Vikings Snap Counts: Hercules Mata’afa makes his name heard in Green Bay

Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Hercules Mata’afa was on the field for just eight plays Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field.

But he made his name known.

In the second quarter of the Vikings’ 21-16 loss to the Packers, Mata’afa stopped Green Bay running back Jamaal Williams for a loss of six yards, forcing a punt two plays later. Then on the next drive, Mata’afa jumped on a loose ball after a bad exchange between Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and center Corey Linsley.

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Mata’afa, who played 28 snaps last week (36%) against Atlanta, saw his playing time decrease because of the game situation, not because of a poor performance. Mata’afa is used almost exclusively in the nickel package. Since Green Bay jumped out to a 21-0, the Packers turned to the running game, meaning the Vikings weren’t in that package too often down the stretch.

Mata’afa has been activated in back-to-back weeks over fellow defensive tackle Jalyn Holmes, a fourth-round pick in 2018.

The way Mata’afa is playing, we don’t see that changing any time soon.

Other notes from Thursday’s snap counts:

— Rookie tight end Irv Smith Jr. was on the field for 27 snaps – one more than last week – and caught one of two targets for -1 yards.

— Like Mata’afa, running back Alexander Mattison made the most out of a limited opportunity. He was on the field for eight plays and took four carries for 25 yards.

Adam Thielen had the edge of Stefon Diggs in snap count for the second straight week. Last week, Thielen was on the field for 47 plays and Diggs 32. In Green Bay on Sunday, Thielen played 64 snaps (98%) while Diggs played 58.

 

OFFENSE

PLAYER PLAYS (65) %
Rudolph 65 100%
Reiff 65 100%
Kline 65 100%
Dozier 65 100%
O’Neill 65 100%
Bradbury 65 100%
Cousins 65 100%
Thielen 64 98%
Diggs 58 89%
Cook 47 72%
Smith 27 42%
Ham 25 38%
Beebe 16 25%
Mattison 8 12%
Abdullah 7 11%
Conklin 6 9%
Johnson 2 3%

DEFENSE

PLAYER PLAYS (75) %
Harris 74 99%
Waynes 74 99%
Smith 74 99%
Kendricks 74 99%
Barr 74 99%
Rhodes 74 99%
Griffen 61 91%
Hunter 67 89%
Joseph 57 76%
Stephen 53 71%
Kearse 39 52%
Wilson 36 48%
J. Johnson 19 25%
Weatherly 14 19%
Mata’afa 8 11%
Odenigbo 7 9%
Meadors 5 7%
Boyd 1 1%
Brothers 1 1%
M. Boone 1 1%
Epps 1 1%
Abdullah 1 1%
Ham 1 1%
Beebe 1 1%
Conklin 1 1%