The Dolphins are 1-0 for the first time in five years. That's all well and good, but it doesn't matter anymore. Unless you just won the Super Bowl, you have to move on in a hurry in this league. It doesn't matter if your fresh off a big win, or trying to recover from a disappointing loss, you better turn your attention to your next opponent almost immediately, or your going to find yourself in a world of hurt the next week.
The Dolphins are set to kick off the toughest eight game stretch of the season in the next nine weeks (including the bye), all against playoff, and in some cases Super Bowl, caliber teams. Heading up to Minnestota, to play against a, I won't go as far as to say desperate, but very focused Vikings team after dropping their opener to Saints, is about as difficult as it gets.
No, this game isn't quite as important to the Dolphins as the prime-time games against the Jets and Patriots in Weeks 3 and 4, but it's still a great opportunity to make a statement and pick up a game most projected to be a loss when the schedules were first released.
It's only fitting that we begin previewing the running game. The Vikings and Dolphins boast two of the top rushing attacks in the league, and the Vikings have owned one of best run defenses in recent memory with Kevin and Pat Williams providing a stone wall up the middle.
The Dolphins, on the other hand, were impressive to say the least against the Bills' trio of backs on Sunday, but I think we can all agree that Adrian Peterson is a different breed.
Vikings rushing attack vs. Dolphins run defense
Make no mistake, the Dolphins aren't going to completely stuff Adrian Peterson. They can only hope to contain the beast, and limit big plays. I actually think they will be more successful if they can get to Favre early to disrupt the passing game, and force the Vikings to become one dimensional. Because if Minnesota can keep the Dolphins off balance with a nice combination of the run and pass, Peterson is bound to break off some chunks of yardage.
When the Vikings do pound the rock, though, the Dolphins need to fly to the football and gang tackle. You simply can't rely on one man to bring AP down. We've seen the highlights on ESPN, but this will be the first time the Dolphins have played against AP, as their last match-up with the Vikings was way back in 2006. Based on what we saw from Brett Farve against the Saints, if Mike Nolan can somehow dial up an approach that contains Minnesota's running game, Miami will have that offense right where it wants them.
Dolphins rushing attack vs. Vikings run defense
We saw Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams combine for a productive 127 yards on the ground against the Bills. About what we expected, but surely nothing to be proud of considering it came against a front seven with countless question marks as it transitions to the 3-4 defense. Similar production against the Vikings, though, would be something to get ecstatic about. If there is a model of how to run the 4-3 in this league, it's without a doubt the Minnesota Vikings. Consistently one of the better run defenses in the league, Kevin and Pat Williams make running the ball up the middle no easy task. With two 230 pounders, that's where the Dolphins make a living.
Will they stick to gameplan, or attempt to attack the edges more? Because it will likely be a tall oder to just line up and run it down their throats, I expect to see maybe a little more of the wildcat this week. A little misderection with the threat of Ricky Williams on the perimeter, could open up some lanes for Brown up the middle. Still though, attacking the secondary is where offenses typically have success against the Vikings. More on that when we preview the passing game.