The Vikings came out of their bye with a big win on the road in Washington last week and they'll look to carry the momentum from that triumph and from a 7-2 start to the season into this week's matchup with the red-hot Los Angeles Rams, who boast a stingy defense of their own and the highest-scoring offense in the NFL.
Here are five Vikings-Rams storylines to watch this week.
1. NFC division leaders collide at U.S. Bank Stadium
This week's game is not in prime time, but it's certainly worthy of that type of stage. The NFC North's Vikings versus NFC West's Los Angeles Rams is one of just two games this week that feature division leaders playing one another and is one of just four games that feature two teams with winning records. You never know, the outcome of this week's game could even determine the location of the next matchup between these teams in January.
2. Quarterback quandary continues
Find any 5 Storylines article since Week 2. Copy. Paste. Teddy Bridgewater's remarkable comeback continues, as he was on the active roster for the first time in 15 months last week. Sam Bradford was placed on the Reserve/Injured list. Questions about the quarterback position continue to swirl around the Vikings. And all Case Keenum does is go out and help the Vikings win games. At the end of the day, the Vikings are in a good spot because they have two quarterbacks on the roster whom they believe can effectively lead the team to victory. If Keenum gets the nod, he'll have an opportunity to go against his former team, an opportunity any competitor values.
3. Rams defense poses plenty of problems, too
A lot of focus this week will go toward the Vikings stingy defense going against the high-powered Rams offense. But don't lose sight of the Rams defense. Los Angeles has the NFL's No. 3 scoring defense, surrendering 18.0 points per game, and they rank No. 1 in takeaways with 19, No. 9 in passing defense and No. 12 in 3rd down defense. There are five former first-round picks in the Rams front seven, and that group paces a defensive unit that has allowed only 24 points combined in the last three games, including a shutout of the Arizona Cardinals three weeks ago. Los Angeles hasn't surrendered more than 17 points in a game since Week 4.
4. Kai keeps it going
Reliability and clutch performances from Kai Forbath have been as big a part of the Vikings 7-2 start as anything. Forbath was clutch when connecting on a 53-yard field goal last week in Washington, as that kick gave the Vikings a two-score cushion with 7:45 to play in a game that finished as an eight-point victory for the Vikings. Forbath is now five of five on field goals of 50+ yards in 2017, he's 22 of 23 (95.7%) on all field goal tries for the season and he's 38 of 39 on field goal attempts since signing with the Vikings in the middle of last season.
5. Short week, huge game coming up next
No matter what happens in their games this week, the Vikings and Lions will meet next week with much on the line. To increase the drama, the game falls on a short week as the Vikings head to Detroit for a Thanksgiving Day battle for the second consecutive season. Neither team can afford to overlook this week's opponent, but there's no question that next week's showdown looms large in both the NFC North race and in the NFC playoff picture.