AP Sports Writer
Jack Del Rio and Wade Phillips know all about the stress of being head coaches, about the thrills and the disappointments.
Both veteran defensive coordinators have been thrust into the top spot again because of illnesses to John Fox in Denver and Gary Kubiak in Houston.
Del Rio was appointed interim coach in Denver to replace Fox, who had heart surgery Monday. Del Rio was the head coach of the Jaguars from 2003-11 before joining the Broncos.
Phillips is stepping in for Kubiak, who collapsed on the sideline at halftime of last Sunday night's game against the Indianapolis Colts and was hospitalized for what was described as a "mini-stroke."
Phillips was the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys from 2007 until midway through the 2010 season, compiling a 34-22 record. He also was head coach of the Buffalo Bills from 1998-2000, going 29-19 and leading the team to two playoff appearances.
Del Rio will try to keep the Broncos (7-1) winning on Sunday when they visit San Diego, with an AFC West showdown against unbeaten Kansas City coming up a week later.
"We believe we have a good football team," Del Rio said. "We're on a mission. We're on a mission to carry on and continue what Coach Fox has going with this football team. We all want to make him proud."
For Phillips, his job is to end the Texans' six-game losing streak when they travel to Arizona.
"It was certainly shocking what happened in the ballgame and the aftermath of that," Phillips said about Kubiak's collapse. "We're certainly glad that he's getting better. We've had kind of an upside-down season. Generally, things haven't been going our way very well. This was another example of that."
The Texans players were glad to see Kubiak at practice on Thursday.
"To actually see him and hear him talk to us, that means everything," left tackle Duane Brown said. "You can hear all about somebody doing well ... but seeing them out and about and walking around, that means everything to us."
Vikings 34, Redskins 27
At Minneapolis, Adrian Peterson ran for 75 yards and two scores, and Minnesota stopped Washington at the 4 in the final seconds to hold on for a victory Thursday night.
Christian Ponder went 17 for 21 for 174 yards with two touchdowns and an interception before leaving late in the third quarter with an injured left shoulder. John Carlson had seven catches for 98 yards and a touchdown for the Vikings (2-7).
Robert Griffin III was 24 of 37 for 281 yards and three touchdowns for the Redskins (3-6), who led 27-14 early in the third quarter. But Santana Moss couldn't get his second foot in bounds on a pass in the corner of the end zone on fourth down, giving Minnesota the victory.
Also on Sunday, it's Detroit at Chicago, Philadelphia at Green Bay, Jacksonville at Tennessee, Cincinnati at Baltimore, St. Louis at Indianapolis, Seattle at Atlanta, Oakland at the New York Giants, Buffalo at Pittsburgh, Carolina at San Francisco, Denver at San Diego, Houston at Arizona and Dallas at New Orleans.
Miami plays at winless Tampa Bay on Monday night.
Off this week are Cleveland (4-5), Kansas City (9-0), the New York Jets (5-4) and New England (7-2).
Denver (7-1) at San Diego (4-4)
Chargers coach Mike McCoy, who called plays for Peyton Manning last season, gets a chance to beat his former team.
Both clubs faced the Redskins in their previous game.
The Broncos are coming off their bye week. Before that, they scored the last 38 points in beating Washington 45-21 as Manning overcame four turnovers to throw for 354 yards and four touchdowns.
The Chargers are coming off a 30-24 overtime loss at Washington in which they had three shots at the end zone from the 1-yard line in the closing seconds but failed to score a touchdown.
The Chargers face the Broncos and the unbeaten Chiefs twice each during the season's final eight weeks.
Houston (2-6) at Arizona (4-4)
Case Keenum gets his third straight start at quarterback for Houston, which despite its losing record, enters the game first in the NFL in defense and eighth in offense.
The Texans, who have lost six straight, have never dropped seven in a row.
Arizona rookie running back Andre Ellington leads the NFL at 7.7 yards per carry for players with a minimum of 40 attempts.
Detroit (5-3) at Chicago (5-3)
In a matchup between two of the three teams tied for the NFC North lead, the Bears get quarterback Jay Cutler back earlier than expected from a torn groin sustained Oct. 20.