After three straight wins, the Minnesota Vikings are rolling headed into their matchup with the Washington Redskins on Sunday in Landover.
Minnesota has gone 4-1 (1-0) and is leading the NFC North among the likes of the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions.
Who would've thunk?
Meanwhile, the Redskins (2-3, 0-0 NFC East) are hoping rookie signal-caller Robert Griffin III can play in Week 6 after suffering a concussion in the 24-17 loss against the Atlanta Falcons last week.
Griffin's status will be critical to Washington's chances against a revitalized Vikings squad.
Where: FedEx Field, Landover, MD
When: Sunday, Oct. 14 at 4:25 p.m. ET
Betting Line: Vikings -1.5, via BetOnline.ag
What's At Stake?
While the Redskins are at the bottom of the NFC East, the Vikings are surprisingly atop the NFC North after a 3-13 campaign last season.
The Vikings are going for their first division title since the 2009 season, when Brett Favre was the starting quarterback.
The Redskins haven't made the playoffs since the 2007 campaign and haven't won the NFC East since 1999.
Injury Report (via USA Today)
WR Jerome Simpson - Leg - Questionable
S Harrison Smith - Disciplinary - Questionable
LB Marvin Mitchell - Calf - Questionable
DB Andrew Sendejo - Ankle - Questionable
S Mistral Raymond - Ankle - Questionable
DE D'Aundre Reed - Calf - Questionable
CB Cedric Griffin - Hamstring - Questionable
QB Robert Griffin III - Concussion - Questionable
S Brandon Meriweather - Knee - OUT until at least early November
What They're Saying
It wasn't like Peterson had a poor performance, rushing for 88 yards on 17 carries, but it's worth noting as the star running back goes up against the Redskins on Sunday. Washington is allowing 4.0 yards per carry this season, 14th in the NFL.
The hubbub in D.C. is centered around Robert Griffin III, who is currently listed as "questionable" to play on Sunday versus the Vikings.
Griffin said he "felt fine" in Wednesday's limited practice after sustaining a concussion last week against the Atlanta Falcons, per Chris Russell of ESPN 980, but he still must be cleared by the medical staff to take the field.
It goes without saying that Griffin is a huge player for the Redskins.
Vikings Player to Watch: Christian Ponder, QB
Not only has second-year quarterback Christian Ponder led the Vikings to three straight wins over the San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions and Tennessee Titans, but he also faces a Redskins defense that is allowing 8.2 yards per pass attempt (28th in the NFL) on Sunday.
Ponder faced another poor pass secondary last week against the Titans and responded by going 25-of-35 for 258 yards and two touchdowns (albeit with two interceptions).
Ponder has shown tremendous strides after a rough rookie campaign, and he could very well go off against the Redskins on Sunday.
Redskins Player to Watch: Alfred Morris, RB
If Griffin plays, he belongs in this spot, but with no guarantee at this point, I'll go with rookie running back Alfred Morris, who has been fantastic this season, particularly in the past two games against the Falcons and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Morris has rushed for a combined 228 yards while averaging 5.8 yards per carry against the Falcons and Bucs using an impressive run-blocking unit, complete with receiver Pierre Garcon and tight ends Logan Paulsen and Fred Davis.
The Redskins are averaging 5.1 yards per carry this season, third in the NFL.
Key Matchup: Vikings Passing Attack vs. Redskins Pass Defense
Regardless of whether Griffin starts or not, the Redskins aren't going to win if they can't stop the Vikings offense.
You take away Ponder's games against the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers, and he's played very well. He opened up his sophomore campaign going 20-of-27 for 270 yards against the Jacksonville Jaguars and is coming off a nice performance against the Titans.
Prediction: Vikings 24, Redskins 20
Keep in mind, this is assuming Griffin plays. If he doesn't, the deficit could look even worse for the Redskins.
The Vikings defense has proven itself as one of the top units in the league, allowing 15.8 points per game (sixth in the NFL). The Redskins offense has averaged 28.0 points per game, but the Minnesota defense is so solid against the run and the pass that I think Washington will have trouble moving the pigskin.
This should be a close affair, but I see the rising Vikings ultimately coming away with the "W" on Sunday.
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