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Lions-Vikings snap counts: Has Darren Fells passed Eric Ebron on the depth chart?

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The Lions had a drastic shift in the distribution of tight end snaps against the Vikings.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s a look at the snap counts from Sunday’s game between the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions.

Offense:

Quarterbacks

Matthew Stafford: 70 snaps (100%)

Running backs

Ameer Abdullah: 33 (47%)
Zach Zenner: 19 (27%)
Theo Riddick: 18 (26%)

Tight ends

Darren Fells: 51 (73%) — 10 (43%)
Eric Ebron: 31 (44%)
Michael Roberts: 22 (31%) — 10 (43%)

Wide receivers

Marvin Jones Jr.: 64 (91%)
Golden Tate: 52 (74%) — 3 (13%)
TJ Jones: 46 (66%)
Jared Abbrederis: 14 (20%) — 15 (65%)

Offensive tackles

Rick Wagner: 70 (100%) — 3 (13%)
Greg Robinson: 70 (100%) — 3 (13%)
Emmett Cleary: 1 (1%) — 2 (9%)
Brian Mihalik: 0 (0%) — 3 (13%)

Guards/centers

Travis Swanson: 70 (100%) — 3 (13%)
Graham Glasgow: 70 (100%) — 3 (13%)
T.J. Lang: 69 (99%) — 3 (13%)

Observations:

Maybe the most interesting development in this week’s snaps is the increased playtime for Darren Fells. Not only did he play in a season-high 51 snaps, but he essentially eclipsed Eric Ebron on the depth chart, playing 20 more snaps than the former first-round pick. As a result, he pulled in four catches for 40 yards.

Head coach Jim Caldwell downplayed the move on Monday. “Our system is such, where it just kind of depends on the ball game,” Caldwell said, referring to the playing time of both Fells and Ebron.

Also interesting was the decreased role of Theo Riddick this week. Riddick received a season-low 18 snaps for the game, in which he turned five touches into just 12 yards.

Defense:

Defensive end

Ezekiel Ansah: 36 (64%) — 1 (4%)
Anthony Zettel: 30 (54%) — 5 (22%)
Cornelius Washington: 23 (41%) — 2 (9%)
George Johnson: 16 (29%) — 15 (65%)
Jeremiah Valoaga: 8 (14%) — 2 (9%)

Defensive tackle

A’Shawn Robinson: 33 (59%) — 5 (22%)
Akeem Spence: 28 (50%) — 2 (9%)
Haloti Ngata: 27 (48%) — 3 (13%)
Jeremiah Ledbetter: 22 (39%) — 2 (9%)

Linebackers

Tahir Whitehead: 53 (95%) — 5 (22%)
Nick Bellore: 42 (75%) — 12 (52%)
Steve Longa: 12 (21%) — 17 (74%)
Jalen Reeves-Maybin: 3 (5%) — 18 (78%)
Paul Worrilow: 1 (2%) — 1 (4%)

Cornerbacks

Darius Slay: 56 (100%) — 5 (22%)
Quandre Diggs: 32 (57%) — 8 (35%)
DJ Hayden: 32 (57%) — 2 (9%)
Nevin Lawson: 24 (43%) — 8 (35%)
Jamal Agnew: 0 (0%) — 15 (65%)
Teez Tabor: 0 (0%) — 6 (26%)

Safety

Glover Quin: 56 (100%) — 5 (22%)
Miles Killebrew: 44 (79%) — 10 (43%)
Tavon Wilson: 25 (43%) — 8 (35%)
Charles Washington: 13 (23%) — 15 (65%)

Observations:

  • Good news! Ezekiel Ansah played in both the most snaps (36) and the highest percentage of snaps (64.3%) as he has all season. Bad news: He looked just as ineffective as ever.
  • Miles Killebrew set a career-high in percentage of defensive snaps on Sunday (78.6%), essentially taking over the strong safety position from Tavon Wilson, whose role was limited potentially because of an injury.
  • Also interesting at safety was the heavy use of Charles Washington. Washington mostly saw the field as a third-down safety on obvious passing downs.
  • Nevin Lawson took a backseat to DJ Hayden, who saw a season-high 57.1 percent of defensive snaps against the Vikings.