The Minnesota Vikings are off to a 4-1 start to the 2022 season. It has been far from perfect but all that matters is that they have found a way to win those four games. Now the Vikings look to go into the bye with one more win against the Dolphins and their third-string quarterback, Skylar Thompson. Here is what they are going to have to do to make sure that happens.
1. Give Patrick Peterson Help Over the Top
One thing that has been clear to this point in the season is that Patrick Peterson has started to show some signs of aging. Probably the biggest issue that has risen from this is problems with fast receivers. Good thing the Dolphins do not have any of those! *chuckles nervously* In all seriousness though, Tyreek Hill is going to be a problem. I know…groundbreaking analysis on my part, but this is going to be especially true with Patrick Peterson matching up against Hill and/or Jaylen Waddle. If I were making the decisions, I would prefer to keep Cameron Dantzler on Tyreek Hill as much as possible but that seems unlikely. Even if Peterson is not lined up across from Hill it would be a good idea to give him help from Cam Bynum over the top to prevent Hill or Waddle from flying past the aging veteran on a go route.
2. Utilize Secondary Weapons on Offense
The first five weeks of the season have shown that if you do not fully commit to trying to stop Justin Jefferson as an opposing defense, you are going to regret it. Coming off of a 154-yard performance against the Bears, it seems unlikely that the Dolphins are going to go down without a fight against Jefferson. Miami has some talented pieces in the secondary with Xavien Howard and Jevon Holland. Howard will likely shadow Jefferson with Holland providing support from the safety position. This will open up opportunities for Adam Thielen, K.J. Osborn, or even one of the tight ends. I am calling my shot here. I think that this is the breakout game for Irv Smith that we have been waiting for all season (100+ yards, 2 TDs). It also seems like a good opportunity for Dalvin Cook to have his first 100-yard performance of the season as the Vikings’ defense looks to force a lot of punts against the rookie Skylar Thompson and the offense looks to wear down the Dolphins’ defense.
3. Continued Growth on Defense
The defense of the Vikings had a disappointing performance last week against the abysmal Bears’ offense (see: Thursday Night “Football”). Coming into this game, the Miami Dolphins have lost their top two quarterbacks to concussions, so seventh-round rookie Skylar Thompson will be getting his first career start. Thompson was not great in relief of Teddy Bridgewater in last week’s 40-17 loss to the New York Jets so the Vikings’ defense should have an opportunity to bounce back. Andrew Booth is going to be returning from his ankle injury suffered in week one against the Packers and Akayleb Evans appears good to go after suffering a concussion last week, so there is reason for optimism. It was to be expected that a defense as young as the Vikings would struggle a bit early in the year but as long as we can continue to see improvement from week to week, I have faith that the defensive side of the ball will eventually become closer to a strength than a weakness.
Prediction: Skylar Thompson does not provide the same spark as Tua Tagovailoa does for the Dolphins’ offense and Dalvin Cook feasts. Vikings 33, Dolphins 19