The Washington Redskins (4-4) return home for their Week 10 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings (6-2). They do so with ample momentum following Sunday’s stunning 17-14 upset over the Seattle Seahawks. They also enter with plenty of injury uncertainty on both sides of the ball. Taking down a fellow NFC playoff contender riding a four-game winning streak won’t be easy, but would certainly be helpful. Last week’s heroics go for naught if the Redskins drop their third home game of the season.
Here’s a look at four things to watch in Sunday’s 1 p.m. game at FedEx Field.
Get in line
The Washington Redskins are poised for another week of random along the offensive line, yet there is hope for some if not all four starters who sat out Sunday’s loss at Seattle. The biggest news involved left tackle Trent Williams returning to practice Friday after sitting out the past two games with a kneecap injury.
Third stringer T.J. Clemmings took over as quarterback Kirk Cousins’s blindside protector with Williams and Ty Nsekhe sidelined. Results were at best mixed. There’s no confusion over Williams’ value for the offense. The question is simply can he go.
“I think he is trying it out [to] see how it feels,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “The big thing is with him is one, he has to feel comfortable enough we can be effective. He’s played at such a high level his whole career, I think with the pain he has been having he just doesn’t feel like himself. If he feels like he can go, I’m sure he will go. He’s the toughest guy on this football team.”
If Williams isn’t ready, Nsekhe might get the call assuming he can return from a core injury that kept him sidelined since Week 3. Washington certainly could use either against Minnesota pass rusher Everson Griffin.
Right guard Brandon Scherff (knee) and left guard Shaun Lauvao (stinger) are “questionable” after not playing last week. Center Spencer Long (knee), out the past two games, received the same designation along with right tackle Morgan Moses (ankle), who has played through his injuries.
Scherff looks like the best bet for Week 10. Arie Kouandjio performed nicely at left guard last week and rookie center Chase Roullier now has two starts on his resume.
Case for Kennum
The Vikings are atop the NFC North despite being down to their third-string quarterback, but Case Keenum has kept the offense moving. The journeyman is performing like a true starter, completing 63.9 percent of his passes while avoiding major mistakes (three interceptions in 233 attempts). Having a strong wide receiver tandem in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen along with quality tight end Kyle Rudolph helps. Same for the recent emergence of dual-threat running back Jerick McKinnon
There is a new element this week as Minnesota activated Teddy Bridgewater, for the first time this season. At some point the Vikings will want a closer look at their true starter. That’s probably not this week, but will Keenum start feeling the pressure.
Minnesota’s offensive line is allowing a mere 1.2 sacks per game, the second-best mark in the league. However, right tackle Mike Remmers (concussion) won’t play Sunday. We’ll see if the Redskins can take full advantage considering they only have four available defensive linemen as of Friday. The Remmers injury provides an opening for edge rusher Preston Smith, who is second in sacks (4.5) behind Ryan Kerrigan, but hasn’t any one since Week 6
Will the Doctson deliver again?
Josh Doctson’s diving 38-yard catch on the Redskins’ final drive set up the game-winning touchdown. The hope is the play also set up the second-year receiver with enough positive vibes to overcome a strange start to his career, one that left many skeptical about his future.
Doctson has a tremendous size-speed combination. The Redskins have moved him ahead of Terrelle Pryor on the depth chart. That catch reminded all of his capabilities. Now can Doctson deliver the consistency.
“He is a confident, young player. He is just waiting for an opportunity to break out,” Gruden said. “He is not a selfish guy. He is just a quiet guy and just goes about his business just waiting to perform at a real high level. As a starting receiver in the NFL, I think he is pretty high. I think from a statistical standpoint people are waiting for him to have the 10-catch for 200-yard performance and three touchdowns and I think those days are coming.”
Minnesota has allowed only nine passing touchdowns and ranks seventh in passing yards (201) allowed per game.