Dolphins, Vikings Feeling the Hot Seat in Miami

By Wine, Steven | Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque), December 21, 2014 | Go to article overview

Dolphins, Vikings Feeling the Hot Seat in Miami


Wine, Steven, Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque)


Minnesota (6-8) at Miami (7-7) Time: Noon Opening line: Dolphins by 7 Series record: Dolphins lead, 7-4 Last meeting: Dolphins beat Vikings, 14-10, Sept. 19, 2010 Last week: Dolphins lost at Patriots, 41-13; Vikings lost at Lions, 16-14 Vikings offense: overall (28), rush (15), pass (27) Vikings defense: overall (T11), rush (23), pass (6) Dolphins offense: overall (19), rush (14), pass (20) Dolphins defense: overall (7), rush (22), pass (4)MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - With the Miami Dolphins at 7-7 and all but eliminated from the playoffs, defensive tackle Jared Odrick talked about playing out the season.

"We're on a team that's .500," he said. "If you don't believe that you're a .500 team, you have to go out there and prove it. We've got two more games to do that."

So a winning record would be a significant achievement? Nah.

"Finishing 9-7?" Odrick said. "Finishing 9-7 and not going to the playoffs doesn't mean a thing."

If more Dolphins could reverse direction so quickly, they might be Super Bowl-bound.

It's tough to blame Odrick for having trouble convincing himself that today's game matters. Motivation can be difficult for teams out of the playoff chase, and that's the challenge both teams face when the Dolphins play the Minnesota Vikings (6-8).

Here are the things to know:

THE STAKES - The game means a lot to Dolphins coach Joe Philbin, whose job is in jeopardy after lopsided losses the past two weeks likely ensured a third consecutive season out of the playoffs.

Players have been vocal in defending Philbin and his staff.

"I don't think it's the coaches' fault," receiver Mike Wallace said. "I think it's our fault. I don't think we've played up to our potential throughout our games. I don't think we've played a full 60 minutes, except maybe two or three times. We're selling ourselves short - the players, not the coaches."

Another loss might seal Philbin's fate, while a sweep of the final two games would give Miami its first winning season since 2008, a sign of progress that could influence owner Stephen Ross.

In the absence of Adrian Peterson, the Vikings have been out of the race since Thanksgiving. But they've won two of their past three games to give them a shot at a .500 finish under first-year coach Mike Zimmer.

"We're moving in the right direction," defensive end Brian Robison said. "That's what you want to see out of a club that's under a new regime. …

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