By Joseph Gunther
The Minnesota Vikings have just two games remaining in the 2014 season. They head to Sun Life Stadium to take on the Miami Dolphins in Week 16 as their last road game of the season.READ MORE: 1 Man Dead And Another Injured in St. Anthony Incident
The Vikings (6-8) are coming off a two-point road loss to the Detroit Lions and the Dolphins (7-7) are coming off a blowout road loss to the New England Patriots.
The Dolphins enter the week with a .500 record both overall and at home. They will finish the season with back-to-back home games, where they are 3-3 on the season. They have beaten the Patriots, San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills at home. Miami’s three home losses have come against the Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens.
Dolphins on Offense
The Dolphins are improving on offense with Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. They have the 20th ranked passing offense and 14th ranked rushing offense.
The Dolphins selected Tannehill with the eighth overall pick in the 2012 draft because of his dual-threat ability. He was a raw prospect with just a year-plus of quarterback experience at Texas A&M University. His size and athleticism made him an intriguing prospect and he is beginning to show that promise in his third season as the starter. He is on pace to set career-highs for touchdown passes, completion percentage, rating and fewest interceptions thrown. He’s also on pace to fall less than 40 passing yards short of his career-high. Tannehill has already topped set his career-best with 316 yards.
When Tannehill was drafted, the Dolphins did not have many weapons for him to get the ball to in the passing game. They have since added Mike Wallace through free agency and drafted Jarvis Landry.
Landry has really come on as an impact wide receiver as a rookie. He leads the team in receptions with 71, but has caught the highest percentage of passes thrown his way among all the wide receivers and tight ends on the team. He is a very good route runner that can find holes in the defense.READ MORE: Minnesota Weather: Winter Weather Advisory For Northern MN, Cold Temps To Follow
Wallace was a high profile free agent in the spring of 2012. He’s the team’s deep threat with 13 yard per catch average and leads the team with 804 yards and has been targeted in the passing game more than any other player on the roster.
Dolphins on Defense
The Dolphins have a good defense, especially against the pass. They rank fourth in passing yards allowed, but 22nd in rushing yards allowed.
They are built with the pass game in mind and have good pass rushers and defensive backs. Cameron Wake is the star rushing off the edge; he’s been a force in the league since coming to the NFL from the Canadian Football League in 2009.
The Vikings have not run the ball well this season, but can do get that area on track against an defensive line that does not make a lot of plays behind the line of scrimmage. They have just 34 tackles for a loss, led by Olivier Vernon and Earl Mitchell with five.
The Dolphins are still in contention for a playoff spot – they need help, but it’s possible. They have to beat the Vikings and New York Jets at home and get the right combination of other teams with 9-7 records.
The Vikings have lost three straight games in Miami and have not won there since 1976. The Dolphins lead the all-time series with a 7-4 record.
For more Vikings news and updates, visit Vikings Central.MORE NEWS: First Omicron Case Identified In Wisconsin
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.