-This is an important key every week, but is absolutely critical with the Washington Redskins star rookie returning from a concussion. The Redskins need to do whatever it takes to ensure that Robert Griffin III doesn’t take any unnecessary hits. This can be done in multiple ways. First they need to keep the running back in to block on all plays, as the Minnesota Vikings are a team that loves to blitz. Next they need to use their tight ends to at least chip, if not double team Jared Allen, to ensure he is not 1-on-1 versus Trent Williamsall day. Third, the Washington Redskins need to have a game plan where they throw short, quick passes, hopefully before the pass rush can make an impact. Finally, Robert Griffin III has to not take any risks, if there is nothing open and the defense is bearing down, throw the ball away, it is not worth taking an unnecessary hit.
-The Minnesota Vikings are 2nd in rushing defense, based on yards allowed per attempt, and have only allowed one team to run for over 100 yards, but this is where the Washington Redskins need to attack them. The Redskins rushing attack, even with Alfred Morris alone has been the most consistent part of this offense, and for the Redskins to win they need it to show up on Sunday. Relying on Alfred Morris, will also take pressure off of Robert Griffin III, and can help minimize the hits on Robert Griffin. The Redskins should look to carry the ball at least 30 times this game, with Morris getting at least 20 carries.
-The Vikings receiver has done a great job this year being an all-around weapon and has scored via a run, kick return, and reception. The Vikings are going to find ways to get him the ball, and the Washington Redskins need to find a way to contain him. Don’t let him pick up big gains, and hopefully keep him out of the end zone. It’s not easy, especially given the number of big plays this secondary has given up. Harvin could also have an impact like a Danny Amendola did against the Redskins Defense in week two, so DeAngelo Hallwill need to come up big to slow him down.
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-Going into this year the threat from the Vikings would appear to be limited to Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin, but 2nd year quarterback Christian Ponder and tight end Kyle Rudolphhave been a huge part of the Vikings success this year. Ponder has really taken his game to another level, as he has been extremely efficient with the football. He has a 69% completion rating and a 6-2 TD to interception ratio. He’s killing teams with underneath throws as he marches the Vikings down the field. One of his favorite targets for those types of throws is TE Kyle Rudolph. Rudolph has 19 receptions for 169 yards, and has been a favorite red zone target with four touchdowns. Given how much the Redskins Defense has struggled to stop good tight ends this year, this is a match-up that will have a huge impact on the game.
-The Washington Redskins are 2-3 and facing a Vikings team that looks to be among the better teams in the NFC. The Redskins also have the longest home losing streak. This is not the time for the Redskins to be conservative with their approach. They need to get creative and do whatever they can to get the victory. Whether that is trick plays on offense, exotic blitzes on defense, or going for it on 4th down instead of punting/kicking it. Obviously the Redskins need to pick their spots, but if they can catch the Vikings unprepared they could get some game breaking plays. The one caveat is that offensively they can’t afford any trick plays that put Robert Griffin III at risk for any additional hits. Other than that though the playbook should be wide open, as the Washington Redskins try to break their home losing streak.