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What we learned from Vikings' victory over Redskins

*One touchdown and four Dan Bailey field goals were all the Minnesota Vikings (6-2) needed to take care of the Washington Redskins (1-7), 19-9, on "Thursday Night Football." Here's what we learned from the contest: *

  1. Minnesota won its fourth straight in easy, breezy fashion on Thursday evening, running over the Redskins with a one-two punch of Dalvin Cook and his understudy, Alexander Mattison. The league leader in rushing through seven (and now eight) weeks, Cook was elusive and ruthless on the ground (98 yards on 23 carries) but even more dangerous through the air, or more accurately, in the screen game. Cook tallied 73 yards on five receptions (171 total yards) against D.C., laterally evading Redskins defenders with ease. When the game was in hand, Mattison took over (61 yards on 13 carries) with equal effectiveness. Not everything worked against Washington; Minnesota's red-zone woes (1-for-4) are something to worry about, and Kirk Cousins was subject to too many free rushers on occasion, taking three costly sacks. But on a night when Minnesota didn't attempt a punt, Cousins missed just three of 26 attempts (285 yards) and seemingly exorcised his prime-time demons and the opposition barely stood a chance, the Vikings will take the balanced, if not dominant, performance.
  1. Maybe the Redskins were right about Dwayne Haskins. The rookie quarterback was thrust into the spotlight in prime time after starting QB Case Keenum was knocked out at halftime with a concussion. Haskins looked uncomfortable from the get-go, his best throw a flat-footed, side-armed strike to Adrian Peterson that was nearly picked off. In his second professional appearance, Haskins completed just 3-of-5 attempts for 33 yards in the second half and threw one ghastly interception on an overthrow in the direction of Terry McLaurin (4 rec, 39 yards). Both Jay Gruden (before he was fired) and interim coach Bill Callahan have intimated or right-out said that Haskins is not ready to start. But if Keenum cannot go next week against the Buffalo Bills, then it will be Haskins, not Colt McCoy, taking snaps against one of the league's toughest defenses. Haskins was thrown to the wolves unexpectedly on Thursday night. With a week of preparation under his belt, will the No. 15 overall pick fare better if his number is called in Week 9?
  1. Despite the loss, Adrian Peterson enjoyed a productive homecoming. In his second game back in Minnesota since the Vikings moved on from A.D. in 2017, Peterson ran for 76 yards on 14 carries (5.4 YPC) against his former team, showcasing on a handful of plays the agility and physicality with which he played the game in the Twin Cities for a decade. He made history, too, on Thursday night, passing Jerome Bettis and LaDainian Tomlinson for sixth on the all-time rushing yards list. So comfortable was Minnesota's victory of Peterson's 'Skins that the crowd at U.S. Bank Stadium gave Peterson a standing ovation during the final two-minute warning when alerted to his latest feat. A.D. acknowledged the crowd with a hand-wave, and following the loss, spent one-on-one time with Cook, his worthy successor in Purple and Gold. He's no longer with the organization, but Peterson's impact is still being felt.
  1. In this month's edition of The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease, we present Stefon Diggs. Three weeks after skipping out on practice and meetings and reportedly requesting a trade, Diggs is the centerpiece of an explosive downfield attack in Minnesota. In torturing Fabian Moreau and Josh Norman in coverage on Thursday night en route to a 143-yard evening, Diggs broke the franchise record for receiving yards in a three-game span (452 yards). The wideout passed Vikings legend Randy Moss (446, Weeks 12-14, 2001), per NFL Research. With the trade deadline just five days away, it doesn't look like Diggs is going anywhere.
  1. If you prefer your football done and dusted in as short a time period as possible, the Redskins are the team for you. After playing through a slopfest in Week 7 in 2 hours, 36 minutes, Washington lost to Minnesota in a tidy 2 hours, 41 minutes.
  1. With the victory, Minnesota keeps pace with the division-leading Green Bay Packers (6-1) in the NFC North. After seven-plus weeks, the division appears bifurcated into two camps: contenders to the west (Minnesota and Green Bay) and pretenders to the east (Chicago and Detroit). Meanwhile, the 'Skins shouldn't even bother looking at the NFC East race. Washington's race is one to the top of the draft order.
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