The Redskins are coming off a 24-17 Week Five home loss to the Atlanta Falcons. Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III suffered a concussion when he scrambled out of the pocket and was hit legally by Falcons’ linebacker Sean Witherspoon. Griffin III did not return to the game. He was replaced by fellow rookie quarterback Kirk Cousins. Although Cousins did throw a touchdown pass, he also threw two late interceptions that thwarted Washington’s chance to tie the game.
According to the NFL, Griffin III has satisfied league protocol regarding concussed players. Washington head coach Mike Shanahan maintained that Griffin III has satisfied the head coach’s protocol regarding practice preparation for Sunday’s game. In addition, Griffin III did not suffer any setback in his recovery, according to Shanahan. Therefore, Griffin III is expected to start against Minnesota.
The Vikings are coming off a 30-7 Week Five home victory over the Tennessee Titans. Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder threw two touchdown passes. He also threw his first two interceptions of the 2012 NFL season. Running back Adrian Peterson returns to Fed Ex Field, where his 2011 season ended prematurely due to a torn ACL in his left knee. The Redskins’ defensive unit has to know that Peterson will be running with a vengeance.
Washington’s defense played well in the first half against the Falcons. Redskins’ outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan intercepted a pass by Atlanta quarterback and returned it for a touchdown. Unfortunately, the defense could not hold a slim three point lead late in the game, surrendering ten points in the fourth quarter to lose the game.
The Vikings’ defense allowed a late touchdown to the Titans, when the outcome was long decided. Washington’s offensive line must account for Minnesota’s All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen. Allen has made a career out of terrorizing quarterbacks, so Griffin III has to be cognizant of where Allen is at all times. Vikings’ strong side linebacker Chad Greenway ranks second in the NFL in tackles with 53. He must play a major role in containing Redskins’ running back Alfred Morris, who ranks fourth in the NFL in rushing yards with 491.
Prediction: Washington Redskins’ fans exhaled after learning that Griffin III is on track to start Sunday. However, no one knows if he’ll still feel the effects of the concussion he received against the Falcons. For Minnesota, Ponder will manage the game, and Peterson will continue to run hard. The “X” factor for Minnesota is wide receiver Percy Harvin. He’s an excellent receiver, as well as a dangerous return man who’s a threat to go the distance every time he touches the ball. He will be the difference in a close Minnesota victory.
Final Score: Vikings 28, Redskins 20.