Vikings' Week 16 playing time breakdown

December, 23, 2013
12/23/13
10:00
AM ET
An analysis of the snap counts from the Minnesota Vikings' 42-14 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium:

Offense (49 total plays)

Quarterback: Matt Cassel 49.

Offensive line: Charlie Johnson 49, Matt Kalil 49, John Sullivan 49, Phil Loadholt 49, Brandon Fusco 49.

Receivers: Jerome Simpson 41, Greg Jennings 40, Cordarrelle Patterson 32, Jarius Wright 14, Joe Webb 5.

Running backs: Adrian Peterson 26, Joe Banyard 20, Jerome Felton 15, Toby Gerhart 2.

Tight ends: Rhett Ellison 39, Chase Ford 11.

Noteworthy: The Vikings' 49 offensive snaps were their fewest since their loss to Green Bay on Oct. 27, and they held the ball for just 20:28 -- also their worst figure since the first Packers game. They started the game making frequent use of their '20' personnel, with a third receiver replacing a tight end. The move made sense, since the Vikings were without Kyle Rudolph and John Carlson, and it allowed Simpson to push his snap count back to the top of the receivers group. The former Bengals receiver, who got through a scary sideline hit, also gets more playing time because he's the best blocker of the three receivers who play the most. ... Gerhart re-injured his hamstring on the third play of the game, chasing Reggie Nelson after Cassel's fumble. That meant the Vikings had to turn to Banyard (who was signed off the practice squad on Sunday) when they decided to sit Peterson down in the third quarter. Peterson had just four carries after logging seven in the first quarter.

Defense (77 total plays)

Defensive line:Jared Allen 68, Brian Robison 62, Kevin Williams 46, Everson Griffen 41, Sharrif Floyd 40, Fred Evans 30, Letroy Guion 23.

Linebackers: Chad Greenway 77, Erin Henderson 75, Marvin Mitchell 32, Audie Cole 5.

Defensive backs: Marcus Sherels 76, Harrison Smith 60, Jamarca Sanford 51, Chris Cook 50, Andrew Sendejo 42, Robert Blanton 40, Shaun Prater 29.

Noteworthy: Henderson saw his playing time rebound to its highest level since the Vikings' win over Washington on Nov. 7, after Cole got hurt early in the game. That sent Henderson back to middle linebacker after he started the game at weakside linebacker. Cole, who had a walking boot on his right foot after the game, might not be able to play Week 17, which could give Henderson a chance to play another game in the middle. ... The Vikings had talked about wanting to reduce Smith's playing time after he logged 60-plus snaps in his first game back from turf toe, but he still wound up playing more than any of their safeties on Sunday. ... Cook said after the game the Vikings were planning to rotate him with Sherels and Prater on Sunday, since he was coming off a knee injury, but the way he played on Sunday didn't help his cause for staying on the field. He got beat for two touchdowns, and was targeted 10 times, according to Pro Football Focus.

Top special teams contributors (27 total plays): Mitchell 25, Michael Mauti 18, Gerald Hodges 18, Larry Dean 18, Mistral Raymond 18, Smith 14, Banyard 13, Webb 12, Sherels 12, Sanford 11.

Ben Goessling

ESPN Minnesota Vikings reporter

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