Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr has been nominated for Rookie of the Week. He’s one of five rookies nominated for the award but the only defensive player.
Barr scored on a 27-yard fumble recovery during the first play from scrimmage in overtime to give the Vikings the 19-13 victory. He also had eight tackles and a sack on Sunday.
Fans can vote here on the award. Barr is the third Vikings rookie to be nominated for the award. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater won the award during Week 4, while running back Jerick McKinnon was nominated the same week.
Each week, beat guy Matt Vensel will highlight five Vikings stats that really mean something.
25 — pass-rush snaps for outside linebacker Anthony Barr the past two weeks.
If Barr wasn’t in the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year conversation before Sunday, he certainly barged into it by beating the Buccaneers with a 27-yard fumble return touchdown in overtime. I get to watch Barr every day, and I’ve got to say I’m impressed not only by the fact that Barr hasn’t sat out a play since Week 3, but also the many ways the Vikings are using him. According to Pro Football Focus, Barr has dropped into coverage on 226 snaps, defended the run on 218 of them and rushed the passer on 81. Only Broncos star Von Miller has rushed the passer more among 4-3 outside linebackers. With Chad Greenway back in the lineup, Barr has been allowed to blitz more. He has 25 pass-rush snaps the past two weeks after just 18 in three games with Greenway out.
12 — times that wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson was targeted on Sunday.
After four straight games with two receptions apiece, Patterson had his most productive receiving game of the season. Patterson was targeted a team-high 12 times, catching six of those targets for 86 yards. Both were season-highs. And the 12 targets were the most of his career, topping the 11 passes thrown his way in last year’s tie against the Packers. Physically, Patterson looked more explosive than he had in recent games, when he was nagged by a hip injury. But it also helped that he was going up against a zone-heavy defensive scheme that allowed him to sit down in soft spots.
three — NFL teams with three corners in the top 36 in yards per coverage snap.
The Vikings have soared to fourth in the NFL in pass defense, allowing just 212.1 passing yards per game. A lot factored into that, such as the play of the defensive front, but how about the improved play of the cornerbacks? Josh Robinson is allowing just one reception for every 12.4 snaps in coverage, which is 19th among qualifying NFL cornerbacks, according to Pro Football Focus. Captain Munnerlyn and Xavier Rhodes are not far behind at 31st and 36th, respectively. The Packers and, interestingly, the Jaguars are the only other teams with three corners in the top 36.
9.0 — run stop percentage for defensive end Everson Griffen through eight weeks.
With eight sacks in eight games, Griffen is displaying the caliber of pass-rushing prowess that could get him to the Pro Bowl. But as head coach Mike Zimmer has pointed out, Griffen is an all-around defensive end and not just a pass rusher. I’ve got a stat from Pro Football Focus to back that up. Griffen has made 16 defensive stops — not to be confused with tackles — against the run, which ranks third among 4-3 defensive ends. When it comes to run stop percentage, he ranks sixth. No wonder PFF has graded him higher against the run than they have as a pass rusher.
three — touchbacks for punter Jeff Locke during the win over the Buccaneers.
Locke, the second-year punter, had just four career touchbacks entering Sunday’s game. But he booted three punts into the end zone in what might have been his poorest performance of 2014. His touchback percentage ballooned to 9.1 percent, more than double what it was as a rookie. But while the touchbacks are a new thing for Locke, the lost field position is not. Locke has seen 52.3 percent of his punts get returned this season, according to Pro Football Focus. That is the eighth-highest percentage in the NFL. And Locke ranks 25th in the NFL with a net punting average of 38.8 yards.
The start of the NBA season is upon us, and you know what that means: prop bet time!
Yes, the start of any season allows the most desperate of gamblers to wager on normal things like projected win totals to completely speculative things like …
Who will be the first head coach replaced on a full time basis in the 2014-2015 season?
That’s the exact wording from Bovada, a master at timing the release of these prop bets to generate publicity. And we bought it, mostly because of the curious names at the top of their list.
The favorites — the coaches with the shortest odds — to be fired: 1) Kevin McHale of Houston, at 7 to 4; and 2) Flip Saunders of the Wolves, at 2 to 1.
This is strange and comical on a number of levels. First, of course, the two used to work together in Minnesota, and McHale fired Saunders about a decade ago. … Then McHale and Rick Adelman essentially swapped places, with McHale going to coach Houston and Adelman coaching the Wolves. … Then Saunders replaced Adelman in Minnesota.
We can understand McHale being on the list at the top, since there are still major expectations for the James Harden/Dwight Howard-led Rockets, who have yet to win a playoff series under McHale.
But Saunders? Is Bovada aware that Saunders is also a minority owner with the Wolves as well as President of Basketball Operations — meaning there are a lot of layers to get rid of him?
As noted on Twitter, though, it could be pretty lucrative:
@RandBall @BovadaLV Flip could clean up on that bet! Bet on himself, fire himself, and then rehire himself at the end of the year.
— Ben Chapman (@bchapman88) October 27, 2014
Regardless, we’d take Scott Brooks (8 to 1), Randy Wittman (10 to 1) or Dave Joerger (10 to 1) if we were betting. (That’s a former Wolves player, a former Wolves coach and a would-be Wolves coach, if you are scoring at home and still looking for a Timberwolves connection).
(Photo from 2001 preseason Star Tribune photo shoot. We just rediscovered it, and it is magic).