December 16, 2018 11:51 AM
The Minnesota Vikings (6-6-1) play host to the Miami Dolphins (7-6) in a crucial matchup late in the season. Kickoff is slated for noon.
Heading into the game, the Vikings currently hold the sixth and final spot for playoff position.
Here are three keys to coming out victorious over Miami.
Limit Miami's Big Plays
The Dolphins' team statistics won't blow anyone away, but Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards says the Vikings need to limit Miami's big plays.
"If you look on first and second down, they've got some big passes that they've thrown down the field. They've got some big runs that they've had happen," Edwards said on Thursday.
Miami is only averaging 310 yards a game on offense, which ranks 29th in the NFL, but they are a much better team with Ryan Tannehill as their quarterback.
"He looks like he's making smart decisions, [which] is the biggest thing you see," Edwards said. "They don't have a lot of turnovers and I think that's a credit to his decision-making."
Tannehill has thrown 16 touchdown passes to only six interceptions this season. Between Tannehill and Brock Osweiler, the Dolphins quarterback personnel ranks second in the NFL in 4th quarter quarterback rating at 116.8.
Move The Chains
A big reason the Vikings fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo on Tuesday is their inability to sustain drives in recent weeks.
The Vikings were only 2-for-10 on 3rd down conversions in their loss to Seattle and also came up empty in both 4th-down conversion attempts. For the season, the Vikings rank 22nd in the league with a 37.7 percent 3rd-down conversion rate.
Former quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski took over the role of interim offensive coordinator this week and he'll call the play the plays on Sunday. He has a good relationship with Kirk Cousins and will look to call plays that bring out Cousins' strengths.
"I think like anything you are trying to find that balance of what you do well and what hurts the defense," Stefanski said. "I think we have a good feel for what Cousins is good at and maximize his potential by giving him things that he's comfortable with."
Take Care Of The Football
The Vikings have not suffered from a huge disparity in turnovers this season, but Miami's defense excels in forcing teams into mistakes.
The Dolphins have forced 25 turnovers this season, which is tied for the third-most in the NFL.
"Their defense is similar to ours in a lot of ways," Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said. "They've got two edge rushers that are really good. They mix coverages pretty good."
Updated: December 16, 2018 11:51 AM
Created: December 15, 2018 08:46 PM
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