In 2009 when the Vikings were running roughshod on the rest of the NFL, Brett Favre had six 300-yard passing games. Back when Brett was a barefoot boy making a name for himself in the early 1990s, if a quarterback threw for 300 yards, it meant he probably lost.
A lot has changed since then. Now, 300 yards typically translates into victory. Peyton Manning and Drew Brees don’t lose often and toss for three-hundie more times than not. But the Vikings haven’t had a 300-yard passer in their last 22 games – even with teams devoting eight to the box and giving the chance for big gains deep downfield in single coverage.
Christian Ponder has two 300-yard games in his career. His high-water mark this season has been 238 yards. To put that in perspective, Matt Cassel has started twice and has topped that mark three times.
Since the magical 2009 season, today will be the 45th regular season game the Vikings have played. In that span, they have three 300-yard passing games, and one of them was from the really-retired Favre.
Do the Vikings need a change at quarterback? We ain’t saying, but the numbers are talking pretty loud in that regard.
VIKINGS-RAVENS BY THE NUMBERS
Baltimore has the 29th-ranked offense in the league (29th rushing, 19th passing) and the 10th-ranked defense (6th rushing, 12th passing).
Minnesota has the 14th-ranked offense (6th rushing, 25th passing) and the 30th-ranked defense (23rd rushing, 30th passing).
The Ravens are averaging 309 yards a game (228 passing, 81 rushing). They are allowing 329 yards a game (229 passing, 100 rushing).
The Vikings are averaging 343 yards a game (210 passing, 133 rushing). They are allowing 408 yards a game (287 passing, 121 rushing).
The Vikings are averaging 4.9 yards per rushing attempt, second in the league and trailing only Washington (5.0).
The Ravens’ 2.9-yard rushing average is the worst in the NFL.
The Vikings are allowing more points per game (30.5) than any team in the league.
The Ravens are tied for 19th in giveaway/takeaway ratio at minus-3 (19 giveaways, 16 takeaways). The Vikings are tied for 27th at minus-9 (24 giveaways, 15 takeaways).
Baltimore is 24th in red zone offense, scoring touchdowns on 19 of 39 possessions (48.7 percent). Minnesota is tied for 26th at 47.4 percent (18 of 38).
Defensively, the Ravens are second in the red zone, allowing touchdowns on 12 of 32 possessions (37.5 percent). The Vikings are 23rd at 59.2 percent (29 of 49).
Only Denver and Jacksonville (both at 50) have allowed more opposing red zone possessions than the Vikings.
Both teams are in the middle of the pack in terms of third-down offense. The Vikings are 15th, having converted 44.1 percent of third-down chances (78 of 177). The Ravens are 17th at 37.6 percent (73 of 194). The league average is 38.2 percent.
Defensively, the two teams couldn’t be much farther apart. Baltimore is fourth, allowing just 32.8 percent of third downs to be converted (58 of 177). Minnesota is 31st at 44.2 percent (76 of 172).
As bad as the Vikings have been on third down, over the last three weeks, no defense has been better in stopping third-down conversions.
The Vikings lead the league in average offensive starting position following kickoffs – the 26.2-yard line. Baltimore is third with an average start of the 23.7-yard line. The league average is the 21.7-yard line.
Joe Flacco has three 300-yard passing games this season. The Vikings have yet to have a 300-yard passing game.
The Vikings have allowed five 300-yard passers. Baltimore has allowed three.
If there are going to be 100-yard receivers in a Vikings or Ravens game, it’s much more likely to be from an opponent. Both teams have just two 100-yard receiving games. The Vikings have two from Jerome Simpson. The Ravens have one 100-yard game each from Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones.
Defensively, the Vikings have allowed nine 100-yard receivers. The Ravens have allowed six.
Adrian Peterson has five 100-yard rushing games. Ray Rice has one.
The Vikings have allowed three 100-yard rushers. Baltimore has allowed just one – Eddie Lacy of the Packers. Lacy also had one of the three 100-yard games allowed by the Vikings.
The Vikings don’t have a quarterback that has taken enough snaps to have a representative league ranking score. Flacco, however, does and he could be a good reason to explain why Baltimore is 6-6. He’s 10th in attempts (438), 12th in completions (262), 25th in completion percentage (59.8), 14th in yards (2,993), 27th in average per attempt (6.83 yards), 16th in touchdowns (15), 29th in touchdown percentage (3.4), 30th in interceptions (14), and 28th in passer rating (78.5).
Thanks to his heavy workload the last two weeks, Peterson leads the NFL in rushing with 1,208 yards. He has a 120-yard lead over LeSean McCoy and, heading into Sunday, the only other 1,000-yard rusher in the league in Jamaal Charles (1,011). Rice is 31st with 482 yards.
Smith leads the Ravens with 54 receptions, tying him for 36th place in the NFL. Greg Jennings leads the Vikings with 43 receptions, tying him for 55th place with, among others, Baltimore’s Rice.
Smith is 15th in receiving yards with 952. Simpson leads the Vikings with 622, tying him for 43rd place with Dallas TE Jason Witten.
Simpson is one of only players in the NFL’s top -50 receiving yardage leaders without a touchdown reception. The other is Hakeem Nicks of the Giants.
Peterson is tied for third in the league in scoring among non-kickers with 66 points (11 touchdowns). Rookie wide receiver Marlon Brown leads the Ravens with 32 points (five touchdowns and a 2-point conversion).
Ravens kicker Justin Tucker is third in the league in scoring with 109 points. Blair Walsh is tied for eighth with 97 points.
Peterson is fourth in yards from scrimmage with 1,373 (1,208 rushing, 165 receiving). Smith leads the Ravens with 952 (all receiving).
Punter Jeff Locke of the Vikings is 19th in punting average at 44.9 yards. Baltimore’s Sam Koch is 24th at 44.5 yards.
Locke is 21st in net average at 39.7 yards. Koch is 28th at 37.4 yards.
Baltimore’s Tandon Doss leads the league in punt return average at 15.6 yards. Marcus Sherels is third at 13.1 yards.
Doss has had the opportunity to return 28 punts. He has returned 21 of them (seven fair catches). Sherels has had the chance to return 38 punts and has brought back 16 (22 fair catches).
Injured Raven Elvis Dumervil has 9.5 sacks, tying him for eighth in the league. Jared Allen leads the Vikings with six sacks, tying him for 36th place.
Allen has at least 10 sacks in his last six seasons. He will need four more in the final four games to continue that streak.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.