The Vikings put together a complete team effort on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, and the result was a 41-17 "get right" win that improves the team's record to 7-6-1 and puts them in position to clinch a playoff spot next week in Detroit.
Here are five takeaways from the win over Miami.
1. Vikings offensive line sets stage for 41-point outburst
From the first snap of the day through the final whistle, the Vikings offensive line played with aggressiveness and tempo. On what was perhaps the Minnesota Moving Company's best day of the season, the Vikings playmakers took advantage. Running backs totaled 194 yards rushing and three touchdowns, Stefon Diggs led the team in receptions with four and Tyler Conklin topped everyone in receiving yards with 53. In total, the Vikings averaged 5.5 yards per rush on 40 attempts, allowed only two sacks and generated close to a six-minute time of possession advantage.
2. Dalvin dominated
Speed. Power. Broken tackles. Vision. Cook had it all on display against a Dolphins defense that has struggled against the run all season. Cook finished with 136 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries and he added a catch for 27 yards, too. The 19 rushing attempts, 136 yards and two touchdowns are all game highs for Cook this season as the Vikings entire offense looked rejuvenated under interim offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski's guidance.
3. Pass rush was tough on Tannehill
It was a day to forget for Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He was never able to settle into a rhythm and then in the second half things turned downright ugly. Tannehill was sacked nearly as many times (nine) as he had completed passes (11) for the game. He finished 11 of 24 for 108 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions (59.0 passer rating) and was constantly pestered by the Vikings defense. The pressure came from everywhere, with members of all three levels of the defense registering sacks. Both Anthony Barr and Danielle Hunter had 2.0 sacks, and Mackensie Alexander, Everson Griffen, Tom Johnson, Eric Kendricks and Sheldon Richardson all chipped in with 1.0 apiece.
4. Solid special teams effort contributed to the return of complementary football
Marcus Sherels danced and dashed his way through the Dolphins punt return unit for an explosive 70-yard return that set up the Vikings first score of the 3rd quarter; Sherels finished with 116 punt return yards on five attempts for a 23.2-yard average. The Vikings coverage units were solid, permitting eight yards on two punt returns and 45 yards on two kickoff returns. Dan Bailey had six touchbacks on kickoffs and punter Matt Wile netted a 39.7-yard average and had no touchbacks on three punts. Also, Bailey was perfect on the afternoon, converting five extra points and two field goal attempts.
5. Vikings executed better in "special categories"
The Vikings defense is No. 1 in the NFL on 3rd downs and they flexed their muscles on Sunday against Miami, holding the Dolphins to two of 17 (17%) on the NFL's money down and forcing Miami into an average to-go distance of 12.2 yards. The Vikings defense also kept Miami out of the end zone on their lone red zone and goal line series. Meanwhile, the Vikings offense was five of 13 (38%) on 3rd downs and four of six (67%) on red zone possessions. The Vikings also committed fewer penalties. It all added up to a pretty clean performance for the Vikings, with the exception of a 75-yard touchdown run allowed on the first play of the second half and an interception thrown by Cousins that resulted in a Dolphins touchdown return.