Vikings Snap Counts: Inconsistent O-line sank Cousins, offense

Kirk Cousins‘ performance in his first season with the Minnesota Vikings is already inspiring fierce debate amongst fans and analysts, but his offensive line’s play isn’t.

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Once again, the group struggled mightily to keep their quarterback upright and sustain a consistent running game.

Right guard Mike Remmers was the only member of the O-line to miss fewer than 150 snaps — that’s 2-3 games worth, depending on the week — playing 99.71 percent of the time.

Center Pat Elflein (82.11 percent), left guard Tom Compton (79.64 percent), and left tackle Riley Reiff (75.45 percent) missed time.

Their backups played frequently. The damage: Tackle Rashod Hill (50.33 percent), guard Danny Isidora (20.36 percent) and center Brett Jones (18.17 percent).

One of the group’s few bright spots, rookie right tackle Brian O’Neill (76.12 percent) started 11 games.

Cousins was sacked 40 times this season, tied for 10th in the league, while the Vikings allowed 95 quarterback hits, good enough for 15th.

But while the passing game suffered, the running game was often nonexistent.

The Vikings averaged just 93.3 rushing yards per game, and were particularly ineffective on the left side, logging 20 running plays to that side for negative yards, third in the league.

It’s tough to shift much of the blame onto the running backs.

Dalvin Cook (46.72 percent) and Latavius Murray (43.86 percent) ultimately split the workload, as the former once again battled injuries, starting just 10 games.

Other notes from this season’s snap counts:

— Fullback C.J. Ham (13.23 percent) was the only other runner to log significant playing time. Rookies Mike Boone (3.43 percent) and Roc Thomas (2.76 percent), as well as midseason pickup Ameer Abdullah (0.57 percent) played sparingly.

Adam Thielen (96.19 percent) was the only Vikings pass-catcher to play at least 1,000 snaps.

— Third-year receiver Laquon Treadwell (51.67 percent), who was expected to have an increased role this season, saw his share of the snaps rise just 9.74 percent.

— Veteran Aldrick Robinson (23.98 percent), brought in after Week 2, outpaced several of the Vikings’ younger receivers.

— Training camp/preseason darlings Chad Beebe (4.38 percent) and Brandon Zylstra (1.62 percent) played sparingly.

— Safety Harrison Smith (98.56 percent) led the defense in snaps for the third straight season.

— Defensive end Danielle Hunter (84.41 percent) saw his share of the snaps increase 7.11 percent, and earned his first Pro Bowl nod.

— Cornerback Mackensie Alexander‘s (54.38 percent) playing time jumped 20.52 percent over last season with starters Xavier Rhodes (74.11 percent) and Trae Waynes (66.6 percent) missing significant time.

— Undrafted rookie Holton Hill (36 percent) also got a long look at cornerback.

OFFENSE

PLAYER Plays (1051) %
Cousins 1051 100.00%
Remmers 1048 99.71%
Thielen 1011 96.19%
Rudolph 925 88.01%
Diggs 9 83.16%
Elflein 863 82.11%
Compton 837 79.64%
O’Neill 800 76.12%
Reiff 793 75.45%
Treadwell 543 51.67%
Hill 529 50.33%
Cook 491 46.72%
Murray 461 43.86%
Robinson 252 23.98%
Morgan 231 21.98%
Isidorra 214 20.36%
Jones 191 18.17%
Conklin 146 13.89%
Ham 139 13.23%
Beebe 46 4.38%
Boone 36 3.43%
Thomas 29 2.76%
Coley 19 1.81%
Zylstra 17 1.62%
Smith 9 0.86
Abdullah 6 0.57

DEFENSE

PLAYER Plays (1039) %
Smith 1024 98.56%
Hunter 877 84.41%
Kendricks 875 84.22%
Barr 808 77.77%
Rhodes 770 74.11%
Richardson 718 69.10%
Waynes 692 66.60%
Joseph 669 64.39%
Harris 623 59.96%
Griffen 584 56.21%
Alexander 565 54.38%
Weatherly 523 50.34%
Hill 374 36.00%
T. Johnson 342 32.92%
Wilson 336 32.34%
Sendejo 324 31,18%
Gedeon 309 29.74%
J. Johnson 260 25.02%
Hughes 243 23.39%
Kearse 202 19.44%
Iloka 116 11.60%
Holmes 58 5.58%
Bower 53 5.10%
Parry 50 4.81%
Sherels 29 2.79%
Brothers 5 0.48