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Game Preview: Vikings vs. Steelers

Posted Sep 24, 2013

MINNESOTA VIKINGS VS. PITTSBURGH STEELERS
WEEK 3 • SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2013 - NOON CT

Minnesota Vikings (0-3) will play host to the Pittsburgh Steelers (0-3) in the 7th proud history of playing internationally and were among groundbreaking teams in the NFL to play overseas, playing the 1st NFL game in London in a 1983 preseason matchup with St. Louis at Wembley and the first NFL game in Sweden in 1988 against Chicago. The current International Series games in London during the regular season began in 2007 when the NY Giants topped Miami 13-10 at Wembley. The Vikings also played international games in the preseason in Berlin (1993 vs. Buffalo) and Tokyo (1994 vs. Kansas City).

Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin held the Vikings defensive coordinator title in 2006. Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier assumed the role in 2007 when Tomlin left to take the Pittsburgh head coaching job.

TELEVISION: CBS (Channel 4 in the Twin Cities)
Play-By-Play: Jim Nantz Analyst: Phil Simms

RADIO: KFAN-FM 100.3/KTCN-AM 1130
Play-by-Play: Paul Allen Analyst: Pete Bercich
Sideline Reporter: Greg Coleman
Pre-Game Show: Mike Mussman – 10:00 a.m. CT

KFAN and KTCN serve as the flagship stations for the 72-station, 5-state Vikings Radio Network.

STAT OF THE WEEK
The Vikings are currently tied for 1st in the NFL with 6 interceptions. Last year, the Vikings managed to pick off 10 passes. With 10 takeaways, the Vikings are also tied for 2nd in the league in takeaways.

NORSEMAN NOTABLES
• WR Greg Jennings and LB Chad Greenway will be appearing in their 100th career game vs. Pittsburgh. The duo will join Kevin Williams (159), Cullen Loeffler (143) and Jared Allen (144) as current Vikings in the century club.
• K Blair Walsh tied Ryan Longwell for 1st in team history with 11 career 50 yard FGs. Walsh is a perfect 11-for-11 from 50 yards in his 19-game career.
• QB Christian Ponder ran for 2 TDs vs. Cleveland (9/22), tied for the 2nd-most by a Vikings QB in a game in team history.
• LB Erin Henderson is only the 2nd Vikings LB in team history to post 2.0 sacks and an INT in a game when he accomplished the feat against Cleveland (9/22/13).
• WR Cordarrelle Patterson ranks 2nd in the NFL in kickoff return average at 37.4 yards per and his 105-yd KOR TD is the longest return by an NFL player in 2013.
• Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph’s 13 career receiving TDs rank 5th all-time among TEs in franchise history. He is 3rd in the NFL among TEs over the past 2 seasons with 11 TD catches.
• The Vikings are tied for 2nd in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers with only 12 penalties against them. Only Indianapolis (8) has fewer than the two teams.
• DE Brian Robison scored his 1st career TD on a 61-yard FR. It was the Vikings 1st fumble returned for a TD since Antoine Winfield did so against the Eagles on 12/28/10. Robison’s return is the 3rd-longest among Vikings linemen in team history and 3 of the 4 longest have been recorded by current Vikings- Kevin Williams (77t), Robison (61t) and Jared Allen (52t).
• LB Chad Greenway intercepted his 7th career pass, moving into 9th all time by a Vikings LB.
• The Vikings have 98 sacks from 2011-13, 2nd in the NFL in that span, trailing Cincinnati’s 102.
• RB Adrian Peterson’s 78-yard TD run at Detroit (9/8) is the longest run in the NFL in 2013 and his 3 rushing TDs leads the NFL.
• S Harrison Smith intercepted a pass for the 2nd consecutive week vs. Cleveland (9/22/13), the 2nd time in Smith’s career that he has recorded interceptions in back-to-back games.

VIKINGS-STEELERS CONNECTIONS

• Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin served as the Vikings defensive coordinator in 2006, a job that Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier took over for in 2007. Tomlin was a teammate of current Vikings defensive coordinator Alan Williams and William & Mary (1990-91). Tomlin played wide receiver while Williams played running back.
• Steelers Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line Coach John Mitchell coached at the University of Arkansas while Minnesota Vikings Wide Receivers Coach George Stewart played from (1977-80).
• While Vikings Tight Ends Coach Jimmie Johnson played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1995-98, Steelers Special Teams Coordinator Danny Smith coached the Eagles Defensive Backs and Special Teams.

LOCAL CONNECTIONS
• Vikings LB Michael Mauti and LB Gerald Hodges played at Penn State.
• Vikings DT Sharrif Floyd hails from Philadelphia, Penn. Vikings G Brandon Fusco is from Cranberry Township, Penn.

COLLEGE CONNECTIONS
• Steelers LB Jarvis Jones and Vikings K Blair Walsh were teammates together at Georgia.
• Steelers LB Vince Williams was at Florida State from 2008-12 along with Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes (2009-12) and QB Christian Ponder (2008-10).

VIKINGS BIG DAYS VS. STEELERS
• As teammates on the Green Bay Packers, LB Desmond Bishop and WR Greg Jennings helped defeat the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. Bishop recovered a fumble on the first play of the 4th quarter, halting a key Steelers drive. Jennings hauled in 2 TD receptions to go along with 64 receiving yards. in the 31-25 victory.
• Vikings RB Adrian Peterson rushed 18 times for 69 yards and 1 TD in his lone career game against Pittsburgh. He also caught 4 passes for 60 yards in the 10/25/09 contest.
• As a member of the Detroit Lions, FB Jerome Felton set single game career highs in receptions (3), receiving yards (37) and longest reception (27) in a game against the Steelers on 10/11/09.
• Vikings DT Kevin Williams recorded 6 tackles and 1.0 sack in his first career game againt the Steelers on 12/18/2005.

VIKINGS-STEELERS SERIES NOTES
• The Vikings and Steelers have split the series with each winning 8 of the 16 games played.
• The last time the Vikings and Steelers met was on 10/25/09, a Steelers 27-17 victory.
• This will be the 1st regular season meeting between the Vikings and Steelers during Leslie Frazier’s tenure as the Vikings head coach.
• The Vikings and Steelers have met in the postseason once, a Steelers victory in Super Bowl IX, the third Super Bowl appearance by the Vikings.
• This game will mark the 4th meeting between the Steelers and Vikings in the month of September, with the Vikings currently holding a 2-1 edge.

A WIN WOULD...
• Give the Vikings their first win over Pittsburgh since 9/24/95.
• Give the Vikings their first home win over Pittsburgh since 9/21/86.
• Give the Vikings their 5th consecutive win heading into a bye week, a streak that dates back to 2009. It would mark the 2nd longest active streak in the NFL (New Orleans).