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Redskins looking to recreate late-season magic from 2015

LANDOVER, Md. - After the Week 8 bye in 2015, the Redskins went 6-3 to win the NFC East and make the playoffs after a

Jamison Crowder will be a vital part of the Redskins offense. (Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Jamison Crowder will be a vital part of the Redskins offense. (Photo: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

bleak first half of the season. They were 3-4, and had a lot of questions surrounding the consistency of the 'Skins. This year they're 4-3-1 coming out of the bye, but with a much tougher road ahead.

Washington starts a brutal three-game stretch of the Vikings (5-3), Packers, and Cowboys. Add on the lingering injuries and the start of  left tackle Trent Williams' four-game suspension for violating the leagues substance-abuse policy.

The bye week helped solve the running back situation, with head coach Jay Gruden promoting undrafted rookie Robert Kelley to the full-time lead back. The 'Skins will be without wide receiver DeSean Jackson (shoulder), who didn't practice all week. Jamison Crowder is expected to see a larger role. "He's a friendly target. I feel like sometimes he makes me a more accurate quarterback with the way that he chases down the football and brings it in," said Kirk Cousins. "He's a great player for us and makes a lot of plays."

Former ODU quarterback Taylor Heinicke is listed as the third string quarterback for the Vikings.

UPDATE:  The Redskins jumped-out early, scoring on a four yard Kirk Cousins to Jamison Crowder TD connection with 9:04 left in the first quarter.

Washington added to its 7-0 lead early in the second quarter, when Cousins connected with Vernon Davis for a 38 yard TD.

The Vikings got on the board when Matt Asiata scored from a yard out with 5:39 left in the half to cut the Redskins lead to 14-7.

Minnesota tied the game with 58 seconds left in the first half, when Sam Bradford found tight end Kyle Rudolph for a 20 yard TD connection.

Following a fumble by Chris Thompson, the Vikings got the ball back before the halftime horn. After a long connection to Maryland native Stefon Diggs, Minnesota got a four yard TD reception from Adam Thielen on 3rd and goal on the final play of the half to take a 20-14 lead. Blair Walsh missed the extra point.

HALFTIME SCORE: Vikings 20  Redskins 14

The Redskins opened the second half with a 12 play drive, however the journey stalled in the red zone. Dustin Hopkins 30 yard field goal pulled Washington to within 20-17.

With 40 seconds left in the third quarter, Hopkins' 37 yard field goal tied the game at 20.

The Redskins retook the lead with 9:33 left in the fourth quarter. Dustin Hopkins' 50 yard field goal, his third successful boot of the day, put Washington ahead 23-20.

The Vikings were driving until Preston Smith's sensational tipped, one-handed interception gave the ball back to the Redskins with six minutes to play in the fourth quarter. Washington parlayed that pick into points - but only three points. Another Hopkins field goal, this time from 28 yards out, gave the Skins a 26-20 lead with 2:31 to play.

Be sure to tune in to News 3 at 6:30, 10, & 11 for postgame coverage from FedEx Field.