Over the last few weeks, the Minnesota Vikings have been one of the hottest teams in the league that have pushed their way up one of the best marks in the NFC. Meanwhile, the Washington Redskins have stumbled through the first six games, dropping six out of their first seven contests. With that in mind, here are three things to watch in Thursday’s matchup between these two teams.
Kirk Cousins’ revenge game
Since leaving the Washington Redskins in free agency more than a year and a half ago, Cousins has yet to play against the team that he spent his first six seasons in the league.
There was plent of drama that unfolded between both sides near the end of their tenure together that saw them be unable to come to terms of any long-term extension. In fact, Cousins played under two franchise tags before he left the team and signed with the Vikings.
Following some internal criticism from wide receiver Adam Thielen, Cousins has picked up his play over the last few weeks as he has posted three straight 300 passing yards outings with 10 total touchdown passes over that span. He will have a chance to continue that forward trend at home against his former team, who have struggled against the pass this season.
Adrian Peterson back in Minnesota
It has been quite a journey for Adrian Peterson to keep his NFL career going after moving from the Vikings.
Peterson looks to have found solid ground with the Redskins as their primary option in the backfield. Even more so, with their other two options in Chris Thompson and Derrius Guice, both sidelined due to injury.
The former Pro Bowl back is coming off a resurgent 2018 campaign, where he posted his first 1,000 rushing yard season since 2015 when he was back with Minnesota. In his second return back to U.S Bank Stadium as an opponent, Peterson will be the primary offensive factor in the backfield for the Redskins, as he could play a significant role.
There will undoubtedly be a lot of emotions in play for Peterson as he played his first 10 years in the league with the Vikings, where he had plenty of team and individual success. Peterson will look to build off his strong play as he has tallied 199 rushing yards over the last two games entering Thursday night.
Stefon Diggs’ dominant stretch
There have been plenty of ups and downs throughout the first seven games of the season that has primarily involved the Vikings’ passing game. It saw both Thielen and Stefon Diggs voice their level of frustration publicly, with the latter hinting at possibly wanting to be traded.
In the last four weeks, Diggs has left his slow start to the year in the dust as he has been one of the most productive wide receivers in the league over that span. He has tallied three 100 receiving yards performances with at seven receptions in all three of those such outings.
It includes him putting forth a monster stat line with seven catches for 167 yards and three touchdowns in the blowout win over the Philadelphia Eagles. With Thielen out of the mix on Thursday night due to a hamstring injury, it could very well lead to another big performance for the star wideout as the primary receiving option.
With Cousins playing the Redskins for the first time since signing with the Vikings, there could be a massive amount of motivation and emphasis to air it out with several throws made in Diggs’ direction. If there was ever a time to expect a huge outing from the Maryland product, this is certainly it.