Minnesota Vikings vs. Washington: Madden Prediction

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /

The slumping Minnesota Vikings and middling Washington face off on Sunday. In a game that is frankly hard to predict, it is time to turn to Madden 17 for another spot-on prediction.

The Minnesota Vikings lost three games in a row while Washington is coming off a win, loss, tie and bye week. The extra week of preparation didn’t pay off in this one, however, as the Vikings won the Madden showdown 30-16.

Blair Walsh’s kicking struggles have grappled control of the focus of fans, media and even coaches throughout the week. Walsh kicked that narrative to the curb with three field goals and three extra points straight down the middle. Two of the kicks were over 50 yards and both of them came during close moments of the game.

Washington went into the half up 16-10. Their only touchdown was a fake field goal sweep which came after three of their drives ended in frustrating field goals.

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Sam Bradford and company scored on a 62-yard screen pass to Jerick McKinnon. Laquon Treadwell made his way off the injury report and provided a key block on Josh Norman down the field. Remarkably, the Vikings had zero three and outs in the first half, but two drives stalled at mid-field.

Josh Norman elected not to travel with Stefon Diggs, perhaps not viewing him as a game-changing wide receiver. As a result, Diggs burned Bashaud Breeland to open up the second half for a 36 yard touchdown on a double move.

After a stout, quiet first half, the Minnesota Vikings defense came alive. Once they had the lead, six different Vikings sacked Kirk Cousins for a total of eight.

Kirk Cousins and the Washington offense gained only eight yards in the first 12 minutes of the third quarter. After another Walsh field goal, Washington had a chance to tie the score at 23 by finally reaching the red zone for the first time in the game.

Cousins looked right for a quick wide receiver screen pass to Pierre Garcon at the three yard line. Harrison Smith diagnosed the play and aborted his blitz. He backed off, put his hands up and batted the ball in the air.

Rookie MacKensie Alexander darted toward the scene after Smith was tripped up. Alexander picked off the ball and ran toward the end zone for a 97 yard touchdown with no one behind him. With just 1:40 remaining in the game, that sealed it.

The Minnesota Vikings defense returned to dominant form against Washington’s dangerous weapons. The offense sputtered, but only had one three and out through the whole game.

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If the non-virtual Minnesota Vikings can play a similar game, it bodes well for the entire season. Madden predicts a return to dominance, and the timing couldn’t be better.