About the Author
Recent posts by Eric Edholm
Check out this key matchup in Sunday's game between the Vikings and Redskins at FedEx Field in Week 12:
Vikings defense vs. Redskins offense on third downs
Both of these have been areas of weakness. The Redskins are dead last in third-down efficiency, barely converting 25 percent of their chances on third downs, even after an 8-for-16 game on Sunday. And the Vikings have been just about as inept on third downs defensively, ranking 28th. They have allowed opponents to convert 59-of-137 third-down chances (43.1 percent) and were torched by the Packers, who were successful on 8-of-15 on Sunday.
For the Vikings, the pass rush hasn't been consistent, even with a small boost recently. Plus, their nickel corners have struggled. Antoine Winfield has been great, but no teams need to test him with Chris Cook and Asher Allen struggling as badly as they are.
And for Washington, the offense has lacked a first- and second-down rusher who has been able to put the team in better third-down situations. In addition, the passing game lacks diversity in terms of weapons and QB Donovan McNabb's accuracy has vacillated.
The Vikings haven't done a great job against quality tight ends, so it will be up to Chris Cooley to take advantage of the holes in the zone defenses. Of course, new defensive coordinator Fred Pagac is said to be more fond of blitzing and could put the Redskins in more pressure, man-defense looks.