The most 'explosive' team in the NFL? It's the Vikings

Minnesota's playmakers are coming through.
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Kirk Cousins

After a rocky start to the season, Kirk Cousins is finally letting it fly against opposing defenses.

So far through six games, Cousins is averaging 8.9 yards per pass attempt this season, which is tied for third best in the NFL. Only MVP front runners Patrick Mahomes (9.1) and Russell Wilson (9.0) have averaged more yards per throw.

According to his play log this season, Cousins has completed 12 passes through the air of at least 20 yards, with seven of those passes being completed for 30 yards.

Obviously it helps having star wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs to stretch the field. Thielen is averaging 14.1 yards per reception, with Diggs averaging 18.3 yards.

After voicing his frustrations with the offense and being subjected to trade rumors this month, last week's air raid over the Eagles shows why Diggs was right to be angry.

Diggs ran all over the Eagles and Cousins rewarded him with two throws over 50 yards for touchdowns and Cousins would've had him on a third if he hadn't overthrown.

If Cousins 8.9 yards per attempt holds up, it will be the highest of his career as a starter. Last year's mark of 7.1 yards per attempt being the lowest of his career.

The Vikings' passing offense is starting to open up because of Dalvin Cook's emergence. Cook's 582 rushing yards are the second most (behind only Christian McCaffrey) in the NFC this season.

But his 5.4 yards per carry (minimum 100 carries) are the most in the NFL. Cook has had 14 attempts that have gone for over 10 yards, including eight rushes that have gone for at least 19 yards. 

Both Minnesota's rushing and passing attack ranks first in explosive play rates this season, according to SharpFootballStats.com. Sixteen percent of rushing attempts have resulted in explosive play rates, with 15 percent of passing plays resulting in explosive plays.

An explosive play is defined as a a running play that gains 10-plus yards, and a passing play that gains 15-plus yards.

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Now a lot of those plays have come against weaker defenses (i.e. Philadelphia and New York Giants) but it's encouraging to see the Vikings use their playmakers to their advantage.

What will be more telling is if the Vikings can pull off similar plays against tougher defenses like the Chicago, Los Angeles and Dallas, who are all on the Vikings schedule this season and currently rank in the top 10 among defenses.

Things could get really interesting in the coming weeks against Detroit and Kansas City. Both teams are surrendering at least 400 yards on the defensive side and should result in video game numbers.

Meanwhile, the Vikings defense is still one of the best in the league. So if the offense can keep up this explosive rate, they have potential to be one of the most complementary units in the league down the stretch.

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