The Vikings were on the verge of getting back to their winning ways before coughing up a late lead to the Lions. Now they hit the road to play the Redskins, with an offense still in transition and a shaky kicker in tow. Ceasing their free fall here will be difficult.

Prediction: Redskins 20, Vikings 18

Three big story lines

DINK AND DUNK

In last week’s loss to the Lions, interim play-caller Pat Shurmur frequently dialed up quick passes to keep QB Sam Bradford safe while the offense meandered downfield. Look for that approach again.

WALSH WATCH

On Monday, it looked as if the Blair Walsh era was over. But after working out six kickers Tuesday, the Vikings opted to keep their struggling kicker. Will that decision come back to bite them Sunday?

NOW WHO’S OUT?

The Vikings will get back MLB Eric Kendricks and LG Alex Boone after one-game absences. But they will be without CB Captain Munnerlyn in the slot. The good news is NT Linval Joseph says he is “good to go.”

Two key matchups

Vikings WR Stefon Diggs vs. Redskins CB Josh Norman

With Diggs returning home to Maryland, it’s unclear if the Redskins fear him enough to have Norman, their fiery corner, trail him. But if they do, get your popcorn ready because this matchup could get testy.

Vikings DE Everson Griffen vs. Redskins LT Ty Nsekhe

With Redskins LT Trent Williams suspended, Griffen will duke it out with Nsekhe, a journeyman who played arena football and in the CFL before finding a home in D.C. This will be Nsekhe’s third career start.

One stat that matters

43.5 Red-zone TD percentage for the Vikings, ranking 29th in the NFL.

The Vikings will win if …

The offense can get in a groove early so that the team doesn’t have to play from behind, which would then allow the defense to attack turnover-prone Redskins QB Kirk Cousins.

The redskins will win if …

The Vikings offense continues to struggle in the red zone, the defense doesn’t create multiple impact plays in a tight ballgame.

 

Vensel’s win probability

40%