Going into the season, the Minnesota Vikings were focused on trying to improve a running game that was far from successful in 2022. After the first game, things aren’t looking great.
In 64 snaps, the Vikings ran the ball only 17 times (26.5%) and did so for a paltry 41 yards (2.4 YPC). That isn’t a great start to fixing the issue.
While things weren’t great, the circumstances behind it were far from ideal. The Athletic’s Alec Lewis pointed out that the Buccaneers were using eight-man boxes frequently.
64.7%, or 11-of-17 runs, were up against eight-man boxes.
The Buccaneers ranked sixth in the NFL last season in using eight-man boxes.
Eight-man boxes make it significantly harder to run the football and it’s something that both Kevin O’Connell and Kirk Cousins should have noticed. Checking out of a running play with an eight-man is commonplace, especially for a duo that has been working together for a couple of years.
The running game will show improvements over the course of time, but it’s not there yet. They don’t have an easy matchup this Thursday against the Philadelphia Eagles and their excellent defensive line.