Miami Dolphins at Minnesota Vikings

Miami Dolphins
Minnesota Vikings

Both teams look to impose their wills at the line of scrimmage — the Dolphins with their potent running game, the Vikings with their run-stuffing front four. The game will be won or lost when these two units collide. Staring at a brutal schedule through late October, the Vikings and their championship aspirations can’t afford a 0–2 start. After an ugly 14–9 loss to the Saints in Week 1, the Vikings return to the Metrodome, where they went 9–0 last year. Finding an offensive rhythm will be an arduous task against the Dolphins, who lead the NFL in total defense after holding the Bills to 166 yards in last week’s 15–10 win.
Keys for the Vikings
• Brett Favre finding chemistry with his receivers. The Vikings had 253 total offensive yards against the Saints, almost 130 less than last year’s average. Starting wideouts Percy Harvin and Bernard Berrian combined for two catches and 15 yards, and Favre misfired long, wide, short and sideways. Running back Adrian Peterson (19 carries, 87 yards) wants the ball more, so don’t be surprised if the Vikings lean on Peterson until the Dolphins stack the box.
• Containing Brandon Marshall. The Vikings have three healthy cornerbacks and will face the ultimate test in Marshall. Don’t be surprised if the 6-2 Chris Cook, recovering from a torn meniscus, returns in time to help cover the lanky Marshall.
Keys for the Dolphins
• Controlling the tempo with the running game. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, who methodically carved the Bills with 127 rushing yards on 31 touches, face a Vikings defense that has ranked first or second in run defense the last four years. But the running game can relieve the pressure from quarterback Chad Henne, who needs to be more of a game manager in a hostile Metrodome environment.
• Win on third down. The Vikings offense has enough firepower to catch fire eventually, but keeping the offense off the field limits Peterson’s touches and could prompt Favre to force throws late in the game. Despite numerous injuries on defense, the Dolphins have enough personnel to employ coordinator Mike Nolan’s pressure-oriented, multiple-front scheme in an effort to fluster the Vikings.
Bottom Line
The Vikings are too good at home, riding a 10-game winning streak at a place where the Dolphins haven’t played since 2002. The Vikings have had 10 days of preparation, just enough time for Favre to shake off his rust and find the soft spots in Miami’s defense. Vikings 24, Dolphins 17


Week 2
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