By Joseph Gunther
The Minnesota Vikings get one more day to prepare than the Washington Redskins for their Week 9 contest at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings are coming off an overtime win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road. The Redskins are coming off a Monday night overtime win over the Dallas Cowboys on the road.
The Redskins enter Week 9 with a 3-5, but have won once on the road. They have faced the Houston Texans, Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals and Cowboys away from Washington, but have only beaten the Cowboys.
Redskins on Offense
The Redskins entered their Monday night contest with the fifth best passing offense and 22nd best rushing offense in the league.
Colt McCoy replaced Kirk Cousins in the Week 7 win over the Tennessee Titans. He got his first start as a member of the Redskins and led them to victory. Cousins replaced Robert Griffin III during the team’s Week 2 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Cousins performed well in their Week 3 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Things then fell apart for Cousins and the Redskins for the next three weeks. The big question now surrounding the Redskins is if McCoy will start if Griffin is healthy on Sunday.
Their lack of consistency at quarterback and large amounts of time playing from behind have not allowed him to get going offensively. The powerful running back is seventh in the league in carries with 115, but 12th in yards with 440. His 3.8 yards per carry rank 35th among running backs in the league. His backup, Roy Helu, is also capable of being a No. 1 back. He has just 25 carries on the season, but has excelled as a receiver with 20 receptions.
Despite their lack of success throwing the ball, the Redskins have weapons at the receiver position. Wide receivers Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts as well as tight ends Niles Paul and Jordan Reed are all capable of breaking a big play every play. Their success depends on the quarterback play, which has been subpar.
Redskins on Defense
The Redskins defense has not given up very many yards, but has given up a lot of points. They rank sixth in the league in passing yards allowed and 11th in rushing yards allowed. Their scoring defense, however, ranks 25th in the league with 26.1 points allowed per game.
Ryan Kerrigan has been the best player on the Redskins defense. He only has 29 total tackles, but two are for a loss, and he has 6.5 sacks, one pass defensed and two forced fumbles.
Linebacker Keenan Robinson leads the team with 58 tackles and three for a loss. He also has an interception and fumble recovery.
The Redskins do not force very many turnovers (three interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
Once again, the Redskins lost outside linebacker/defensive end Brian Orakpo due to injury. He suffered a torn right pectoral muscle against the Tennessee Titans in Week 7. Orakpo is no stranger to the injury report. He suffered left pectoral injuries in both 2011 and 2012. He also been plagued by finger and ankle injuries this season.
After a very difficult schedule to open the season, the Vikings conclude a three-game stretch against not expected to be in playoff contention late in the season on Sunday. The Redskins began the season with one win in six games, but have turned things around with back-to-back wins. Monday’s road win over the rival Cowboys was a very good victory. The Vikings need to play well to avoid losing four of five heading into their bye week.
All statistical information in the article is prior to Monday’s game against the Cowboys.
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.