The Vikings Secondary Faces a Massive Test This Week

Jul 28, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson (7) during training camp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

By now, you’ve probably heard about the fact that the Miami Dolphins will start rookie seventh-round pick, Sylar Thompson, at quarterback against the Minnesota Vikings this weekend. This makes things quite a bit easier on the defense than it would if, say, Tua Tagovailoa or Teddy Bridgewater were the QB for Miami. Regardless of who starts at QB, though, the Vikings secondary faces a massive test in South Florida this weekend.

Thompson certainly didn’t have the greatest game against the New York Jets defense, completing 19-of-33 passes for 166 yards, no touchdowns, and a pair of turnovers. Say what you will about what the Jets have been in the past couple years, that is not who they are in 2022, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

New York ranks among the top 10 defenses in both total yards allowed and passing yards allowed through five weeks. The Vikings, on the other hand, are 24th in total yards and 22nd in passing yards.

The Dolphins also boast one of the fastest, if not the fastest, receiving duos in NFL history with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. The two of them have combined for 62 receptions, 928 yards, and 5 TDs through the first five weeks of the season. Hill has an average of 13.8 yards per reception while Waddle is averaging 16.8 yards, which is the most for any player with more than 35 targets this season.

Even this past Sunday with Thompson at QB, this speed came into play for Miami as they benefited from 95 yards of defensive pass interference between these two players. With the speed these two possess, it is extremely difficult to cover them, and it forces defenders to play sloppy football. The Vikings will have to play clean this weekend in Miami.

Fortunately, the Vikings defense has largely avoided shooting themselves in the foot with penalties this year. Minnesota is tied for the third-fewest penalties called against them in 2022 (23), and these penalties have resulted in the third-fewest yards (165).

The Vikings defense has had just one DPI called against it this season. That penalty came against Patrick Peterson last week against Chicago as he covered Darnell Mooney in the first quarter. The penalty cost Minnesota 20 yards and helped lead to a Chicago field goal.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins have benefited from four DPI calls for 119 yards this season. Both totals are the third-most in the NFL so far this season. This should be a very interesting matchup between a Vikings defense that has, overall, played clean football, and a Dolphins offense that has expertly baited opponents into silly mistakes.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing as well as minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his takes, NFL and otherwise, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken

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