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Early Look: Vikings Hosting Browns & Welcoming Legends Home in Week 4

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings (1-2) are set to host the Browns (2-1) at noon (CT) Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Minnesota celebrated the grand reopening of the venue it has called home since 2016 in Week 3 as a capacity crowd filled U.S. Bank Stadium to the rafters with its raucous energy and helped Minnesota defeat Seattle 30-17 in the first regular-season game with fans in more than 630 days.

Now, the organization is happy to welcome back more than 100 Vikings alumni who are scheduled to return for Legends Weekend and the Ring of Honor induction ceremony of Kevin Williams.

The six-time Pro Bowler and five-time First-Team All-Pro selection by The Associated Press will be recognized.

This will be Cleveland's first game at U.S. Bank Stadium and mark the return to Minnesota by several in the Browns organization with ties to Minnesota. The connections include Browns Head Coach Kevin Stefanski, who assisted Minnesota in multiple roles for 14 seasons before his hire by Cleveland last year, and backup QB Case Keenum, who tossed the Minneapolis Miracle in the building on Jan. 14, 2018.

Here's an Early Look at the Vikings Week 4 matchup against the Browns, presented by Minnesota Eye Consultants, the Official LASIK partner of the Minnesota Vikings.

Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Browns.

Click below to download the game preview release by the Vikings public relations department.

STAT OF THE WEEK

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins made his 50th regular-season start as a Viking last week and recorded his 26th victory, the most by a Minnesota QB in his first 50 starts. Cousins continued a strong run that began last season. In his past 10 games, he has totaled the following stats:

3,036 passing yards (second-most in NFL)

26 passing touchdowns (third-most)

2 interceptions (tied, third-fewest)

70.5 completion percentage (third-highest)

NORSEMAN NOTES

Cousins has not thrown an interception in his past 200 attempts. He is one attempt shy of tying his franchise record (Oct. 13, 2019 to Dec. 2, 2019). Cousins' eight passing touchdowns are a record by a Vikings QB through the first three games of a season.

Adam Thielen enters Week 4 with 418 career receptions. He passed Jake Reed (413) for sixth in franchise history with six catches against the Seahawks.

Justin Jefferson's 1,655 receiving yards are the second-most in NFL history through a player's first 19 games. Only Cleveland's Odell Beckham, Jr., (1,829 with the New York Giants) totaled more.

The Vikings are tied with the Titans for the most games with a 100-yard rusher since the start of the 2020 season. Dalvin Cook has nine of those games for Minnesota, and Alexander Mattison recorded his second while filling in for Cook in Week 3.

Tyler Conklin set single-game career highs of seven catches and 70 yards against the Seahawks.

Everson Griffen recorded his first sack as a Viking in front of fans since Dec. 8, 2019. His takedown of Russell Wilson pushed his career total to 81.5.

Eric Kendricks recorded his 10th career sack Sunday and his first since splitting one against Philadelphia in 2019.

KNOW THE FOE

Head Coach: Kevin Stefanski, second season with Cleveland (13-6 in regular seasons, 1-1 in postseason)

After facing former Vikings assistant Pete Carroll, the NFL's oldest active head coach in the NFL, the Vikings will see another former assistant who is one of the youngest at 39 years old.

QB Baker Mayfield (2018) and DE Myles Garrett (2017) will be the third and fourth No. 1 overall picks out of the past five drafts that the Vikings will face in their first four games of 2021. Minnesota lost to Joe Burrow (2020) and the Bengals in Week 1 and Kyler Murray (2019) and the Cardinals in Week 2.

Mayfield has thrown 28 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions in 19 regular-season games with Stefanski at the helm. Prior to Stefanski's hire, Mayfield threw 49 touchdowns but also tossed 35 interceptions.

Eight of Cleveland's 10 touchdowns this season have been scored via runs. Nick Chubb leads the Browns with 262 yards and three scores. Kareem Hunt has added 165 yards and two touchdowns. Hunt also leads the Browns with 104 receiving yards.

Garrett recorded 4.5 sacks last week against Chicago when Cleveland totaled nine on the day. The Browns limited the Bears to one net passing yard.

The Browns have only allowed seven touchdowns and 60 points through three games.

View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster as of Oct. 19, 2021.

CONNECTIONS

VIKINGS-BROWNS

Vikings DT Sheldon Richardson played for the Browns from 2019-20.

Minnesota K Greg Joseph played for Cleveland in 2018.

Vikings receivers coach Keenan McCardell played for the Browns from 1992-95.

Browns QB Case Keenum (2017), DE Ifeadi Odenigbo (2017-18 offseasons; 2019-20 seasons), LB Elijah Lee (2017 offseason) and K Chase McLaughlin (2020 practice squad) previously spend time with the Vikings.

Cleveland Director of Football Administration Taylor Young spent three years with Minnesota prior to joining the Browns this offseason.

Browns coaches who were formerly with the Vikings include the following: Stefanski (2006-19), Defensive Coordinator Joe Woods (2006-13), Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer (2011-18), Pass Game Coordinator/Defensive Backs Coach Jeff Howard (2013-19), Pass Game Coordinator/WR Coach Chad O'Shea (2006-08), assistant defensive backs coach Brandon Lynch (2013), tight ends coach Drew Petzing (2014-19), Senior Offensive Assistant Kevin Rogers (2006-10) and assistant strength and conditioning coach Evan Marcus (2014-15).

Vikings coaches who were formerly with the Browns include the following: Assistant Head Coach/Co-Defensive Coordinator Andre Patterson (2003-04), running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu (2004) and assistant strength and conditioning coach Derik Keyes (2013-16).

LOCAL CONNECTIONS

Vikings GM Rick Spielman (Massillon), Director of College Scouting Mike Sholiton (Cleveland) and practice squad RB A.J. Rose, Jr. (Cleveland) are from Ohio.

Cleveland Player Development Coordinator Carson Walch (Elgin) is from Minnesota, and Browns Director of Scouting Research Mike Cetta attended the University of Minnesota.

FORMER PRO TEAMMATES

Vikings DT Dalvin Tomlinson and Giants WR Odell Beckham, Jr. at the Giants

Minnesota K Greg Joseph and CB Tye Smith (practice squad) with Cleveland T Jack Conklin at Tennessee

Vikings WR Dede Westbrook with Browns S Ronnie Harrison, Jr., and John Johnson III at the Jaguars

Minnesota LS Andrew DePaola and Cleveland CB Troy Hill with Oakland in 2018

Vikings CB Bashaud Breeland and Browns RB Kareem Hunt with the Chiefs

Minnesota S Xavier Woods with Cleveland LB Malcolm Smith and Joe Jackson in Dallas

FORMER COLLEGE TEAMMATES

Former LSU Tigers teammates include the following players: Vikings WR Justin Jefferson and Browns S Grant Delpit and CB Greedy Williams.

Tomlinson with Harrison and Browns LB Mack Wilson, Sr., at Alabama

Joseph and Cleveland TE Harrison Bryant at Florida Atlantic

Vikings TE Chris Herndon and Browns TE David Njoku at Miami

Minnesota S Josh Metellus and Cleveland WR Donovan Peoples-Jones at Michigan in 2019

Vikings RB Ameer Abdullah and Browns FB Andy Janovich at Nebraska

Minnesota G Wyatt Davis and Cleveland DT Tommy Togiai at Ohio State

Westbrook and Browns QB Baker Mayfield at Oklahoma

Vikings DE Everson Griffen and Smith at Southern Cal

VIKINGS TOP PERFORMERS VS. BROWNS

CAREER TOTALS

Offense

Kirk Cousins: 2 games (2-0 with Washington); 47-of-64 passing, 73.4 completion percentage, 512 passing yards, 5 TDs, 109.6 passer rating

Adam Thielen: 1 game; 5 receptions for 98 yards and 1 TD on 10 targets

Defense

Harrison Smith: 2 games; 12 tackles (12 solo), 2 TFL, 1 INT, 1 pass defended

Nick Vigil: 7 games (all with Cincinnati); 28 tackles (18 solo), 3 TFL, 1 INT, 2 passes defended

VIKINGS BIG DAYS VS. BROWNS

Kirk Cousins: 21-of-27 passing (77.8 percent) for 183 yards with 3 TDs for a passer rating of 116.5 on Oct. 2, 2016

Adam Thielen: 5 receptions for 98 yards and an 18-yard touchdown on Oct. 29, 2017

Harrison Smith: 5 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT on Sept. 22, 2013

Nick Vigil: 4 tackles, 1 INT (returned 34 yards), 2 passes defended on Dec. 29, 2019

VIKINGS-BROWNS SERIES NOTES

1. The Vikings have won just 12 of 16 contests, including a 27-7 victory in the 1969 NFL Championship (the teams' only playoff contest). The series also includes the "Miracle at the Met" Hail Mary pass from Tommy Kramer to Ahmad Rashad that clinched the NFC Central for Minnesota on Dec. 14, 1980.

2. The series began in 1965 with a 27-17 win by Minnesota at Cleveland. Bill Brown rushed for 138 yards and a 1-yard touchdown and caught five passes for 46 yards, including a 2-yard score from Fran Tarkenton. Tommy Mason added 66 yards on 12 rushes and a 72-yard touchdown catch.

3. The previous meeting was held at Twickenham Stadium in London, England. Case Keenum passed for 288 yards and two scores, including an 18-yarder to Adam Thielen. Thielen was named "Man of the Match" at Twickenham Stadium after totaling 98 yards on five catches. Minnesota improved to 6-2 on the season.

Longest Vikings winning streak in series: Seven games (Nov. 9, 1969 — Sept. 4, 1983)

Longest Vikings losing streak in series: Two games (Oct. 26, 1986 — Dec. 17, 1989)

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