’s trending towards the second-most speeding yards of his profession, however that’s primarily as a result of he’s remained wholesome and has an additional recreation to play. His 79.9 yards per recreation are a profession low, and with no career-long 81-yard rush in opposition to the Miami Dolphins, his totals can be much more futile.
Honestly, it’s much less on Prepare dinner than on game-planning up to now. With a 5.1 yards per carry common, Prepare dinner has posted the most effective complete of his profession. Producing a primary down each two occasions he totes the rock is one thing really spectacular in and of itself. Sadly, his 15.6 makes an attempt per recreation are solely increased than 2018, his second season within the league. Though Mike Zimmer opted to slam his again into the again of a lackluster offensive line as a rule, O’Connell has determined to make use of Prepare dinner lower than ever throughout his profession.
Certainly, utilization for Prepare dinner might be by design. In spite of everything, he has by no means performed greater than 14 video games throughout a single common season, and it stays to be seen if he can prime that mark with seven to go this yr. That mentioned, there’s little question his legs ought to be contemporary, and he ought to really feel able to carrying the load when counted upon. That would come Thursday evening when the Vikings might be seeking to keep away from top-of-the-line go rushes in all the league.
Being stout up entrance, New England has achieved a wonderful job controlling the opposition on the bottom. They rank eleventh within the NFL in rush yards allowed and are within the prime ten in the case of speeding makes an attempt. Solely the Tennessee Titans have allowed fewer touchdowns on the bottom than Invoice Belichick’s squad. Nonetheless, if the Vikings hope to maintain strain off their backup left deal with and need Kirk Cousins to remain upright, they’ll want Prepare dinner to be closely concerned.
Some thought Prepare dinner could be utilized extra as a go catcher beneath O’Connell, a expertise he clearly possesses. In that vein, nonetheless, Prepare dinner has averaged a career-low 2.2 receptions per recreation, and his 14.6 yards per recreation via the air is much from a career-best 37.1 in 2019. If Minnesota doesn’t attempt stretching the sector on the bottom, Prepare dinner could assist by catching passes out of the backfield.
Both approach, the celebrity moments from a Professional Bowl again have been few and much between this yr. Realizing that the offense might want to look considerably totally different than it did just a few days in the past in opposition to the Cowboys, discovering methods to get Prepare dinner concerned could present the important thing to victory.
Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that’s centered on all issues Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s energetic on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former school athlete and avid sports activities fan, masking our professional groups with a ardour has all the time appeared like such a pure outlet.