Vikings-Dolphins game plan

The Vikings got away from the running game in the fourth quarter in Week 1 and heard about it. Will that continue? Plus, get insight from Miami and the matchups to watch.


This figures to be a more favorable matchup for the Vikings than they had in Week 1 against New Orleans but in no way does that mean it's going to be easy.

The Vikings need Brett Favre to get on the same page with his wide receivers — that was not the case at the Superdome — but that doesn't mean the future Hall of Fame quarterback should come out throwing the ball all over the field.

What the Vikings need to do is make running back Adrian Peterson the focal point of their offense. That, in turn, should open up some passing opportunities for Favre to begin getting sharper.

Peterson was effective in the first half against the Saints last Thursday, carrying 13 times for 57 yards, but then the Vikings fell behind and went away from one of the game's best backs. Peterson, in fact, did not carry the ball in the fourth quarter.

Don't expect to see that happen again as Peterson has made it clear he wants the football and as long as he shows he's capable of holding onto it he should get it.

The Vikings' defense actually played a pretty strong game against the Saints' high-powered offense — losing 14-9 is no embarrassment — and this Dolphins offense isn't as powerful.

Miami likes to run the ball with Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams but the Vikings defense remains very good against the run with tackles Pat and Kevin Williams anchoring the middle.

If Miami is going to attack this defense, it will need a balance of run and pass with Chad Henne likely looking for Brandon Marshall whenever possible. Don't be surprised if Henne goes after safeties Husain Abdullah and Madieu Williams.


The Dolphins moved Brandon Marshall around quite a bit in the season-opening win at Buffalo. Primarily an "X" receiver, Marshall also spent time at the "Z" and in the slot, forcing the Bills to cover him at times in less-than-favorable matchups.

Look for more of the same this week at Minnesota, where the Dolphins hope Chad Henne will be able to find his $50 million target at least as many times as the eight completions they hooked up for Sunday. It would be nice for Miami if Marshall could break a few more tackles and pile up more than 53 yards receiving.


CB Asher Allen, who made his second career start last week against New Orleans, vs. WR Brandon Marshall, who caught a game-high eight passes for 53 yards in his regular-season debut last Sunday against Buffalo — Allen started at the right corner but was moved to the left side when the Vikings went to their nickel package. Antoine Winfield would shift inside and veteran Lito Sheppard would play on the right. It's logical to think the Dolphins would like to get Marshall matched up on Allen whenever possible. And the reason isn't just experience. Marshall is 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, making him a tough assignment for the 5-9, 194-pound Allen. Winfield (5-9, 180 pounds) isn't big but has plenty of veteran savvy. Sheppard (5-10, 194) could have issues with Marshall.

LG Steve Hutchinson and LT Bryant McKinnie vs. RILB Karlos Dansby, who had a sack, three quarterback hurries and eight tackles in his Dolphins debut – Dansby was given a big free-agent contract to leave Arizona and he didn't disappoint in his debut. Coordinator Mike Nolan likely will have him lining up all over the place, meaning he could be providing plenty of pressure on Brett Favre throughout the afternoon. Hutchinson and McKinnie, who both made the NFC Pro Bowl team last season, are going to have to be especially alert for Dansby. McKinnie, who will be playing with a dislocated finger, must become a more consistent player and this game will give him a chance to prove that he is capable of taking that step.

Dolphins' running game against the "Williams Wall" – DT Kevin Williams and running mate Pat Williams have eight combined Pro Bowl selections. Their ability to hold their ground against a revamped interior Dolphins offensive line (LG Richie Incognito, C Joe Berger and RG John Jerry) will go a long way in determining how much fun Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are able to have, in the Wildcat and otherwise.

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