Going into the sixth game of the season, the Redskins defense finally feels some momentum building from week to week.
On Sunday they will have a difficult test, hosting the 4-1 Minnesota Vikings, who have already beaten teams like the San Francisco 49ers. The Vikings are led by quarterback Christian Ponder who has certainly improved from rookie season last year.
"He's doing a good job of getting the ball to his playmakers, being Percy [Harvin] or Adrian [Peterson]," safety Madieu Williams said. "He does a good job of knowing where his outlets and his guys are in the system."
Williams played for the Vikings from 2008-2010. He knows that the key to keeping the Vikings one-dimensional is having every player on the same page each play.
"We've got to have all 11 guys running at the football," Williams said. "We've got to make sure we are gap-sound, make sure guys tackle and limit the yards after contact."
Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett noted that Sunday's game is going to a Litmus test for the progress the unit has made in recent weeks.
"This is going to be one of those four-hour games that you've got to fight all day," Haslett said. "They'll break about three or four [plays] open in the fourth quarter and then all of a sudden at the end of the day you think you did a good job and they've got 200 rushing on you.
"This is an all-day fight and our guys know that."
The Redskins defense has allowed an average of 416.2 yards per game, which is 26th in the NFL. Defensive captain London Fletcher hopes that an improved pass rush can dial up the intensity in the backfield.
"Last week we went to a lot more three-man rush, we didn't four-man-rush last week a lot," he said. "That affects your pass rush because you're asking three guys to try to beat five guys in protection. Sometimes they were even keeping seven guys in protecting.
"Each week is a different game so hopefully we'll be able to get there with our four man pass rush."
Fletcher recorded a game-high 20 tackles last week against the Atlanta Falcons. He acknowledges that each season has its own characteristics, but he really likes the chemistry and composition of this roster.
"We've got some skill players, we got Robert [Griffin III] at quarterback," he said. "All of those things make you feel different about your football team: how you feel about your chance to win; how you feel about your chance to compete each and every week."