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Vikings-Redskins matchup of the day: Thursday

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Recent posts by Eric Edholm

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Posted Nov. 25, 2010 @ 1:39 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

Check out this key matchup in Sunday's game between the Vikings and Redskins at FedEx Field in Week 12:

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson vs. Redskins front seven

The Redskins have held only two opponents to fewer than 100 yards rushing this season, and the Eagles (260 yards) and Titans (151) have diced them up pretty well the past two weeks on the ground. Missed tackles have been a problem. Gap responsibility has been another. The Redskins still seem a little hesitant in their new defensive system, learning how to read and react as time goes on.

That can be dangerous for a defense when it has to face Peterson, who makes one cut and runs with power. He is decisive and fierce, not waiting around for holes to open. He makes the holes. And the Vikings know they can't go much longer in giving him a mere 14 carries, three in the second half, like last week. Sure, the game dictated that, but they want to dictate things by controling the line of scrimmage and giving the ball to Peterson.

The inside and outside zone game has given the Redskins some trouble. They struggled to contain the Colts and Lions, who use similar run-game principles. The Redskins have been a bad first-down defense at times, and it has been stopping the run (often out of a nickel grouping) that has been an underrated factor. And they might be without starting LBs Lorenzo Alexander and Rocky McIntosh, a position at which they're not very deep anyway.

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