How the New Orleans Saints should stop the Vikings’ play-action game
The Yankee and the Vikings’ use
As mentioned in my article yesterday, the Vikings have had multiple big plays off the Yankee concept this season. The Yankee concept is designed to get a receiver running a post isolated with a corner who has outside leverage.
In order to counter-act this, defenses use what’s known as an inverted replacement. Inverted replacement is when the deep safety comes down to take away an over or deep crossing route and gets replaced by another defender.
This stops the cornerback covering the post from being isolated.
This technique was used by the Packers in their week 16 matchup against the Vikings.
When Cousins releases the ball it seems that Stefon Diggs is isolated, however, he fails to take into account Kevin King, who replaced the safety. This turns what would have been an easy touchdown into an easy interception.
This play, from the Steelers vs Jets in week 16, is nearly identical.
The Saints have even used it before.
Against split-safety coverages the defense doesn’t use the inverted replacement technique, it’s only used when playing cover 1 and cover 3.
The reason it’s not used it that the deep half defender is in a position to take it away and is not needed to take the deep crossing or over route.
All of these examples of the Yankee concept are off play-action. Expect the Vikings to use this concept at least once this weekend. How the defense plays it is usually the difference between a big gain and an interception.