MIAMI GARDENS, Florida — The Vikings "edge department," a nickname bestowed on Minnesota's outside linebackers, provided just that on Sunday in a 24-16 victory over the Miami Dolphins.
Za'Darius Smith recorded two sacks, and Danielle Hunter added another as Minnesota racked up a season-high six sacks on the day.
Smith and Hunter were joined by Pat Jones II after the game for a simultaneous three-person interview that's about as rare as a Vikings win in South Florida.
More than 16,000 days had elapsed between Sunday's showing and the last (and only previous time) they defeated the Dolphins in South Florida back in 1976.
Earlier, Jones had joined the Pro Bowl edge players in the box score by recording the first two sacks of his career.
And before that, he shared an elevator ride at the team hotel with Head Coach Kevin O'Connell.
Both men knew Jones was going to have an opportunity to contribute significantly with D.J. Wonnum out with an illness.
"He had a look in his eye this whole trip," O'Connell said of Jones. "It's hard to explain, but I remember seeing him last night and came down in the elevator with him today at the hotel. He was a man on a mission."
"Pat Jones knew, 'This is going to be my turn to hold up and provide some real critical snaps for us to not have Danielle and Z be completely gassed at the end,' " O'Connell added. "He goes out there and gets his first two career sacks. I'm telling you, you could see the look in his eye early this morning. It was great to see him go out and do that."
Jones, a 2021 third-round pick, explained, "It's just that look. That game-time look. If you have the look on, you know it's time to go out there and eat. It's game time."
"It was my turn to go out there and step it up," he added.
Former Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was sacked five times after coming on in relief of Skylar Thompson, who suffered a thumb injury in his first career start.
Inside linebacker Jordan Hicks recorded the non-edge-department sack of the day.
Jones' productivity on his snaps added a dynamic on a day when Minnesota tried to keep its players as fresh as possible in the heat and humidity.
"I've said from day one that we feel like we've got two really good starters, impact players, in Z and Danielle," O'Connell said. "D.J. Wonnum has played really well. Unfortunately, we just couldn't turn him over. He's doing really well now, but we wanted to give him the weekend to feel better.
Hunter said the team success is "all about all about rushing together."
"There's some series where one guy's gonna have two dudes, and the other guy's got to beat their 1-on-1. But that's all it is, just rushing together as a brotherhood," Hunter said. "The d-tackles and us three out there."
The pressure helped Minnesota force three turnovers and limit Miami to 4-of-14 on third downs.
"It works hand in hand. Getting after the quarterback creates pressure, and pressure having him where he can't throw where he wants to, so there were a lot of picks today, also," Smith said. "Shout-out to the guys on the back end. When they do their job, we win. And when we do our job, they win. It works hand in hand.
"It feels great. We're 5-1, and we harped on this all week of getting pressure on the quarterback," Smith said. "We've been lacking a little bit on that, but today we brought that pressure, and the world saw it today."