Here are three things to watch from Miami’s perspective:
Quarterback homecoming? Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, a South Florida native, will try to perform well in his homecoming game. Bridgewater was a prep star at Northwester High School before going to the University of Louisville and becoming a first-round pick. He will try to become the first rookie quarterback to beat the Dolphins this season. Miami handily beat Derek Carr (Oakland Raiders) and Blake Bortles (Jacksonville Jaguars) earlier this season.
Sackless: If the Dolphins aim to spoil Bridgewater’s homecoming, the defense must pressure the rookie. Miami’s pass rush has disappeared in recent weeks. The team failed to sack New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady last week, and starting defensive ends Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon have just two combined sacks in four games. The decline of Miami’s defensive line play has been one of the big mysteries this season. The front four must step up for the team to win the final two games.
Deep passing game: The Dolphins surprised many last week by throwing a variety of deep balls in last week’s loss to the Patriots. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill successfully threw five passes of 30 yards or more in the 41-13 loss. Tannehill connected on a pair of deep balls to receiver Mike Wallace for 50 and 35 yards, and he had another potential touchdown throw dropped by backup running back Damien Williams. Tannehill made another solid deep throw to receiver Brian Hartline that was lost in the sun and drew a pass interference on a fifth deep pass. The Dolphins should test the Vikings’ defense deep to keep opponents honest. They also need to know if Tannehill is capable of consistently making the long throw.