A little lost in the shuffle of the Vikings offense is how well the pass defense has rebounded from early-season issues that saw four quarterbacks — Aaron Rodgers, Josh Allen, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz — combine for nine consecutive touchdown passes without an interception.
Only one QB, Tom Brady, has even eclipsed 200 passing yards in the past six games. The Vikings pass defense is ranked fifth and is set to host Miami's 27th-ranked pass offense Sunday. Coach Mike Zimmer pointed this week to the slot position finally settled by cornerback Mackensie Alexander, who will enter a contract season in 2019.
"He's done a lot better lately," Zimmer said. "Probably the second half of the season, that's probably why we've gotten better defensively. That position has gotten much more solidified."
A 2016 second-round pick, Alexander saw his playing time dwindle in the first half of the season. He bottomed out at 11 snaps vs. the Saints but has since overtaken the role previously shared with safety Jayron Kearse and cornerback Mike Hughes, who is on injured reserve.
"He's done a good job in the running game," Zimmer said. "He's had a couple nice pressures, and he's covered pretty well. Early in the year, he was kind of like Xavier [Rhodes]getting some penalties, but he's gotten away from that. So I think that's helped a lot."
On further review ...
NFL's Vice President of Officiating Al Riveron said the Seahawks should have been penalized while blocking the Vikings' field-goal attempt in the fourth quarter Monday.
Linebacker Bobby Wagner leapt over the Vikings line and blocked Dan Bailey's attempt that could have cut Seattle's lead to 6-3 with 5 minutes, 38 seconds left in the game.
"This is a foul," Riveron said in the NFL's weekly officiating video Friday. "Watch [Wagner], he's on the line of scrimmage and also stationary, but he's going to put both hands on a teammate and he's going to use his teammates to leverage himself to get to the other side."
A penalty would have moved the ball to the 15 and given the Vikings a first down to go for a touchdown and go-ahead PAT.
Remmers expects to go
Right guard Mike Remmers (low back), defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson (hip) and tight end David Morgan (knee) are listed as questionable to play Sunday against the Dolphins. All three were limited in practices this week. Remmers said he's still expecting to play.
"Me?" Remmers said Friday. "Of course."
Cornerback Trae Waynes (concussion) is set to return after being sidelined Monday. He was a full participant in Thursday and Friday practices. Right tackle Brian O'Neill, who injured his ankle at Seattle, is also expected to play after practicing this week.
For a cause
On Sunday, Vikings players will be representing charitable causes of their choice on their cleats for the NFL's My Cause, My Cleats campaign. The most spoken-for cause is youth development through the Boys & Girls Club (Rhodes, C.J. Ham, Jaleel Johnson, Danielle Hunter and Roc Thomas) as well as Big Brothers Big Sisters (Harrison Smith and Jayron Kearse). Players are also representing the American Cancer Society (Everson Griffen, Tashawn Bower, Devante Downs and Mike Boone) and domestic violence prevention through One Love (Stephen Weatherly, Anthony Harris), among others.
Kirk Cousins will wear cleats representing Urban Homeworks, a Minneapolis-based foundation that transforms abandoned homes. Kyle Rudolph, Adam Thielen and Anthony Barr will rep their own charitable work at the U's Masonic Children's Hospital, the Thielen Foundation and the Raise The Barr foundation, respectively.
•The Dolphins listed top cornerback Xavien Howard (knee), who leads the league with seven interceptions this season, as doubtful to play Sunday.
• Vikings wide receiver Chad Beebe (hamstring), who returned to practice Thursday, has been ruled out for a fourth game in a row.
• Ex-Vikings kicker Kai Forbath landed his first job since he was released this summer, signing with the Jaguars on Friday. Jacksonville's Josh Lambo is dealing with a groin injury.