Keys to victory
1. Beware of the defensive line » The Vikings have an excellent front four that will present different problems for Washington's offensive line. They don't just rush straight upfield. The Vikings will run games and stunts and slant linemen because of their quickness. But the Redskins' front will have to have an excellent day if they want to have a good game. Minnesota doesn't give up much on the ground, but the Redskins will have to keep them off-balance -- perhaps freeze the ends with fake reverse action.
2. Limit Percy Harvin » The Vikings will use Harvin in many different situations -- in the slot, at running back and at receiver. And he stars at each of them. Harvin is a tough runner -- he broke through two defensive backs at the goal line last week vs. Tennessee. Harvin will get his touches, but the Redskins must limit his yards after the catch. If they don't he'll control the game. Sound tackling and a swarming defense are a must.
3. Keep drives going » The tough part with Minnesota is that it allows only 3.2 yards per carry, which means the Redskins must be creative on early downs to avoid third-and-longs. The Redskins have done a poor job in this area, mainly because they're rarely in third-and-short. Their running game has been feast or famine at times. If it continues to be that way, Robert Griffin III will be put in a tough spot when it comes to passing the ball.
LT Trent Williams
He struggled against Jared Allen in their matchup two years ago, but Williams is much better.
DE Jared Allen
He has a multitude of moves, and he does a good job of keeping tackles guessing.
RG Chris Chester
He's not the only one in the interior responsible for this matchup, but he'll get him a lot.
DT Kevin Williams
He can do more than just get straight upfield. His lateral quickness is excellent.
LB London Fletcher
He'll need help from his front to keep blockers off him. He's missed more tackles lately.
RB Adrian Peterson
Despite a torn ACL in December, he remains dangerous with 420 yards rushing.
State of the teams
Minnesota is playing well under second-year coach Leslie Frazier. Funny how a team can turn things around that quickly under a new coach. Like the Redskins, the Vikings have an excellent defensive front, but they also have an elite pass rusher in Jared Allen. It makes a difference. The Vikings have beaten San Francisco and won twice on the road. They rely on defense and a strong rushing attack.
Washington, once again, finds itself at yet another crucial point in which its season could go either way. If the Redskins win, they won't vault themselves into elite status by any means. But they remain relevant. Another loss? Then the tough questions return about the lack of progress in year three of the Shanahan regime.
At some point the Redskins will snap this home skid, right? Robert Griffin III will rebound from a tough game. It's tough for teams who face him for the first time.
Redskins 23, Vikings 20