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Lunchbreak: Pro Football Focus Awards High Marks for Vikings Defense Against Dolphins 

The Minnesota Vikings defense was stellar in its regular-season debut against the Green Bay Packers in Week 1.

Since then, the Vikings have shown ups and downs defensively over the past month, despite consistently holding opponents to under 25 points in every game so far.

But on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, Minnesota had a strong performance on that side of the ball, forcing three turnovers and recording a season-high six sacks en route to a 24-16 victory.

After the game, Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell gave game balls to every member of his team's defense.

Joe Nelson of Bring Me The Sports looked at Minnesota's grades from Pro Football Focus. Leading the way for the Vikings defensively were outside linebackers Za'Darius Smith and Danielle Hunter with PFF grades of 92.0 and 90.7, respectively.

Nelson wrote:

Smith finished the game with a whopping 11 pressures, including two sacks, two QB hits and seven QB hurries.

Hunter had his best game of the season and was credited by PFF with six pressures, including a sack, two hits and three hurries.

Outside linebacker Pat Jones II also had a big day, recording his first two career sacks and added two quarterback hurries. Jones was awarded the fourth-highest PFF grade among Vikings defenders with a 76.2.

In the secondary, cornerback Patrick Peterson had a PFF grade of 89.9. Nelson wrote:

Peterson was targeted six times and allowed just three catches while breaking up two passes and coming away with an interception.

Safety Harrison Smith ranked fifth with a PFF score of 68.4. Smith registered his 31st career interception, tying him with Nate Wright for the fifth-most interceptions in team history, and forced a fumble.

Offensively, wide receiver Justin Jefferson led Minnesota's playmakers with a PFF grade of 76.0 after hauling in six catches for 107 yards. PFF graded fellow receivers Adam Thielen and K.J. Osborn at 73.3 and 61.5, respectively.

Thielen had four receptions for 36 yards and a touchdown, and Osborn recorded three catches for 18 yards.

Running back Dalvin Cook had a PFF grade of 60.9 after rushing for 77 yards on 13 carries, including a 53-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins registered a PFF score of 71.5 after going 20-for-30 with 175 yards and two touchdowns.

Nelson wrote:

[Cousins] was under pressure 14 times and those plays resulted in 5-of-11 passing for 103 yards and three sacks. When Cousins was kept clean, he was 15-of-19 passing for only 72 yards.

The difference? Cousins averaged 9.4 yards per attempt when under pressure and just 3.8 yards per attempt when he was kept clean.

View Week 6 action photos from the Vikings-Dolphins game at Hard Rock Stadium on Oct. 16.

CBS Sports Gives Out Grades for Week 6

The Minnesota Vikings improved to 5-1 for their best start to a season since the 2016 campaign.

The Vikings have won four consecutive games and hold a two-game lead in the NFC North division.

John Breech of CBS Sports analyzed every Week 6 game and provided grades for each team. Breech gave the Vikings a "B" for their game. He wrote:

The Vikings offense still needs to work on consistency. It started off slow, but then thrived in the fourth quarter with two huge touchdowns. The Vikings need to find that middle ground and become more consistent if they're going to make a run this season.

The Vikings won despite their occasional offensive struggles thanks to a defense that recorded three takeaways and six sacks. While the Vikings do have their weaknesses, what they are doing is clearly working as they stand at the top of the NFC North with a 5-1 record.