Redskins’ playoff push begins with a stout Vikings defense

LANDOVER, Md. – A week after facing and defeating a staunch Seahawks defense, the Redskins offense will be tasked with dissecting a Vikings defense that ranks in the top five of nearly all major team defensive statistics.

Kirk Cousins throws a pass. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

Minnesota (6-and-2) is third in the league in total yards allowed, and with a stout defensive front, ranks third in rush yards allowed per game.

Washington (4-and-4) struggled to run the ball last week (51 total yards), and hasn’t had much success throughout the season. The team sits at 21st in the league with 98 rush yards per contest. “We have had a lot of moving parts up front with different players playing center, guard, tackle, tight end. It’s not easy,” said Redskins head coach Jay Gruden.

“Rob has been dinged up and Samaje is a rookie, so it’s tough, not easy. But we will keep working on it and hopefully when we get some of our starters back like Trent and Brandon and Shawn that we will pave some bigger holes for our guys.”

Defensive linemen Matt Ioannidis (hand), and Arthur Jones (shoulder) will miss Sunday’s game. The team is filling the trench voids with practice squad lineman Brandon Banks.

Last week, an injury-plagued ‘Skins defense got a lift from the return of safety DeAngelo Hall.

DeAngelo Hall celebrates after beating the Seahawks. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

The Chesapeake native handled punt return duties during the game, but his most important contribution came at the end of the game in the back of the end zone, ensuring Washington left Seattle with a win.

The secondary has been a revolving door this season, but the longest-tenured Redskin will look to continue providing a steadying presence.

“I think he’s put in the work and that’s the good thing about DeAngelo,” said Gruden. ” He was like a coach out there. He was making plays and was in the right spot and really did a good job, so I’m happy we kept him and got him up.”

Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m at FedEx Field.