The Vikings made a bold move to change their offensive direction last week, and the results were clear.
They’re once again a running-and-defense team, and once again it works.
They beat the Dolphins 41-17, thanks to a new balance to their offense and a defense capable of smothering.
Coach Mike Zimmer fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo last week, as the two clearly weren’t on the same page. The Vikings were running just 33 percent of the time after 13 games, which clearly wasn’t where Zimmer wanted to be. Sunday, they ran it 40 times and Kirk Cousins threw 21 times.
Dalvin Cook had 19 carries for 136 yards and two touchdowns and added another 27 yards receiving, putting him back in the feature role of the offense instead of the $84 million man. Latavius Murray added 68 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries as well as part of the new emphasis.
The win moves the Vikings to 7-6-1, and keeps them in position to claim the final wild card berth in the NFC.
And with the way they played, they have some degree of a chance. The Vikings defense sacked Ryan Tannehill nine times, and limited the Dolphins to 193 yards.
The Dolphins fell to 7-7 and a game behind the final playoff berth in the AFC. Other than a 75-yard touchdown run by Kalen Ballage (who came in the game after Frank Gore left with an ankle injury) and a pick-six by Minkah Fitzpatrick, there wasn’t a lot of pop for the Dolphins.