The Minnesota Vikings face the Washington Redskins for the sixth time in nine years this season. For the second consecutive season, the game is in Minnesota. The Vikings won last season’s matchup by a touchdown.
2013 Record: 3-13 (fourth in the NFC East)
2013 Offensive Statistics: 20.9 points per game, 396.7 total offensive yards per game, 135.3 rushing yards per game, 234.4 passing yards per game, 34 turnovers
2013 Defensive Statistics: 29.9 points allowed per game, 354.1 total offensive yards allowed per game, 110.6 rushing yards allowed per game, 243.5 passing yards allowed per game, 26 turnovers forced, 36 sacks
Head Coach: Jay Gruden (First season in Washington)
Key Returning Offensive Players: QB Kirk Cousins, WR Pierre Garcon, QB Robert Griffin III, WR Leonard Hankerson, RB Roy Helu Jr., RB Alfred Morris, WR Santana Moss, TE Niles Paul, TE Logan Paulsen, TE Jordan Reed, WR Aldrick Robinson, RB Evan Royster, OT Trent Williams, FB Darrel Young
Key Returning Defensive Players: CB David Amerson, DL Chris Baker, DE Stephen Bowen, DL Kedric Golston, CB DeAngelo Hall, LB Rob Jackson, S Tanard Jackson, LB Brandon Jenkins, LB Ryan Kerrigan, S Brandon Meriweather, CB Chase Minnifield, NT Chris Neild, LB Brian Orakpo, LB Adrian Robinson, LB Keenan Robinson, S Phillip Thomas
Free Agent Additions: S Ryan Clark, S Akeem Davis, DE Clifton Geathers, DT Jason Hatcher, LB Adam Hayward, WR DeSean Jackson, LB Akeem Jordan, OL Shawn Lauvao, QB Colt McCoy, OL Mike McGlynn, CB Tracy Porter, WR Andre Roberts, K Jake Rogers, LB Darryl Sharpton
Draft Picks: Round 2, Pick 47 – Trent Murphy, LB, Stanford; Round 3, Pick 66 – Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia; Round 3, Pick 78 – Spencer Long, G, Nebraska; Round 4, Pick 102 – Bashaud Breeland, CB, Clemson; Round 5, Pick 142 – Ryan Grant, WR, Tulane; Round 6, Pick 186 – Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor; Round 7, Pick 217 – Ted Bolser, TE, Indiana; Round 7, Pick 228 – Zach Hocker, K, Arkansas
Outlook: The Redskins and Vikings have followed similar paths in recent seasons – up one year and down a few others at the same time. That is why they have played so many times in the last 10 years.
The Redskins finished last season with the second worst record in the league, but did not reward off it because of the trade to get Robert Griffin III in the 2012 draft. Griffin was obviously not 100 percent after having knee surgery during the offseason. He struggled and thus the offense struggled. Griffin still needs to improve as a passer and someone other than Pierre Garcon needs to step up and be the No. 2 guy.
The strength of the Redskins defense is on the edge with outside linebackers/defensive ends Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo. They are pass rushing specialists that wreak havoc in the opposing backfield. The rest of the defense is loaded with question marks. The Vikings should be able to put points on the board.
The Redskins may be the most winnable game on the team’s schedule this season. The Redskins could post an improvement in wins, but, on paper, they are still in the bottom third of the NFL.