Tale Of The Tape: Washington Redskins At Minnesota Vikings
- QuarterbackThe Redskins have struggled to play consistently this season because Robert Griffin III has not been at his best all season, while he appears to be recovered from the knee surgery he had last year – but still not 100 percent – his non-surgical left knee is sore. As a result, RGIII has not been the flashy leader he was a year ago. He should be able to take advantage of the Vikings’ shaky defense.The Vikings have taken a couple of steps backwards this year and Christian Ponder is not in a position to help them. He has decent athletic ability but he lacks accuracy and does not have a powerful arm. More than the measurables, Ponders seems to lack the requisite confidence because he makes too many mistakes when the game is on the line.
- OffenseThe Redskins have a solid offense because they can run the ball effectively. Alfred Morris is a tough guy who can pound the ball between the tackles and he also has some decent moves once he gets into the second level. Pierre Garcon is the Redskins’ best receiver because he can get open and he has dependable hands. Tight end Jordan Reed is an effective third down and red zone weapon.The Vikings have lost much of their offensive effectiveness this year because Adrian Peterson is not fully healthy. He has been running with a sore hamstring and that’s why he’s not having the same kind of remarkable year that he had in 2012. The Vikings would like to get the ball to Greg Jennings and Jerome Simpson, but they have been frustrated by the team’s ineffective quarterback performance.
- DefenseThe Redskins rank 29th in overall defense and their ineffectiveness in that area is based largely on their lack of overall speed. Inside linebackers Perry Riley and London Fletcher are the team’s two best tacklers, while outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan can turn the corner and pressure the passer and make plays against the run. DeAngelo Hall is a hot-and-cold performer at cornerback.The Vikings appear to have solid talent on the defensive side of the ball, but they rank 30th overall and 27th against the pass. Linebackers Erin Henderson and Chad Greenway are solid athletes and dependable tacklers, but they often make plays too far downfield. Jared Allen has good pass-rushing skills, but he needs to make more plays.
- Special TeamsThe Redskins have a lot of weaknesses on their roster, but their special teams are just putrid. Washington has given their opponents multiple touchdowns on punt returns and they don’t threaten anyone with their return game. Kai Forbath is a weak placekicker, while punter Sav Rocca is ordinary.The Vikings might be able to turn this game in their favor because of their special teams. Rookie Cordarrelle Patterson has explosive speed and has already returned two kickoffs for touchdowns. Blair Walsh is a strong-legged placekicker, but punter Jeff Locke is ordinary.
The Redskins should have the edge in this game because they have a decent offensive team while the Vikings offer very little in that area. If the Vikings are going to cause problems for Washington, they must exploit the Redskins’ special teams weakness. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor