War In The Trenches: Breaking Down The Dolphins Vikings Matchup

Danny DolphinAnalyst ISeptember 17, 2010

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12: Miami Dolphins fans watch a play during the NFL season opener against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on September 12, 2010 in Orchard Park, New York. The Dolphins won 15-10. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images




Kickoff: 1:00 PM ET, September 19, 2010 (Metrodome, Minneapolis, MN)


Records: Miami 1-0, Minnesota 0-1

Spread: Minnesota by 6

Last Week: Saints over Vikings (14-9), Dolphins over Bills (15-10)

Dolphins Injuries: Ikaika Alama Francis LB (Probable), Channing Crowder (Out), Jared Odrick (Out)

Vikings Injuries: Percy Harvin (Questionable), Cedric Griffin CB (Questionable), Bryant McKinnie LT (Probable)

Miami Offense against Minnesota Defense: Minnesota has one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL. Defensive-end Jared Allen is the leader and plays with a mean streak. Look for Miami to try to use Allen’s aggressiveness against him with screens and counters to his side of the field. The best way to deal with a force off the edge is attack directly.

The Vikings are going to focus on shutting down Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. If Miami is going to move the football it’s going to have to be from the pass. Chad Henne needs to bring it for them to have a chance at the upset on the road.

Brandon Marshall has a huge advantage on the outside. Look for Miami to take more shots down the field with him. Something tells me last week’s conservative game-plan was a fluke. To counter Minnesota’s speed up front, the Dolphins offense should spread the field and employ a quick passing attack. A “Patriots-like” game-plan would be effective against a banged up Minnesota secondary.

Minnesota Offense against Miami Defense: The Vikings have one of the league’s top backs in Adrian Peterson. If he gets into the open field he is a force that’s very difficult to bring down. The Miami front seven has to contain him or Favre and the offense will have a field day with play action.

Limiting Peterson on first and second down will be pivotal. If the defense can force third and longs, pass rushers like Cameron Wake will have their chance at getting to Favre and making some big plays.

Miami Impact Player: Cameron Wake – To win on the road against one of the NFL’s most talented teams, forcing turnovers is a necessity. Wake has to get to Favre and wreak havoc.

Minnesota Impact Player: Jared Allen – Allen is arguable the NFL’s best defensive lineman. He’s powerful, quick off the snap, and relentless as a pass rusher. He’s also solid against the run and has a habit of blowing up plays for negative yardage. Containing him will be the line’s top priority. This is a great early season test for Jake Long.

Postion Advantage


Running Back

Receiver/Tight End

Offensive Line

Defensive Line



Special Teams


Prediction: For Miami to win, the coaching staff will have to remove Henne’s training wheels and let him stand back there and wing it. The Vikings defensive front is very good against the run and they will force Henne to beat them through the air. If Minnesota dominates in the trenches, as they often do, it’s going to be tough to pull off the road upset.