News

Print
RSS

Game Preview: Vikings-Rams

Posted Nov 14, 2017

The Minnesota Vikings (7-2) host the Los Angeles Rams (7-2) at U.S. Bank Stadium in Week 11. The Vikings own a 4-1 home record while the Rams boast a perfect 4-0 road record in 2017. The Vikings 7-2 start has matched the best start through nine games under Mike Zimmer. The Vikings currently have a five-game winning streak, tied for the third-best streak in the NFL and also tied for the team’s second-longest streak since Zimmer became head coach in 2014 (eight regular-season games from 12/20/15-10/9/16).

The Vikings offense has been led by the consistent play from WR Adam Thielen, who is third in the NFL with 793 receiving yards and tied for seventh in the NFL with 56 receptions. QB Case Keenum has stepped in to start seven games, posting a 5-2 record and compiling 11 touchdowns, five interceptions and a 92.6 passer rating. RBs Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray have filled the void left by rookie starter RB Dalvin Cook helping the Vikings rush for 126.0 yards per game since Week 5, eighth in the NFL in that span. WR Stefon Diggs grabbed his team-leading fifth touchdown pass at Washington last week and has scored three touchdowns on third downs this season, tied for the NFL lead.

The Vikings defense has held opponents to 294.6 yards per game (fifth in the NFL) and 18.3 points per game (tied for fifth in the NFL). The Vikings defense has limited opponents to 81.3 rushing yards per game (third in the NFL) and 3.4 yards per rush (second in the NFL).

Reigning NFC Defensive Player of the Month Everson Griffen had his streak of eight consecutive games with at least one sack snapped after missing Week 10 with a foot injury. Griffen is tied for third in the NFL with 10 sacks this season, the third time in his career he has reached double digits (12 in 2014, 10.5 in 2015). LB Eric Kendricks leads the Vikings with 90 tackles (coaches’ stats) and has tied his career high with 13 tackles on three separate occasions this season (at PIT, vs BAL, at CLE). S Harrison Smith has snagged a team-leading three interceptions this season, which is tied for fourth in the NFL.

NATIONAL TELEVISION: FOX

Play-by-Play: Kevin Burkhardt, Analyst: Charles Davis

Sideline: Pam Oliver 

NATIONAL RADIO: ESPN RADIO

Play-by-Play: Adam Amin, Analyst: Bill Polian

Sideline: Jeff Darlington

LOCAL RADIO: KFAN-FM 100.3/KTLK-AM 1130

Play-by-Play: Paul Allen, Analyst: Pete Bercich

Sideline Reporters: Greg Coleman and Ben Leber

Pre-Game Show: Mike Mussman – 10 a.m. CT

KFAN and KTLK serve as the flagship stations for the 72-station, five-state Vikings Radio Network.

NORSEMAN NOTABLES

The Vikings defense has been one of the stingiest in the NFL on third downs, holding opponents to a 28.7 percent (33 of 115) third-down conversion rate, the second-best mark in the NFL.

WR Adam Thielen has the most games with 90-plus yards (five) in the NFL and is tied for first in the NFL for most games with five-plus receptions (nine). Thielen has also proven clutch, tying for the second-most third-down receptions in the NFL (19), 16 of which have converted first downs.

The Vikings defense ranks fifth in the NFL in opponent passer rating on third downs, holding teams to a 58.9 rating, and hold opponents to 5.0 pass yards/attempt, the third-lowest mark in the NFL. The Rams are third in the NFL in third-down passing with a 109.5 passer rating.

TE Kyle Rudolph has caught eight of his nine red zone targets, tied for the second-most red zone catches by a TE.

The Vikings offense is tied for fourth in the NFL with 41 plays of 20-plus yards: 32 passing (tied for ninth in NFL) and nine rushing (tied for third in NFL).

The Vikings have eight scoring drives of 80-plus yards in 2017, four more than they totaled in all of 2016.

K Kai Forbath is tied for second in the NFL in FGs made with 22 in 2017 and has connected on 16 consecutive FGs. Rams K Greg Zuerlein leads the NFL with 28 made FGs.

The Vikings have allowed only 10 sacks this season, the second fewest in the NFL (Saints, 8).

After totaling 304 yards and four touchdown passes at Washington (11/12/17), Vikings QB Case Keenum became the first Vikings QB to throw for over 300 yards and at least four touchdowns on the road since Daunte Culpepper threw for 425 yards and five touchdowns at New Orleans (10/17/04).

Sunday's matchup features the two most accurate kickers in the NFL in 2017.

STAT OF THE WEEK

FG percentage - 2017 (qualifying Ks)

Rk) Player, Team, FG % (FGM/FGA)

1) Greg Zuerlein, LAR, 96.6 (28/29)

2) Kai Forbath, MIN, 95.7 (22/23)

3) Graham Gano, CAR, 95.2 (20/21)

4) Harrison Butker, KC, 95.0 (19/20)

5) Adam Vinatieri, IND, 94.7 (18/19)

VIKINGS-RAMS CONNECTIONS

Vikings QB Case Keenum, who had two separate stints with the Rams, appeared in 16 games and had 14 starts for the franchise from 2015-16. Keenum originally joined the St. Louis Rams when they claimed him off waivers on 9/1/14 after the Houston Texans had waived him. The Rams waived Keenum and added him back to the practice squad the next day on 10/30/14. Keenum then returned to the Texans on 12/16/14 after signing to their 53-man roster. During the following offseason the Texans traded Keenum back to St. Louis on 3/11/15 where he spent all of the 2015 and 2016 seasons with the club, including making the move to Los Angeles.

Rams physical therapist/assistant athletic trainer Byron Cunningham was a seasonal athletic trainer for the Minnesota Vikings during the 2009 season.

Rams C John Sullivan played for Minnesota from 2008-2015 and appeared in 109 games with 93 starts as a Viking. Sullivan was selected by the Vikings in the sixth round (187th overall) in the 2008 NFL Draft. Sullivan was named the Vikings Community Man of the Year in 2013.

Rams assistant special teams coach Tyrone McKenzie played for the Vikings in 2012, appearing in all 16 games.

Vikings DBs coach Jerry Gray was a standout DB for the Los Angeles Rams. Gray was the 21st overall pick in 1985 out of Texas by the L.A. Rams and went on to earn four Pro Bowl selections (1986-89) and was Second-Team All-Pro twice (1986, '89). In 1989, Gray was named the MVP of the Pro Bowl. 

LOCAL CONNECTIONS

The Vikings have five players who attended college in Los Angeles — Anthony Barr (UCLA), Kai Forbath (UCLA), Eric Kendricks (UCLA), Kevin McDermott (UCLA) and Everson Griffen (USC). Barr, Forbath and Kendricks are the only California natives on the Vikings roster.

Vikings assistant general manager George Paton is a native of Southern California and was four-year letter winner as a DB at UCLA from 1988-91, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history.

COLLEGE CONNECTIONS

Rams DB Lamarcus Joyner played at Florida State with Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes from 2010-12.

Rams C Austin Blythe (2012-15) and T Andrew Donnal (2010-14) and Vikings DT Jaleel Johnson (2012-16) were all teammates at Iowa.

Rams C John Sullivan (2004-07) joins Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph (2008-10), S Harrison Smith (2007-11) and WR Michael Floyd (2008-11) as former Notre Dame Fighting Irish in Sunday's contest.

Vikings T Mike Remmers (2007-11) and Rams P Johnny Hekker (2008-11) and QB Sean Mannion (2007-11) were all teammates at Oregon State.

Rams WR Mike Thomas and Vikings QB Kyle Sloter were teammates at Southern Mississippi from 2013-14. Sloter and Thomas both played WR while at Southern Miss.

BIG DAYS

S Harrison Smith scored his third career touchdown, returning an interception 81 yards for a score in the 2014 season opener. The Vikings won 34-6 at St. Louis (9/17/14).

DE Everson Griffen scored his first NFL touchdown at St. Louis (12/16/12) with a 29-yard interception return. Griffen also recorded 2.0 sacks in the 2014 matchup at St. Louis (9/17/14).

DT Linval Joseph won NFC Defensive Player of the Week after recording 10 tackles, 0.5 sack, 3 TFL, and 2 QB hits vs. St. Louis (11/8/15). Joseph's 10 tackles tied the highest by a DT in a single game in the NFL that season.

Everson Griffen: 3 games, 7 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 3 TFL, 1 INT returned 29 yards for a TD

Linval Joseph: 2 games, 14 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 4 TFL, 3 QB hits

Andrew Sendejo: 1 game, 7 tackles, 0.5 sack, 1 PD, 1 QB hit

Harrison Smith: 3 games, 11 tackles, 1.0 sack, 1 INT returned 81 yards for a TD

SERIES INFO

Record vs. Rams: Vikings 26-16-2

Last regular season game: Vikings 21, Rams 18 (OT) (2014)

Vikings largest winning margin: 28, 2 times (1966, 2014)

Rams largest winning margin: 32 (1977)

Current series streak: Vikings, 4

Vikings longest win streak: 6 (1987-1998)

Rams longest win streak: 4 (1978-1985)

Most Points, Vikings: 51 (1974)

Most Points, Rams: 49 (1992)

Most Points, both teams: 86, 2 times (1972, 1999)

Fewest Points, Vikings: 10 (1985): 3 (2004)

Fewest Points, both teams: 16; Vikings 13, Rams 3 (1970)

SERIES NOTES

The Vikings and Rams have played 44 times overall with Minnesota holding a 26-16-2 series record.

The Vikings and Rams have played four overtime games in series history. The Vikings won two of those contests, the Rams won one, and the teams tied the other.

In the matchup at LAR on 11/19/72, the two teams combined for 86 points, the third-most combined points in a single game in Vikings history. In that contest, the Vikings scored 35 points in the second half, tied for the second-highest output in a single half in franchise history.

A Win Would….

Be the best start to a season through 10 games since Mike Zimmer took over in 2014.

Move Zimmer’s record as a head coach to 34-25 and give him his third win against the Rams in his third game vs. the franchise, including his first game as a head coach in 2014.

Would be the sixth straight win for the Vikings, the second-longest win streak for the team under Zimmer (eight games from 12/20/15-10/9/16)

Give the Vikings a 10-4 record at U.S. Bank Stadium since opening the venue in 2016.