How the Vikings Are Embracing Technology to Improve

The Minnesota Vikings are among many teams utilizing cutting-edge technology to improve their performance. Especially in a complex game like football, where 11 players are on the field and each has their direction on a play call, technology can help players become more cognizant of offensive and defensive formations. Additionally, technology aids in conditioning and workouts, to get optimal performance while remaining safe.

The Vikings, specifically, are among the NFL's most forward-thinking teams when it comes to technology. It's a trend one can expect to continue in the NFL, too — especially after the analytics-obsessed Doug Pederson and the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl last year.

A New Facility, A New Approach

The Minnesota Vikings' 2018 training camp takes place at the new, state-of-the-art TCO Performance Center. While the Vikings are not the first team to practice in a facility with ample technology, the facility is the first in the NFL to host multiple rooms devoted to analytics and technology. One big change is ditching the conventional NFL organizational approach of using magnets on a board. Now, Vikings staff is more familiar with a plethora of video boards, which operate as a touchscreen and are intuitive enough to learn quickly.

Although it's hard to measure, it's likely the Vikings have the most technologically-inclined facility in the NFL, especially considering its recent construction. With the arrival of a new facility and a new QB, Kirk Cousins, Vikings fan are certainly excited for the season.

Types of Technology

The Vikings' new facility includes a virtual reality room, an underwater treadmill and an improved weight room.

The underwater treadmill proves very effective for conditioning. The treadmill can move up or down, contingent on how much body weight is underwater. You can also adjust to different inclines, which is suggested based on which position group you play in.

The virtual reality room is also drawing buzz, especially from QB Kirk Cousins. Quarterbacks can watch virtual snaps on virtual reality to better anticipate the pass rush and recognize their receivers. Running backs can use it to study blitz pickups, as Latavius Murray did last year. Although the virtual reality is used less by defenders, cornerback Terence Newman has embraced the technology in preparing against movement at the line of scrimmage.

Analytics' Increasing Ease of Use

Some teams are hesitant to embrace analytics. Part of it has to do with stubbornly clinging to the past while another relates to analytics' accessibility throughout the years. There's so much information available, that it can be difficult to discern which analytics are relevant.

In years prior, GMs like Rick Spielman would use, handwriting certain aspects over the span of days. Today, the Vikings have an analytics database, to detect a variety of stats, like which runners in the league slow down as the season progresses. The Vikings have a four-year database of advanced statistics, the timespan they deem relevant. They chart player projections at each position group, using this information to identify the optimal combination of scouts and coaches.

The team also employs analytics during the drafting process. The Vikings' analytics inform which prospects have a less than five percent chance to make the practice squad. Before analytics' emergence, teams would spend time emphasizing individual reports. Now, though, the comparison and reference points provide the team with more actionable data than ever.

The Minnesota Vikings are combining state-of-the-art technology with an embrace of analytics, resulting in a team that's winning and will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Teams like the Vikings and Eagles are presently the antithesis of losing teams that cling stubbornly to past methods. It's no surprise they keep winning.

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