Five questions Redskins beat writer Zac Boyer has heading into Washington's Thursday night game against the Minnesota Vikings:
1. How can Robert Griffin III provide the best challenge for the Vikings?
The Redskins' quarterback ran for a season-high 138 yards on 13 carries in the teams' meeting a year ago, including the highlight-reel 76-yard run late in the fourth quarter that helped Washington to a 38-26 victory. Vikings defensive end Jared Allen told reporters Tuesday he'd be ready to hit Griffin often, but as Griffin has shown often this season, he's more likely to throw the ball than he is to run it.
2. Will the defense be able to control Adrian Peterson?
In four games against the Redskins, Peterson has only rushed for 180 yards and two touchdowns — an average of 45 yards per game. He'll easily be the best running back the Redskins have faced this year and should give the run defense, which enters the game ranked 22nd at 116.6 yards a game, a tough task.
3. Is another special teams miscue brewing?
Just when the Redskins thought they had moved past their issues on special teams, which included touchdowns allowed by the punt coverage unit in three consecutive games, they had two field goal attempts blocked Sunday against the San Diego Chargers. The Vikings have one of the league's best return specialists in rookie Cordarelle Patterson, who has two kickoff-return touchdowns, including one for 109 yards, already this season.
4. Which Christian Ponder will show up?
The Vikings' one-time quarterback of the future, whom they drafted with the No. 11 overall selection in 2011, was benched earlier this year after recovering from a broken rib because of inconsistency. He rebounded in some measures Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, completing 25 of 37 passes for 236 yards, a touchdown and an interception in his return.
5. What kind of toll will the turnaround have on the players?
The Redskins were fortunate to have all 53 players healthy enough to complete a full practice on Tuesday, but the Vikings weren't as lucky. They listed 12 players, including eight starters, on their injury report with some kind of ailment. Thursday night games have been sloppy by nature, but the Redskins will already have an advantage with no player suffering from anything major.
© Copyright 2016 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.