When the Vikings and Redskins square off Monday night, it will be a remade Minnesota squad and a revised Washington crew. Get the series history, rankings, keys to the game and personnel news for the Monday Night Football regular-season opener.
Minnesota Vikings (0-0) at Washington Redskins (0-0)
Monday, 7:00 ET
ESPN, Mike Tirico, Joe Theismann, Tony Kornheiser, Suzy Kolber, Michele Tafoya
18th meeting. Washington leads series, 10-7, and has won eight of the past 10 games but the Vikings have taken two of the past three.
offense 25th (27th rush, 20th pass); defense 21st (19th rush, 22nd pass).
offense 5th (4th rush, 11th pass); defense 6th (7th rush, 6th pass)
KEYS TO THE GAME
The Redskins played poorly during the preseason and don't know if RB Clinton Portis
' separated will be healthy enough by Monday, but they aren't panicking because the defense is good enough to keep them in any game.
Minnesota has new schemes on offense and defense that could need time to gel, but the one thing the Vikings can't afford to wait to get untracked is the running game. They have a strong offensive line in front of new RB Chester Taylor
, who must have success to keep immobile QB Brad Johnson
out of harm's way against an aggressive Washington pass rush.
Minnesota's defense is employing the Tampa-2 scheme designed to limit big pass plays, and the matchup against a Redskins offense led by new coordinator Al Saunders, who came over from Kansas City, should be intriguing.
Brad Childress will be making his head coaching debut. ... Johnson's 65-43 (.602) career record is third-best among active quarterbacks with at least 100 starts.
Coach Joe Gibbs is 8-0 against the Vikings. ... Have won their past four season openers. ... QB Mark Brunell
is fourth among active players with 174 touchdown passes.
CB Fred Smoot (ribs) practiced Thursday and continues to be listed as questionable on the injury report.
RB Mewelde Moore (knee), also listed as questionable, also practiced. Moore is expected to be used on punt returns against Washington.
LT Bryant McKinnie said he doesn't think he will have to wear any padding on his left hand in the opener. McKinnie suffered a fracture in the hand during training camp and had to wear a restrictive club-like device at one point.
WR Troy Williamson expects to be used on kickoff returns Monday night against Washington.
The Vikings brought in free-agent WR Quincy Morgan for a tryout on Tuesday. Because Morgan's base salary for the season would have to be guaranteed if he signed before opening day, it's likely the Vikings would not make a move until next week. Morgan also can return kicks and could slide into that role.
CB Ronyell Whitaker is the likely candidate to be used in the nickel package against the Redskins. He was competing with rookie CB Cedric Griffin for the job. Dovonte Edwards, who had been projected as the nickel back, underwent surgery on his broken arm Thursday and has been placed on injured reserve.
RB Clinton Portis didn't practice on Thursday and remains questionable for Minnesota with the partially dislocated left shoulder he suffered on Aug. 13 at Cincinnati. Portis strongly hinted that he doesn't expect to play. In that case, Ladell Betts will start.
CB Shawn Springs didn't practice on Thursday and remains officially doubtful for Minnesota in the wake of abdominal surgery on Aug. 15. Springs told The Washington Times that he won't play. Kenny Wright will start in place of Springs.
DE Renaldo Wynn returned on Thursday from the sprained right ankle he suffered on Aug. 26 at New England. Wynn will play on Monday barring any negative fallout from practicing on Thursday.
DT Cornelius Griffin took part in a second straight practice after missing two weeks with the sprained right knee he suffered on Aug. 19 against the New York Jets.
DE Phillip Daniels took part in a second straight practice after missing three weeks with the sprained back he suffered on Aug. 15.