The Minnesota Vikings ramp up for their next challenge against the Washington Redskins this holiday weekend, and there are a few keys to winning this game that, hopefully, the Vikings exercise and execute.
The Washington Redskins are yet another team that are better than their record suggests, and as of late, the Redskins defense has been playing at a very high level, which will be difficult to deal with.
Let's see what other keys there are to winning this contest, shall we?
The Redskins are inevitably not going to make it easy on Minnesota when it comes to moving the ball, but in order to beat this Washington team, ball movement is paramount.
The Vikings will need to do what they haven't done well all year: convert on third down.
The more they can convert, the more they can move the ball and help control the clock against a very stingy Redskins D.
Rex Grossman is a strange quarterback.
You can easily rattle him and force him to make mistake early, but he'll often find a way to overcome the adversity just enough to hurt you.
On the other hand, if Grossman gets going, he can light you up and keep you down the entire game, which is why the Vikings need to simply get at him early and keep him under wraps with their elite pass rush.
If the Vikings can contain Grossman and the Redskins early, they absolutely need to run the ball in an effort to control the game and the clock in their favor.
It sounds like a broken record each week mentioning the ground game, but I have yet to see the Vikings place more emphasis on the ground game than the passing game, which has been hurting them each week.
The short passing game is a new quarterback's best friend, and it just so happens that Christian Ponder is rather good at it.
The Redskins are not very good at covering it, though, which is an aspect of this game the Vikings could exploit for their benefit.
If the Vikings concentrate on going deep early and often against this secondary, they are not going to have very much success.
There could be a few new faces on the field for Washington, especially if RB Roy Helu can't go, and new faces often present turnover opportunities.
Winning the turnover battle creates scoring chances again and again, and often is the game-changer in any NFL contest. The Vikings face a team that has a penchant for turning the ball over—particularly Rex Grossman.
If the Vikings can snag a quick turnover or two early, the pendulum will be swinging heavily in their favor towards a much needed victory.