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GAME TIME: 1:00 PM EST on Sunday, Sept 19th. The game will be broadcast regionally on CBS TV, on DirecTV channel 707 and on Sirius radio 147 and 126.

PLACE: Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, MN

WEATHER FORECAST: Partly sunny, with a high near 66. But since the game is in a dome, it doesn't matter.

FIELD CONDITIONS: Mall of America Field has a surface made of Field Turf, which is the modern equivalent of AstroTurf. Field Turf is a decent playing surface and it's in a dome, so the field should be in good shape.

STANDINGS & STATS: After opening weekend, the Dolphins are 1-0 and tied with the Patriots for first place in the AFC East. The Vikings are 0-1 after their loss to the Saints and are tied with the Lions on the bottom of the NFC North.

Dolphins       Pts/Game  Rank   Vikings        Pts/Game  Rank
Scored          15.0      17    Scored           9.0      30
Allowed         10.0       6    Allowed         14.0      12

Dolphins       Yds/Game  Rank   Vikings        Yds/Game  Rank
Total Offense:	 296      19    Total Defense:   308      17
      Rushing:   132       9          vs Rush:    79       8 
      Passing:	 164      22          vs Pass:   229      19

Vikings                         Dolphins
Total Offense:	 253      25    Total Defense:   166       1
      Rushing:    91      19          vs Rush:    50       5
      Passing:   162      23          vs Pass:   116       4

Sacks		Made (Avg/G)	Allowed (Avg/G)
Dolphins          3    3.0         3      3.0
Vikings           1    1.0         1      1.0

Turnover differential:
Dolphins          0
Vikings          -1

Individual Skill Position Stats:
Dolphins                        
QB:   QB Henne:           21-34-182-0-0-75.9
Rush: RB Williams:               18-62-3.4-0
Rush: RB Brown:                  13-65-5.0-1
Rec:  WR Marshall:                8-53-6.6-0
Rec:  WR Bess:                    6-51-8.5-0
Rec:  TE Fasano:                 3-46-15.3-0

Vikings     
QB:   QB Favre            15-27-171-1-1-71.7
Rush: RB Peterson:               19-87-4.6-0
Rush: RB Young:                    2-3-0.7-0
Rec:  TE Shiancoe:               4-76-19.0-1
Rec:  RB Peterson:                3-14-4.7-0
Rec:  RB Young:                   2-11-5.5-0

Legend 
     QBs: completions-attempts-yards-touchdowns-ints-rating
     RBs: rushes-yards-average-touchdowns
     WRs: receptions-yards-average-touchdowns
HISTORY: The Dolphins hold a 5-4 record over the Minnesota Vikings. The last time they played the Vikings in the regular season was in 2006 (Nick Saban's second season), when Miami beat the Vikings 24-20 in Miami. The last time they played in Minnesota was in 2002, when Miami lost 20-17. The Dolphins have never beaten the Vikings in the Metrodome.

INJURIES:
DOLPHINS: LB Channing Crowder (groin) and DE Jared Odrick (fibula) are out for this game. LB Ikaika Alama-Francis (virus) is questionable, but has not practiced all week.

VIKINGS: WR Percy Harvin (hip), CB Chris Cook (knee), CB Cedric Griffin (knee) and DT Jimmy Kennedy (knee) are questionable. QB Brett Favre (ankle), OT Bryant McKinnie (finger), RB Toby Gerhart (knee) and C John Sullivan (calf) are probable.

DOLPHINS STARTERS:

Offense:		     Defense:
QB -  7 Chad Henne           LE  - 70 Kendall Langford
RB - 23 Ronnie Brown         NT  - 94 Randy Starks
FB - 36 Lousaka Polite       RE  - 78 Tony McDaniel
WR - 19 Brandon Marshall     SLB - 59 Ikaika Alama-Francis
WR - 82 Brian Hartline       ILB - 50 Bobby Carpenter
TE - 80 Anthony Fasano       ILB - 58 Karlos Dansby
LT - 77 Jake Long            WLB - 91 Cameron Wake
LG - 68 Richie Incognito     LCB - 21 Vontae Davis
C  - 67 Joe Berger           RCB - 32 Jason Allen
RG - 74 John Jerry           SS  - 37 Yeremiah Bell
RT - 72 Vernon Carey         FS  - 30 Chris Clemons

K -   5 Dan Carpenter        P   -  2 Brandon Fields

PR - 22 Clifton Smith        KR  - 22 Clifton Smith
NOTES: As of Wednesday, it looks like Tony McDaniel will be taking the place of Jared Odrick at right defensive end and Bobby Carpenter will continue to start at the inside linebacker spot in place of Channing Crowder this week.
Vikings STARTERS: 

Offense:                     Defense:
QB -  4 Brett Favre          LDE - 91 Ray Edwards
RB - 28 Adrian Peterson      DT  - 94 Pat Williams
FB - 38 Naufahu Tahi         DT  - 93 Kevin Williams
WR - 12 Percy Harvin         RDE - 69 Jared Allen
WR - 87 Bernard Berrian      SLB - 52 Chad Greenway
TE - 81 Visanthe Shiancoe    MLB - 56 E.J. Henderson
LT - 74 Bryant McKinnie      WLB - 51 Ben Leber
LG - 76 Steve Hutchinson     RCB - 21 Asher Allen
C  - 65 John Sullivan        LCB - 26 Antonie Winfield
RG - 64 Anthony Herrera      SS  - 39 Husain Abdullah
RT - 71 Phil Loadholt        FS  - 20 Madieu Williams

K  -  8 Ryan Longwell        P   -  5 Chris Kluwe

KR - 12 Percy Harvin         PR  - 21 Asher Allen
NOTES: Percy Harvin has not practiced this week, but will almost certainly get some playing time.

KEY MATCHUPS:

  1. Mike Nolan vs Brett Favre: Favre is one of the harder quarterbacks to defend because he's better at improvising than when staying in the pocket. That means that Nolan has to design his pass rushing schemes to keep Favre contained, while keeping all the receivers covered.
  2. Chad Henne vs Himself: Henne didn't make any big mistakes vs the Bills, but did look tentative and sometimes hesitant. He will need to be better at putting the ball down the field while still not making any big mistakes. He's got a strong arm and the Dolphins need him to use it.
  3. Dolphins Interior Offensive line vs Vikings' Defensive Line: The Dolphins' running game was decent, but not dominating against the Bills last week. The Vikings have a much better defense and the Dolphins will need their running game to be effective.
  4. Karlos Dansby vs Adrian Peterson: Peterson is one of the best running backs in the league and the Dolphins need to contain him to keep the Vikings in check.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

There is no controversy - Chad Henne is the Dolphins' starting quarterback. But to lead the Dolphins to a championship, he needs to play with more confidence than he showed against the Bills. Between Brandon Marshall, Devone Bess and Anthony Fasano, he definitely has the the receivers that will allow him to flourish.

Perhaps the group of players most on the spot this week for Miami will be the offensive line. They'll need to play better than they did last week to allow Miami's offense to move the ball against a much tougher Vikings' defense.

On defense, Karlos Dansby had a great debut last week. He'll need to continue to play well for Miami's defense to stop Adrian Peterson. It looks like Tony McDaniel will be starting in place of Jared Odrick, while Jason Allen has finally made a legitimate case to be a starting defensive back.

On special teams, Clifton Smith did not have an auspicious debut, but he had been with the team less than a week.

For the Vikings, Brett Favre had a very shaky start to the season, but remains a dangerous competitor, while Adrian Peterson is one of the best running backs in the league. However, the Vikings are thin at receiver, with their tight end Visanthe Shiancoe being the leader in receptions from their opening weekend.

The Vikings' defense has some good defensive backs, along with a strong defensive line and linebacking corps. Linebackers Chad Greenway and EJ Henderson combined for 21 tackles last week against the Saints while defensive end Jared Allen has had more than 14 sacks each of the last 3 years.

MY ANALYSIS:

Last week, the Dolphins did what they should have done and beat the Bills in the season opener. It was not as dominating a win as it should have been, but it was a win and the Dolphins showed some important improvements in critical areas from last season.

However, the inconsistent performance from last week will not beat a much better Vikings team. The Vikings also looked inconsistent and tentative last week, although they were playing on the road in New Orleans and Brett Favre had only been in training camp for about 3 weeks when they opened the season. Now, Brett Favre has had a long week to rest up and get ready for their home opener. He should be in much better shape and ready to play.

The key to beating a Brett Favre-lead offense is to contain Favre and keep him in the pocket as much as possible. Flushing him from the pocket is actually counter-productive, because he plays better when he's improvising than he does when forced to stand in against the rush. The means the Dolphins must execute a disciplined pass rush to contain Favre. It will be very interesting to see what kind of pass-rushing scheme Mike Nolan comes up with.

Of course, the Dolphins also have to keep Adrian Peterson in check. If the Vikings establish a strong running game, that takes a lot of pressure off their passing game, regardless of who their quarterback is. The key this week may be the play of Tony McDaniel, now that Jared Odrick is out. McDaniel will need to play his best football to maintain the line against the Vikings.

The Dolphins' secondary should be able to cover the Vikings' receivers in this game as Favre's favorite target from last year, Sidney Rice, is on the PUP list.

There is one area on defense where the Dolphins can't afford a repeat of last week's mistakes - interceptions. Last week, Dolphins' defenders dropped two interceptions that could have been returned for scores. The Vikings will not give the Dolphins extra chances if Miami doesn't come up with with those turnovers this week.

When Miami has the ball this week, they will try to establish the same kind of balance on offense that they managed last week, but they'll need to be more successful moving the ball down the field and will need to make some bigger plays against the Vikings. This will actually be tougher for the Dolphins because the Vikings' defense is much better than the Bills'.

The Dolphins should be able to move the ball against the Vikings as long as the offensive line holds up and the Dolphins' receivers don't keep dropping the ball. Henne will also need to take some more chances down the field, but at least he won't have to deal with the changing wind conditions the way he had to deal with them in Buffalo.

Miami's running game will need better blocking against the Vikings than they provided against the Bills if Miami is to move the ball on the ground. With the inexperience of Miami's interior offensive line, this is going to very difficult for the Dolphins to pull off.

On special teams, Miami's Clifton Smith still needs more work with the team before he's fully integrated. Last year, the Vikings' Percy Harvin was a very effective kickoff returner, but is still recovering from his injury and is not back to 100%.

Ultimately, I believe that the game will come down to how well the Dolphins' defense can contain Favre and create turnovers. I think the Dolphins' improved defense will be able to keep Peterson in check. Containing Favre is a more difficult task, but if they can contain Favre and get pressure on him, he will make the mistakes that will give Miami the opportunity to create turnovers.

On offense, I'm concerned that Miami will have trouble establishing the run against Minnesota's defense and will have to resort to more passing than they'd like. As long as Henne doesn't make any mistakes and can deliver the ball down the field, the Dolphins should still be able to move the ball and score.

PLACES TO WATCH:

To watch the game on TV, you may go to one of the sports bars listed on my "Places To Watch" web page.

To listen to the game live over the Internet, you must now pay the NFL for the privelege. They are charging $9.99 (US) per month or $39.99 for the season for something you used to get for free. If you want to sign up for that, go to the following link NFL Field Pass.

Also, here is a list of some websites that have live scores and updates. Both the Official Website and NFL.com have almost live applications that run in your browser and give you current stats and play-by-play information.

Related Info:
     
   
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