StaTuesday: Vikings’ rushing average among worst ever in NFL

Jerick McKinnon leads Minnesota in carries, but is averaging just 3.0 yards per rush.
Brace Hemmelgarn/Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

The rushing offense of the Minnesota Vikings this season has been, simply put, abysmal.

The Vikings have topped 100 yards on the ground in just one game this season, and even that one was just barely. Minnesota had 104 yards against the New York Giants and only crossed the 100-yard plateau on the final drive of the game as the Vikings ran out the clock.

And there's good reason Minnesota isn't churning out the yards. As it currently stands, based on their average, the Vikings could run the ball three times in a series and not get a first down.

Yes, Minnesota's rushing average is a putrid 2.8 yards per carry. If you think Adrian Peterson's return might help, well, in theory it should, but it's not like Peterson was doing anything before he got hurt. In fact, he has the worst rushing average of any Vikings running back, including fullback Zach Line.

Player Att Yds Avg
Jerick McKinnon
106
316
3.0
Matt Asiata
90
287
3.2
Adrian Peterson
31
50
1.6
Ronnie Hillman
18
50
2.8
Sam Bradford
11
-3
-0.3
Zach Line
7
15
2.1
Cordarrelle Patterson
5
37
7.4
Stefon Diggs
3
10
3.3
Shaun Hill
2
8
4.0
Adam Thielen
1
11
11.0
Rhett Ellison
1
1
1.0

 

The Vikings' 2.8 average isn't the worst of all time, but it is among the bottom of the barrel, currently ranked as the eighth-lowest rushing average since 1940 and the lowest since 1992. Only 17 teams since 1940 have had a rushing average of under 3.0 yards per carry, and of those just three others have occurred since the NFL-AFL merger.

But if you are looking for hope for Minnesota, it should be noted that all three of those recent teams finished the season with a winning record and two, New England in 1986 and 1994, went to the playoffs.

 

Team 
 Year 
 Record 
 Att 
 Yds 
Avg 
Brooklyn Dodgers
1943
2-8
333
610
1.83
Detroit Lions
1946
1-10
233
472
2.03
Chicago Cardinals
1943
0-10
334
709
2.12
New York Giants
1953
3-9
398
1049
2.64
Philadelphia Eagles
1942
2-9
407
1089
2.68
Detroit Lions
1943
3-6-1
294
817
2.78
New England Patriots
1994
10-6
478
1332
2.79
Minnesota Vikings
2016
6-5
275
782
2.84
Pittsburgh Steelers
1966
5-8-1
375
1092
2.91
Indianapolis Colts
1992
9-7
379
1102
2.91
Washington Redskins
1965
6-8
354
1037
2.93
Washington Redskins
1962
5-7-2
371
1088
2.93
New England Patriots
1986
11-5
469
1373
2.93
Washington Redskins
1961
1-12-1
361
1072
2.97
Philadelphia Eagles
1954
7-4-1
401
1196
2.98
Philadelphia Eagles
1946
6-5
423
1263
2.99
Boston Patriots
1965
4-8-2
373
1117
2.99

 

Statistics courtesy pro-football-reference.com

Dave Heller is the author of the upcoming book Ken Williams: A Slugger in Ruth's Shadow as well as Facing Ted Williams Players From the Golden Age of Baseball Recall the Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived and As Good As It Got: The 1944 St. Louis Browns