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Analyzing Vikings 4th Quarter of 2020 NFL Schedule: Buccaneers, Bears, Saints and Lions

Take a Next Gen Stats look at the Vikings opponents in 2020. For more Next Gen Stats, be sure to check out nextgenstats.nfl.com.

By now, you've seen the entire Vikings 2020 NFL schedule, which was released last Thursday, and know that the 60th season in franchise history is scheduled to open against the Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The fourth quarter of Minnesota's season will involve three road trips, including an incredibly rare game on Christmas Day in New Orleans in Week 16. The four pack will begin with a trip to a different Gulf Coast locale to play a revamped Tampa Bay squad in Week 14. The Vikings will close their home slate in Week 15 against Chicago and the 2020 regular season at Detroit for the first time since Jan. 2, 2011.

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Here's a look at the series history, 2019 stats, roster changes and some 2020 icebreakers for the third quarter of the Vikings season:

Week 14

Vikings at Buccaneers | by @Eric_L_Smith

Noon (CT) | Sunday, Dec. 13 | Raymond James Stadium

Series Results

Vikings W-L-T: 33-22

Home: 19-9; Away: 14-13

Last time in regular season: Vikings defeated Buccaneers 34-17 in Minnesota on Sept. 24, 2017

Last time in regular season at Tampa Bay: Vikings defeated Buccaneers 19-13 in overtime on Oct. 26, 2014

2019 Stats

Tampa Bay offense

Receivers Chris Godwin and Mike Evans combined for 2,490 total receiving yards, the NFL's highest total by teammates in 2019.

Ronald Jones led Tampa Bay with 724 rushing yards. Tampa Bay's most-recent 1,000-yard rusher was Doug Martin with 1,402 yards in 2015.

Tampa Bay defense

The Buccaneers ranked 29th in the league by allowing 28.1 points per game. Tampa Bay gave up at least 31 points in eight games.

Linebacker Shaquil Barrett set a franchise record — and led the NFL — with 19.5 sacks in 2019. Tampa Bay used the franchise tag on Barrett in March.

Roster Refresher

Added: QB Tom Brady, TE Rob Gronkowski, T Joe Haeg and LB Kevin Minter

First two picks of 2020 NFL Draft: Iowa T Tristan Wirfs at No. 13 overall and Minnesota S Antoine Winfield, Jr., at 45

Departed (new team if player has signed)/contract expired: DL Beau Allen (Patriots), RB Peyton Barber (Redskins), LB Carl Nassib (Raiders), WR Breshad Perriman (Jets) and QB Jameis Winston (Saints)

Icebreakers

This will be Minnesota's first trip to Tampa Bay since 2014, when Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr forced and recovered a fumble before racing 27 yards for the game-winning touchdown. … Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians is entering his second season in Tampa Bay. He went 7-9 this past season and has an overall regular-season record of 56-39-1. … Brady is a six-time Super Bowl champion, a three-time NFL MVP and a 14-time Pro Bowler who ranks second all-time in both passing yards (74,571) and passing touchdowns (541). … Gronkowski did not play in 2019 but recently came out of retirement and was traded to Tampa Bay. … The Buccaneers last made the playoffs in 2007. They have won double-digit games once since 2005, going 10-6 in 2010.

Week 15

Vikings vs Bears | by @pcraigers

Noon (CT) | Sunday, Dec. 20 | U.S. Bank Stadium

Series Results

Vikings W-L-T: 60-56-2 (includes 0-1 in playoffs)

Home: 37-23; Away: 23-33-2

Last time in regular season: Bears defeated Vikings 21-19 in Minnesota on Dec. 29, 2019

Last time in regular season in Minnesota: Bears defeated Vikings 21-19 on Dec. 29, 2019

2019 Stats

Chicago offense

The Bears converted 35.6 percent of their third downs, which ranked 25th in the NFL, a season after converting 41.0 percent (11th in the NFL) in 2018.

Chicago scored 25 or more points in three games last season, putting up 31 against Washington and Dallas. The Bears also scored 25 against the Saints but gave up a season-high 36 in the loss.

Chicago defense

The Bears ranked sixth in the NFL in yards allowed per play (5.10) and rushing yards allowed per play (3.94).

After forcing 10 turnovers in their first five games and returning from a Week 6 bye, the Bears collected just six from Week 7 through Week 16. Chicago capitalized on three turnovers by Minnesota in the Week 17 regular-season finale.

Roster Refresher

Added: QB Nick Foles, CB Artie Burns, WR Ted Ginn, Jr., TE Jimmy Graham, OL Germain Ifedi, Edge Robert Quinn

First two picks of 2020 NFL Draft: Notre Dame TE Cole Kmet at No. 43 overall and Utah CB Jaylon Johnson at 50

Departed: QB Chase Daniel (Lions), WR Taylor Gabriel, TE Trey Burton (Colts), G Kyle Long (Retired), DT Nick Williams (Lions), LB Nick Kwiatkoski (Raiders), Edge Leonard Floyd (Rams), LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (Redskins), CB Prince Amukamara, S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Cowboys)

Icebreakers

David Montgomery led Chicago with 889 rushing yards as a rookie. Tarik Cohen was next on the team with 213 yards on the ground. … Cohen's punt return average dropped from a whopping 12.5 in 2018 to 9.2 last season. … The Bears have nine tight ends on their roster. … Edge rusher Khalil Mack led Chicago with 8.5 sacks and forced five fumbles in 2019. It broke his streak of four consecutive seasons with at least 10.5 sacks. … In his lone season with Dallas, Quinn recorded 11.5 sacks, reaching double digits for the first time since 2014.

Week 16

Vikings at Saints | by @LindseyMNSports

3:30 p.m. (CT) | Friday, Dec. 25 | Mercedez-Benz Superdome

Series Results

Vikings W-L-T: 23-12-0 (including 4-1 in the playoffs)

Home: 14-4-0; Away: 9-8-0

Last time in regular season: Saints defeated Vikings 30-20 in Minnesota on Oct. 28, 2018

Last time in regular season in New Orleans: Saints defeated Vikings 20-9 on Sept. 21, 2014

2019 Stats

New Orleans offense

The Saints scored at least 30 points in 11 of their 16 regular-season games last season before the Vikings limited them to 20 in the playoffs. New Orleans ranked third in the NFL in percentage of drives that resulted in a score (47.1 percent).

New Orleans led the NFL in fewest turnovers (eight), fumbles lost (two) and in average starting field position after kickoffs (own 33.6-yard line).

New Orleans defense

The Saints ranked sixth in the NFL in stinginess on third downs, allowing a conversion rate of 34.8 percent.

New Orleans ranked fourth in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game (91.3). It was the second season in a row in the top four after allowing 80.2 per game and ranking second in 2018.

Roster Refresher

Added: S Malcolm Jenkins, WR Emmanuel Sanders, FB Michael Burton

Top two picks of 2020 NFL Draft: Michigan C Cesar Ruiz at No. 24 overall and Wisconsin LB Zack Baun at 74

Departed: QB Teddy Bridgewater (Panthers), WR Ted Ginn, Jr. (Bears), G Larry Warford, LB A.J. Klein (Bills), CB Eli Apple (Raiders), S Vonn Bell (Bengals)

Icebreakers

During the 2020 offseason, Saints Head Coach Sean Payton tested positive for COVID-19 but recovered with minimal symptoms. He has led New Orleans to a 37-11 mark in the past three regular seasons. … Minnesota has defeated New Orleans twice in the past three postseasons: in the January 2018 Divisional round and most recently in the Wild Card matchup in January 2020, an upset of the No. 3 seed. The Saints appeared in the playoffs last season for the sixth time of the decade. … New Orleans ranked sixth in the NFL with an average of 5.92 yards per play in 2019. … The Saints defense allowed opponents to score on 81.5 percent of trips inside the 10-yard line, which ranked 29th in the league. … QB Drew Brees is preparing for his 20th NFL season and 15th in New Orleans. … WR Michael Thomas led the NFL in receiving yards with 1,725. … RBs Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray combined in 2019 for 1,434 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. … DE Cam Jordan, son of Vikings Ring of Honor member Steve Jordan, led the team with 15.5 sacks. … A total of 11 Saints players were named to the Pro Bowl last season.

Week 17

Vikings at Lions | by @Eric_L_Smith

Noon (CT) | Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021 | Ford Field

Series Results

Vikings W-L-T: 76-39-2

Home: 41-16-1; Away: 35-23-1

Last time in regular season: Vikings defeated Lions 20-7 in Minnesota on Dec. 8, 2019

Last time in regular season in Detroit: Vikings defeated Lions 42-30 in Detroit on Oct. 20, 2019

2019 Stats

Detroit offense

The Lions started three different quarterbacks in 2019 — Matthew Stafford, Jeff Driskel and David Blough — marking the first time they started three different quarterbacks since 2010 (Stafford, Shaun Hill and Drew Stanton).

Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones, Jr., tied his career high with nine touchdown catches in 2019, with four of those coming in Week 7 against the Vikings.

Detroit defense

The Lions ranked 26th in points allowed per game (26.4), their worst mark since 2012 when Detroit ranked 27th at 27.3 points allowed per game.

Detroit tied with Dallas and Arizona for the fewest interceptions in the league with seven.

Roster Refresher

Added: WR Geronimo Allison, LB Jamie Collins, QB Chase Daniel, DB Duron Harmon, S Jayron Kearse, LB Reggie Ragland, CB Darryl Roberts, DT Danny Shelton, CB Desmond Trufant, T Halapoulivaati Vaitai and DT Nick Williams

First two picks of 2020 NFL Draft: Ohio State CB Jeff Okudah at No. 3 overall and Georgia RB D'Andre Swift at No. 35

Departed (new team if player has signed)/contract expired: QB Jeff Driskel (Broncos), RB J.D. McKissic (Redskins), WR Jermaine Kearse, T Rick Wagner (Packers), G Graham Glasgow (Broncos), DT Damon 'Snacks' Harrison, DT A'Shawn Robinson (Rams), LB Devon Kennard (Cardinals), CB Darius Slay (Eagles), CB Rashaan Melvin (Jaguars), S Tavon Wilson and P Sam Martin (Broncos)

Icebreakers

Lions Head Coach Matt Patricia is entering his third season in Detroit and has a record of 9-22-1, including a 2-10 mark in NFC North games. … Stafford played in just eight games in 2019, his fewest since the 2010 season. He threw for 2,499 yards with 19 touchdowns and five interceptions. … RB Kerryon Johnson was also limited to eight games, rushing for 403 yards and three scores. … WR Kenny Golladay made his first Pro Bowl in 2019 after totaling 65 catches for 1,190 yards and 11 scores. It marked his second consecutive 1,000-yard season. … Detroit's offense ranked 18th overall with 21.3 points per game but surpassed the 20-point mark just once after Stafford was injured in Week 8.

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