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Minnesota Vikings set record for fewest rushing attempts in game against Buffalo Bills

We knew the Vikings didn’t run much, but sheesh!

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The Minnesota Vikings gave up on the run in Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills. They ran the ball so little, they set an NFL record in the process with just six rushing attempts. That’s only been done twice before in NFL history. It almost wasn’t even that many as you’re about to see.

With starting running back Dalvin Cook sidelined, the Vikings still had Latavius Murray (776 career rushing attempts) and rookie Mike Boone in the backfield, they just chose not to use them much. Each had two carries along with two Kirk Cousins scrambles to tie for the team lead in rushing attempts.

Here are the play-by-play notes:

  • On Minnesota’s second drive, they opened with a rush on 1st and 10 by Murray for 2 yards.
  • The next play, Boone gained no yards on 2nd and 8.
  • Boone gained Minnesota’s first first down of the game, rumblings for 11 yards on 2nd and 7 on the third Vikings possession of the day.
  • With six minutes left in the first half, Murray received his next handoff and lost a yard setting up 2nd and 11.
  • On Minnesota’s first drive of the second half, Cousins fumbled the 2nd and 1 snap and recovered the ball for a 4-yard loss. It was an accidental rushing attempt.
  • The first play of the fourth quarter was a 2-yard Kirk Cousins scramble.

Had it not been for the third quarter fumble, the Vikings would have stood alone with the fewest rushing attempts in NFL history. They had zero called running plays in the second half. They went more than 36 minutes of game time without calling a running play.

The other two games with six rushing attempts are fairly recent, as well. In 2004, the New England Patriots set the NFL record against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was matched two years later by the Arizona Cardinals playing against the Minnesota Vikings. All three teams with six rushing attempts in a game lost, as you might expect.