Snaps Lost: Minnesota Vikings
The “Snaps Lost” series is a detailed look at the playing time void created by players that have left each team this offseason, whether they were traded, cut, left in free agency, or retired.
Because each unit plays a different number of snaps over the course of the year, we have created the “Full Time Equivalent” metric. FTE is the total number of missing snaps divided by the number of plays the team ran on that side of the ball. This is an equivalent measure of how many full time players (100% snap count) the team would need to add on to make up for their offseason losses, even though very few players actually play a full snap count.
For example, if a team had 1,100 snaps on offense and then lost seven players who combined to play 2,200 snaps, their FTE would be 2.0 (2,200/1,100). This ensures that a team who lost a high volume of players only has a high FTE if those players racked up some significant playing time. FTE can only fall between zero (no players left the team) and 11 (fire everyone!) for each side of the ball.
Each team will have a ranking following their FTE, with the first-ranked team in each category (offense, defense, and total) representing the team with the smallest portion of their playing time in need of replacement.
A few caveats before getting into the good stuff:
-Suspensions and injuries that may limit 2015 snap counts are not considered.
-Biggest Losses are purely in terms of snap count, not necessarily in terms of impact.
-All snap counts are Regular Season only.
Overall FTE Lost: 3.28, 2nd
FTE Lost: 2.61, 15th
Biggest Losses: Greg Jennings (899), Charlie Johnson (886), Vladimir Ducasse (417)
Summary – The Vikings cut Jennings just two years into his five-year deal after snagging the wideout from Green Bay, and he’s since moved on to the Dolphins. Their only other notable losses are guards Johnson and Ducasse. Minnesota will hope to upgrade on Johnson (-12.1), and after releasing the 31-year-old guard, he remains unsigned. Ducasse primarily filled in as a backup, grading in the red in all but one of the eight games he played in last season.
Replacement Plan – In trading for Mike Wallace, Minnesota acquired a receiver to take Jennings’s place, though Charles Johnson should figure more prominently in the offense this year. Nearly 80% of Johnson’s 2014 snaps came in the final six games, so expecting him to pick up another 400 snaps isn’t unreasonable. If Brandon Fusco returns healthy he’ll lock down one guard position, but the other is more of a concern. They re-signed the 33-year-old Joe Berger who spent time at right guard a season ago, while both 2014 fifth round pick David Yankey and rookie fourth round pick T.J. Clemmings should get a shot at the job.
FTE Lost: 0.67, 2nd
Biggest Losses: Jasper Brinkley (471), Corey Wooton (275)
Summary – Losing less than the equivalent of one full-time starter, the 2015 Vikings’ defense will be very similar to last year’s version. Brinkley’s loss is a minor one, as he was already fourth among Viking linebackers in terms of snaps. Wootton continued his tour of the NFC North by signing with the Lions after a subpar year (-14.8) in limited time for Minnesota.
Replacement Plan – As the team’s fourth linebacker, Brinkley’s snaps will be easy to cover by a combination of Anthony Barr, Chad Greenway, and Gerald Hodges, each of whom could up their 2014 snap count by at least a couple hundred snaps. They added Eric Kendricks in the second round, too, so they’re probably in a better place at linebacker going into 2015. Wootton’s part-time role could be filled by third-round pick Danielle Hunter, but they have very little else at defensive end behind Everson Griffen and Brian Robison.