Minnesota Vikings Could Feature Pass-First Offense in 2022

Vikings Offense
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The Minnesota Vikings come into the 2022 NFL season looking for a fresh start to hopefully end a streak of not reaching the postseason that has spanned over the last two years. After a promising run to the 2019 NFC Divisional Round, Minnesota has yet to return to the playoffs.

As a result, the Vikings cleaned house in the front office and on the coaching staff this off-season, moving on from general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer, replacing them with new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell.

With a new regime in place, Minnesota returns a bulk of the player personnel on the team and hopes new voices leading the team could prove to be a difference-maker in 2022.

Over the last handful of seasons under Zimmer’s instruction, the Vikings have featured a run-first, old-school-style offense although they have also had a talented passing game. Now in O’Connell’s scheme, the look to the offense could shift to become a pass-first unit and be even more explosive in the new year.

Minnesota Vikings Could Feature Pass-First Offense in 2022

Once a Run-First Offense

When Zimmer was leading the team as head coach, he often expressed his desire for the Vikings to be a run-heavy offense led by star running back Dalvin Cook and company. The team ranked atop the NFL rushing statistics annually, and always found production from the ground game.

For example, take a look at last season. The Vikings averaged 4.3 yards per carry on 449 tries, totaling 1,930 yards rushing on the year. Yet, the team only mustered 10 touchdowns on the ground. Minnesota was led by Cook once again, who ran the ball 249 times (fifth in NFL) for 1,159 yards rushing (fifth in NFL). Cook also added six touchdowns too.

The passing game was a group that ranked in the top half of the NFL in production as well, meaning Minnesota still tried to feature a balanced attack on offense for the most part. But it was clear and has been over time that the Vikings wanted to run the ball more than pass it.

In 2022, however, that trend could flip and Minnesota could become more of a pass-heavy offensive group. And the Vikings have the personnel in place to make that work.

Talent to Air Things Out

Minnesota certainly has the star power and talent to become a pass-first offense and a successful one at that with quarterback Kirk Cousins leading the charge. Each skill position has multiple players worth noting, and a ton of Pro Bowl experience. Simply put – this group could turn Minnesota’s pass offense into one of the league’s most feared.

At wide receiver, Minnesota is obviously headlined by star wideouts Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, one of the more talented duos in the league. The Vikings also have the likes of K.J. Osborn, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Jalen Nailor, Olabisi Johnson, and Albert Wilson who will likely fill out the rest of the depth chart at the position and could step up and contribute to the passing attack.

Outside of receiver, the running backs have also shown the ability to catch the football. Adding another aspect to the pass offense backs capable of receiving is vital to a team’s success. Cook, Alexander Mattison, Kene Nwangwu, and fullback C.J. Ham have displayed the ability to do just that. Chances are in 2022, they will be able to do so even more.

At tight end, Minnesota also has some talent at that position as it hopes for big things out of Irv Smith Jr. who returns in 2022 after missing the entirety of last year with an injury. Along with Smith, Ben Ellefson and Johnny Mundt could be two capable pass-catchers in this new-look offense.

The Vikings will have plenty of talent to air things out this season. Once being a run-heavy offensive unit, Minnesota could emerge as a pass-first offensive group in 2022 within O’Connell’s scheme. Considering the talent of this group, the purple and gold should be able to rise to the occasion.

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