American Football

Skol Schemes, Week 16: Anatomy of a TD


NFL: New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

How the Vikings found T.J. Hockenson wide open for 6

After the Vikings offense sputtered out on two consecutive drives, our favorite purple people (dressed in all white) scored a touchdown on an 8 play, 84 yard drive that took just 3 minutes and 50 seconds. The drive was capped off by Kirk Cousins finding T.J. Hockenson wide open in the back of the end zone. Kevin O’Connell’s red zone success continued on this great design:

The concept that the Vikings ran played off their usual movement play action boot game. The major component parts of boot are 3 levels of routes and an alert often towards the deep middle of the field. This picture shows a basic boot concept where the intermediate level low cross route is the main target. The goal of many of these plays are to run off the top of the defense, draw in the linebackers with the run fake, and hit a crosser for easy yards:

On the touchdown, T.J. Hockenson sold a low cross route before breaking back out on the Throwback. Throwback is a great counter to boot because it gives the illusion that the offense is running one of their base plays.

The touchdown was also set up via formation. To the top of the screen, Justin Jefferson was doubled. To the bottom of the screen, C.J. Ham was the outer most target. This meant the cornerback would likely relate to him instead of Hockenson. The linebacker was likely responsible for Hockenson but was drawn in by the run action. This makes life extra hard on a linebacker who is flying up to fit the run, used to playing against boot, and not fully prepared for this wrinkle.

All of the moving parts worked together on this one for six points for our Vikings.

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