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Redskins-Vikings GameDay Preview

Posted Dec 23, 2011

In the FedExField season finale, the Redskins host the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday, Dec. 24. Kickoff is 1 p.m. ET. The Redskins lost to the Vikings 17-13 at FedExField last year.


WEEK 16:
Vikings (2-12) @ Redskins (5-9)

In the FedExField season finale, the Redskins host the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday, Dec. 24. Kickoff is 1 p.m. ET.

FedExField is a natural grass surface. The stadium seats 85,000.

The Redskins are 2-5 at FedExField this season. They have lost five straight games at home after opening the season with consecutive home wins against the New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals.

The game is the Vikings' final road contest of the season. They are 1-6 in away games this season, with their only win coming in Week 8 at Carolina.

Washington is 5-5 in games in the NFC this season. Minnesota is the only NFC North team the Redskins play this season.

The Vikings are expected to start rookie quarterback Christian Ponder against the Redskins. Since 2006, the Redskins have lost seven consecutive games to rookie quarterbacks, including 2011 top draft pick Cam Newton of Carolina earlier this season.

The Redskins-Vikings game will be televised nationally on FOX. Chris Myers calls the play by play and Tim Ryan provides color commentary.

On radio, the game will be broadcast locally on the Redskins Radio Network. Larry Michael calls the play-by-play with former Redskins and Hall of Famers Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff adding color commentary. Rick 'Doc' Walker reports from the sidelines.


PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS

OFFENSE
Pos. Redskins Vikings
WR 89 Santana Moss 19 Devin Aromashodu
LT 69 Willie Smith 74 Charlie Johnson
LG 79 Maurice Hurt 76 Steve Hutchinson
C 63 Will Montgomery 65 John Sullivan
RG 66 Chris Chester 64 Anthony Herrera
RT 74 Tyler Polumbus 71 Phil Loadholt
TE 82 Logan Paulsen 81 Visanthe Shiancoe
WR 10 Jabar Gaffney 12 Percy Harvin
QB 8 Rex Grossman 7 Christian Ponder
FB 36 Darrel Young 44 Ryan D'Imperio
RB 29 Roy Helu 28 Adrian Peterson
DEFENSE
Pos. Redskins Vikings
DE 94 Adam Carriker 96 Brian Robison
NT/DE 96 Barry Cofield 92 Remi Ayodele
DE/DT 72 Stephen Bowen 93 Kevin Williams
LB/DE 91 Ryan Kerrigan 69 Jared Allen
LB 59 London Fletcher 52 Chad Greenway
LB 56 Perry Riley 56 E.J. Henderson
LB 98 Brian Orakpo 50 Erin Henderson
CB 23 DeAngelo Hall 21 Asher Allen
CB 26 Josh Wilson 23 Cedric Griffin
SS 37 Reed Doughty 33 Jamarca Sanford
FS 20 Oshiomogho Atogwe 41 Mistral Raymond
SPECIAL TEAMS
Pos. Redskins Vikings
P 6 Sav Rocca 4 Chris Kluwe
K 4 Graham Gano 8 Ryan Longwell
H 6 Sav Rocca 4 Chris Kluwe
LS 57 Nick Sundberg 48 Matt Katula
KOR 16 Brandon Banks 12 Percy Harvin
PR 16 Brandon Banks 35 Marcus Sherels

SERIES HISTORY

The Redskins and Vikings meet for the 21st time in the history of the two franchises. The Redskins hold the series lead with a regular-season record of 8-7 and a postseason record of 3-2.

Coming into Saturday's game, the Redskins have won eight of the last 12 meetings against the Vikings, including two playoff wins.

The last time the two clubs met was on Nov. 28, 2010 at FedExField. The Vikings won 17-13 despite losing running back Adrian Peterson in the first half to an ankle injury.

Donovan McNabb led the Redskins' offense to a touchdown drive to open the game, throwing a 10-yard TD pass to Fred Davis. But Peterson scored on a 5-yard touchdown run before his injury and his replacement, rookie Toby Gerhart, added a 5-yard rushing score in the second half.

The last time the two teams played in Minneapolis was Dec. 23, 2007, with the Redskins winning 32-21 at the Metrodome.

Quarterback Todd Collins, replacing injured starter Jason Campbell, had a banner day, completing 22-of-29 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns, a 33-yarder to tight end Chris Cooley and a 32-yarder to wide receiver Santana Moss.

Running back Clinton Portis churned out 76 rushing yards and tossed a 15-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Antwaan Randle El on the halfback option.

Washington and Minnesota last met in the postseason in 1992, when the Redskins won 24-7 in the Wild Card round.

In 1987, the two teams met in the NFC Championship, with the Redskins prevailing 17-10. Darrell Green made a key stop on the game’s last play, knocking away a pass to Vikings wide receiver Anthony Carter to secure the Redskins a berth in Super Bowl XXII.


TALE OF THE TAPE
 

REDSKINS 2011 RANKINGS
Offense Rank Yards/Game
Total Offense 16 329.5
Rushing Offense 29 95.9
Passing Offense 14 233.6
Defense Rank Yards/Game
Total Defense 12 332.7
Rushing Defense 15 112.0
Passing Defense 13 220.7
VIKINGS 2011 RANKINGS
Offense Rank Yards/Game
Total Offense 18 327.5
Rushing Offense 4 142.7
Passing Offense 28 184.8
Defense Rank Yards/Game
Total Defense 24 366.1
Rushing Defense 10 105.6
Passing Defense 30 260.4

FAMILIAR FACES ON THE VIKINGS

Tight ends coach Jimmie Johnson played for the Redskins from 1989-91 and was a contributing member of the 1991 Super Bowl championship team coached by Joe Gibbs.

Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave served as the Redskins' quarterbacks coach in 2005. He coached Mark Brunell, Patrick Ramsey and Jason Campbell that year.

Wide receiver Devin Aromashodu was on the Redskins' practice squad during the 2008 season.

Quarterback Sage Rosenfels played for the Redskins in 2001. He joined the team as a fourth-round draft pick (109th overall) in the 2001 NFL Draft.

Practice squad defensive back Reggie Jones played for the Redskins in 2011 preseason.


REDSKINS-VIKINGS NEWS & NOTES

-- Petitbon Earns Ring of Fame Honor

The Redskins pay tribute to one of their coaching greats on Saturday as they induct long-time defensive coordinator Richie Petitbon into the team's Ring of Fame at FedExField.

Petitbon becomes the 45th member of the Ring of Fame.

"Let me just say that this is a really great honor for me," Petitbon said during a press conference on Dec. 15 at Redskins Park. "I want to think everyone in the Redskins organization, past and present."

Added owner Daniel M. Snyder: "He was just an amazing coach. Looking at the history of the franchise, honoring coaches is as important as honoring great players. It's a well-deserved honor."

Petitbon played for the Redskins from 1971-72, as the four-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro was brought in by then-head coach George Allen to help form the nucleus of the “Over the Hill Gang.”

In 1978, Petitbon was named the Redskins’ defensive coordinator, a position he held through 1992. He emerged as one of the game's top defensive innovators in that span. In 1993, he was named the 21st head coach in Redskins history and he served in that capacity for one season.

Petitbon is one of only three Redskins to have participated in all five of the franchise’s Super Bowl appearances as either a player or coach, joining Torgy Torgeson and Hall of Famer Charley Taylor.

"The reason that you play this game is to win it all, and we had the good fortune to get there five times and win it three times," Petitbon said.

-- Youth Movement Is Underway

Last April, the Redskins set a franchise record for picks in a seven-round draft with 12. As of Week 12 of the season, 10 of the 12 picks had received playing time, the highest total in the NFL.

First-round linebacker Ryan Kerrigan has started every game this season, compiling 67 tackles, 7.5 sacks, one interception and four forced fumbles.

Second-round defensive tackle Jarvis Jenkins' season ended on injured reserve in preseason. Third-round wide receiver was also placed on injured reserve after he caught 13 passes for 163 yards in four games.

Fourth-round running back Roy Helu is the Redskins' breakout player of the second half of the seaso. He rushed for 100+ yards in Weeks 11-13, becoming the first Redskins rookie ever to do so in three consecutive weeks. He also caught a franchise record 14 passes for 105 yards in Week 9.

Fifth-rounders safety DeJon Gomes and wide receiver Niles Paul have seen action in reserve roles this season. Sixth-round running back Evan Royster saw his first significant NFL action the last two weeks, compiling 80 yards on 16 carries.

Seventh-round guard Maurice Hurt has emerged as the starting left guard since Week 8. Fellow seventh rounders cornerback Brandyn Thompson, linebacker Markus White and defensive tackle Chris Neild have seen action as backups.

Along with Jenkins, only sixth-round wide receiver Aldrick Robinson has not seen playing time this season.

-- Gaffney's Coming On

Through 14 games this season, wide receiver Jabar Gaffney has posted 58 catches for a team-leading 842 yards and four touchdowns.

He is also the only receiver, and one of just three players on offense, who has started every game this season.

Gaffney may have had his best game last Sunday in the Redskins' 23-10 win over the New York Giants. He posted six catches for 86 yards, including several clutch third- and fourth-down grabs.

“Jabar has been healthy and he has been a consistent route runner, consistent catching the ball,” quarterback Rex Grossman said. “That’s all you can ask for. He has a lot of talent. He’s a big receiver who knows exactly where to sit in zones. We’re on the same page.”

With 33 more yards and a touchdown, Gaffney will tie his career highs in those categories. With another 158 yards, he can register the first 1,000-yard campaign of his career.

“That would be great -- my first 1,000-yard season comes back with Rex,” Gaffney mused. “We’re on the same page, he looks for me, and that was one of my personal goals when I came here this season. It would be nice if I can finally do it.”

-- Redskins vs. Peterson

On Saturday vs. Minnesota, the Redskins’ run defense will be tested against the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson, one of the game’s elite backs. He leads the Vikings with 932 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.

At 6-1 and 217 pounds, Peterson combines good size with breakaway speed. He can be tough for any one defender to bring down as a result.

Surprisingly, the Redskins have fared well against Peterson in past matchups.

In a December 2007 game in Minnesota, the Redskins’ defense limited Peterson – then a rookie – to just nine carries for 27 yards in a 32-21 win.

Last year at FedExField, Peterson was off to a strong start with six carries for 36 yards and one touchdown before he was sidelined with an ankle injury. The Vikings held on to win that game 17-13.

-- FedExField Goes Green

The Redskins and NRG Energy are bringing renewable energy to FedExField: new solar power installations have been integrated into the stadium and in the parking lots.

The solar power system will provide a portion of the stadium's electricity needs on game days and can generate enough power to serve all of its electrical needs on non-game days.

NRG is installing three different types of solar panels that together will generate two megawatts of electricity. NRG is covering 850 spaces in the Platinum A1 Parking Lot with 8,000 solar panels.

Not only will the solar panels generate power for the stadium, they provide covered parking to protect fans from inclement weather and enhance the tailgating experience on game days.

The installation will include translucent solar panels, sculptures featuring thin film solar technology and 10 electric vehicle charging stations.

-- Traffic Alerts Via Text Messaging

For the 2011 season, the Redskins are providing traffic alerts via text message, giving fans access to regular updates on the best routes to use to get to FedExField on gameday.

The service provides information on gameday bottlenecks to avoid up until kickoff, as well as announcements on any post-game traffic issues that arise to help fans get to and from the stadium for every home game.

Redskins staff monitor traffic on the Beltway, Landover Road, Arena Drive and Central Avenue to provide up-to-the-minute updates. Fans can opt-in to these alerts by completing the signup form at www.redskins.com/trafficalerts.

The Redskins also have updated route guidance to the stadium to give fans alternatives to Beltway exits 15, 16 and 17, including turn-by-turn guidance so fans from Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia can enter the stadium grounds from the west on either Landover Road or Central Avenue. This information and more can be found online at www.redskins.com/parking.

-- How the Redskins' 53-Man Roster Was Built

The Redskins have 18 players on the roster that the team drafted, including this year's first-round draft pick Ryan Kerrigan .

Washington has used free agency to acquire 25 players, including Mike Sellers in 2004, London Fletcher in 2007, DeAngelo Hall in 2008, Rex Grossman in 2010 and Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen in 2011.

Four Redskins players were acquired as undrafted rookie free agents. This group includes cornerback Byron Westbrook, wide receiver Brandon Banks, tight end Logan Paulsen and offensive tackle Willie Smith.

The team has acquired six players via trade: Santana Moss (Jets) in 2005, John Beck (Ravens), Jammal Brown (Saints) and Adam Carriker (Rams) in 2010 and Jabar Gaffney (Broncos) and Tim Hightower (Cardinals) in 2011.

-- London Calling

London Fletcher has been one of the NFL's most consistent and productive defensive players throughout his 14-year career.

That had continued this season, his fifth in the nation's capital. The 5-foot-10, 245-pound Fletcher has earned Pro Bowl berths each of the last two years.

Fletcher enters this Sunday's game with a streak of 177 consecutive starts, second-best among active players behind Tampa Bay cornerback Ronde Barber (197).

Fletcher has played in 222 consecutive games, which is tied with Barber for most in the league.

This year also marks the 14th straight in which Fletcher has recorded at least 100 tackles, dating back to 1999 when he was in his second season with the St. Louis Rams.

-- Shanahan Files

With the Redskins’ Week 15 win over the New York Giants, Mike Shanahan recorded his 165th career win (regular season and postseason) as a head coach.

Shanahan’s career record is 165-122, a .575 winning percentage. That win total is 15th best among all-time NFL head coaches. He surpassed Bill Cowher with the Redskins' Week 2 win over Arizona.

Shanahan has won games against every NFL opponent.

Among active head coaches, Shanahan’s record is second only to New England's Bill Belichick, who has a 188-103 record.

Against the Vikings, Shanahan is 2-3 all-time and 0-1 as Redskins head coach.

-- Redskins’ Strength of Schedule

The Redskins have the NFL’s 29th toughest schedule in 2011, according to the NFL. (Or, in other words, the Redskins have the NFL's fourth easiest schedule.)

The Redskins’ opponents for the 2011 season produced a 121-135 record last year, a .473 winning percentage.

Only the Arizona Cardinals (.441), Baltimore Ravens (.457) and San Francisco 49ers (.465) have easier schedules than the Redskins.

The Redskins play six games against teams who finished .500 or better in 2010. They play five games against 2010 playoff opponents.

In the NFC East, the Dallas Cowboys have the 15th toughest schedule (.504), the Philadelphia Eagles have the 17th toughest schedule (.504) and the New York Giants have the 23rd toughest schedule.

-- Grossman And 300

Rex Grossman's 314-yard passing performance in the Redskins' Week 12 win over the Seattle Seahawks was his fifth career 300-yard passing game.

Four of his five 300-yard games have come in his time with the Redskins.

Grossman passed for 322 yards on Dec. 19, 2010 against the Dallas Cowboys, 336 yards on Jan. 2 against the Giants and 305 yards also against the Giants on Sept. 11 to go along with his 314-yard passing performance vs. Seattle.

-- Maryland Connections

Minnesota has two former Maryland Terrapins on its roster -- and they're brothers, too.

Linebackers E.J. and Erin Henderson are both starters in the Vikings' 4-3 scheme.

E.J. is one of only two former Terrapins to be drafted by the Vikings in the history of the franchise. Erin joined the Vikings as an undrafted rookie.

-- International Redskins

The Redskins have three players on the roster who were born outside the United States.

Safety Oshiomogho Atogwe was born in Windsor, Ontario.

Kicker Graham Gano was born in Arbroath, Scotland.

Punter Sav Rocca was born in Melbourne, Australia.

-- What’s Next?

The Redskins will close out the regular season against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Jan. 1 at Lincoln Financial Field. Kickoff is 1 p.m. ET.

The Redskins lost to the Eagles 20-13 in Week 6 of the regular season. The game was a turning point in the season in some respects. Rex Grossman tossed four interceptions in the game, leading to his benching for John Beck the following week. Grossman ended up re-claiming the job four weeks later after the Redskins struggled under Beck.

The game is the 153rd all-time between the two division rivals. The Redskins hold a 79-67-5 all-time lead in the series.