The Miami Dolphins will play their second game of the 2010 season this Sunday afternoon as they travel to the great white north to take on the Minnesota Vikings. The Fins are looking to start the season 2-0 for the first time since 2002 and will face that challenge in one of the NFL’s most difficult stadiums.
The Vikes are opening up their 50th anniversary season and are 14-2 at home the last two years, including a perfect 8-0 in 2009. Miami will not only face off against future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre in this one, but also former Dolphin Greg Camarillo, who was recently traded to Minnesota in exchange for cornerback Benny Sapp.
To get you all you need to know, the entire gameday crew is here to break it down for you. First, Keith Sims will let you know what the Dolphins offense and defense need to do to be successful; then John Congemi will give you the dangerous guys to watch out for; and Sam Madison will write about containing Favre:
During the week, Dolphins QB Chad Henne stated that the Dolphins need to play like they did in a game from the 2009 season if they are going to beat the Vikings. I agree with him except I think they need to combine game plans and execution from two games from the 2009 season.
What are those games? The Colts monday night matchup and the game vs. the eventual Super Bowl Champion Saints.
During the Colts matchup, the Dolphins controlled the ball for 45 minutes of the game. They were able to put together long clock eating drives. That kept 2009 NFL MVP Peyton Manning on the sidelines for the bulk of the night. The Dolphins had 84 offensive plays to only 35 for the Colts. The Dolphins only punted once.
Against the Saints the Dolphins scored early and often. They even lead 24-3 before a last second touchdown by the Saints to cut the lead to 14.
By scoring TD’s and getting ahead with a solid lead, the Dolphins can take the Viking out of their smash mouth, run the ball, play action style of play.
As for the defense, the Fins have to stop one of the top running backs in the NFL, who runs behind a big psyical offensive line, with a Hall of fame QB under center. So how do you stop the Vikings?
You have to shut down the run. Can Randy Starks be a hole plugging NT? Can Cameron Wake and Koa Misi hold the edge against the run?
The Dolphins can play Paul Soliai at NT to give them more beef in the middle of the line. Mike Nolan can dial up run blitzes to plug all the gaps i the defense and make the Vikings turn to drop back passing. Once you make the Vikings a passing team, then Nolan’s creative blitzing can put pressure on grandpa Favre. Hit him early and often. Make the old man (and i mean that with kindness) want to call it a career and head back to the farm. If you rattle him, Farve will make a big mistake and this week the Dolphins can’t drop any chance at a pick-six.
If the Dolphins offense and Defense follow these game plans, they should have a very enjoyable plane ride home from Minnesota.
First and foremost, the Miami Dolphins must stop Adrian Peterson…period! Everyone always thinks about Brett Farve beating you with the passing game, but if you slow down the big play ability of Peterson, Farve becomes more predictable. His timing didn’t look in sync with his receivers last week against the Saints and so holding Peterson in check (19-87 yds / 4.6 avg in last weeks loss vs Saints) is a big key to the game.
One of the other obstacles in Miami’s way will be home field advantage. As Jesse mentioned, this team has played very well at home the last couple of seasons. In addition, Minnesota will sell out their 129th consecutive home gave on Sunday…Can the Dolphins continue to “Start Fast” and win on the road in Week 2?
The big question is how do you defend and contain Brett Favre? What this defense has to do is first, keep him uncomfortable in the pocket. Make him get rid of the ball. That means the Dolphins defense cannot let him set and pat the football and be able to go from his 1st, to 2nd, and 3rd and 4th reads. He can read all the coverages you can throw at him.
Additionally, the Fins can’t let him scramble around behind the big offensive and buy more time for his WR’s to get open. Keep applying pressure, Coach Nolan, and you can hope to keep the old man contained.
So there you have a look at what our guys think about this one, what about you? What are your keys to the game? Be sure to tune into radio coverage beginning at 11am on gameday. Keith, John, Sam, and I will host the show from 12-1 and will also be back at halftime and on the postgame show. Enjoy the game and remember you can listen in South Florida on 940-AM, BIG 105.9FM, or anywhere else at Dolphins.com!
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.