By Joseph Gunther
The Minnesota Vikings play the Washington Redskins in its only Thursday game of the season at Mall of America Field. The Vikings (1-7) are coming off a last-minute road loss to the Dallas Cowboys and the Redskins (3-5) are coming off an overtime home win over the San Diego Chargers.
The Redskins have played four games on the road this season and have won just once. They defeated the Oakland Raiders and lost to the Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos away from FedEx Field.
Redskins on Offense
The Redskins can put up big yardage numbers. They are fifth in the league in total offense with 407.6 yards per game, fifth in the league in rushing yards at 146.3 per game and 12th in passing at 261.4 yards per game.
Robert Griffin III is the focal point of the Redskins offense. He is a dual threat quarterback that can throw the ball and run, and he is starting to find his game after having knee surgery in the offseason.
The Vikings defense has struggled to stop opponents on third down while the Redskins offense has been very good at converting. They rank fifth in the league converting 44.5 percent ofd the time.
Redskins on Defense
The Redskins have struggled on defense, allowing the third-most yards per game with 398.8. They are 28th in passing defense at 282.1 yards allowed per game and 22nd in run defense at 116.6 rushing yards allowed per game.
Washington’s 3-4 base scheme is led by the four linebackers. London Fletcher and Perry Riley play the inside while Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo rush off the edge. The unit excels on third down allowing opponents to convert just 35.4 percent of the time.
Redskins Players to Watch
Tight end Jordan Reed: The 6-foot-3-inch, 225-pound rookie is becoming Griffin’s favorite target. He is now second on the team in receptions (38), receiving yards (425) and receiving touchdowns (tied with two), but most of his production has come in recent games. He posted team-highs in receptions and receiving yards.
Outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan: The 6-foot-4-inch, 160-pound former first round draft pick leads the Redskins in sacks (6.5) and forced fumbles (three). He is a pass rushing specialist that will give the Vikings offensive tackles problems.
The Vikings are getting hit with injuries. They have already been without three starters in the secondary, the team’s top-blocking tight end and a top-four defensive tackle. Then during Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys, starters Phil Loadholt, Xavier Rhodes and Kyle Rudolph suffered injuries. Rudolph has already declared out for a significant time. The status for Loadholt and Rhodes are still to be determined.
After last season, this looked like a matchup of teams trending upward. This, however, has turned into another Thursday night game of teams that will most likely be watching the playoffs from home.
For more Vikings news and updates, visit Vikings Central.
Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. Joseph is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.