Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer continues to emphasize running the football, and Minnesota delivered on Sunday.
Latavius Murray showed burst and power on a number of runs at Washington, surging for 14 yards on his first carry of the day.
The first down set up a 51-yard pass from Case Keenum to Stefon Diggs, which placed the Vikings deep in Redskins territory. Keenum handed off to Murray on first-and-goal from the 2, but he was stopped after a 1-yard gain. On the following snap, however, Murray took the handoff again and pushed his way into the end zone for Minnesota's first touchdown of the day.
The touchdown was Murray's second in Purple and evened the score at 7 apiece in a game that ultimately ended in a Vikings 38-30 victory.
"I think definitely when you get down there, you have to have a nose for the end zone," Murray said. "If that's a strongpoint of my game, then I want to continue that when we get down there and try to find ways to get in the end zone."
After losing rookie running back Dalvin Cook to a torn ACL in Week 4, Murray and Jerick McKinnon have stepped in and kept Minnesota's run game rolling. Murray finished Sunday's game with 68 rushing yards on 17 attempts, and McKinnon recorded 32 yards on 10 carries in addition to 15 yards through the air.
Murray often runs out of the I-Formation and said he likes being able to pick up a few extra yards of momentum before hitting the line of scrimmage.
"For me, it's being able to come downhill," Murray said. "A bigger guy, keeping my shoulders square, find the seam and hit it."
C.J. Ham also played a significant role in the ground game. The fullback had just one carry, but it came at a crucial time.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Vikings sought to hang onto an 8-point lead. McKinnon ran for 9 yards on first-and-10 but on second down was stopped for no gain. On third-and-1 from Washington's 48, Keenum handed off to Ham, who steamed forward to pick up 3 yards and the first down.
Murray said Minnesota's offensive line enabled him – along with the other backs – to have a successful performance.
"I think I've got to give credit to the O-line, that's where it starts," Murray said. "Gave me some holes to run today, gave Case time to throw the ball down the field, so I've got to give credit to those guys and the game plan we had."
The Vikings were without right tackle Mike Remmers, who suffered a concussion against the Browns in London, but Rashod Hill played well in his place. The unit helped Minnesota notch its sixth 100-yard rushing game of the season after having just two throughout all of 2016.
Right guard Joe Berger said the game offered positive and negative takeaways.
"It was good, especially the first half," Berger said. "We had a lull there in the third quarter that we'd like to [take back], you know, we've got to get better at playing with the lead and finishing it off faster."
The offensive line also did not allow Keenum to be sacked.
"Yeah, that's a big deal," Berger said. "That's one of the challenges we're tasked with, keeping the quarterback standing up, and based on that stat, it seems like we did a decent job today."
Following the game, Zimmer said he was pleased with the performance of the running backs and the offensive line.
"I thought Latavius ran the ball physically today, and Jerick made some good runs," Zimmer said. "The offensive line played good – we're missing Remmers today, but Rashod Hill came in there and played well. Those guys, Case didn't get sacked again today, so it's good.
"If we play together as a football team, offense, defense, special teams, and we put it all together, we have a chance to be a good football team," Zimmer added.