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Early Look: Vikings at Patriots

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings picked up a key division win in prime time on Sunday night over Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, but another surefire Hall of Fame quarterback awaits in Week 13.

Minnesota is set for a rare trip to New England to play the Patriots as the Vikings continue their push for the playoffs.

With a 24-17 win over Green Bay in Week 12 to move to 6-4-1 on the season, including a 2-1-1 record in NFC North play, Minnesota would be the fifth seed as a Wild Card if the season ended today.

New England also picked up a division win with a 27-13 victory over the New York Jets. Quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots lead the AFC East with an 8-3 mark.

Here's a look at the Vikings Week 13 matchup against the Patriots:

Passing: Kirk Cousins **showed up and showed out** on Sunday Night Football against the Packers, completing 29 of 38 passes for 342 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.

He finished with a season-high passer rating of 129.5. His second-best rating was 118.8 in Week 2 when Cousins threw for 425 yards and four touchdowns at Green Bay.

All in all, Cousins threw for 767 yards in two games against Green Bay in 2018, which set a franchise record for the most passing yards against the Packers in a single season. (Randall Cunningham had the previous record of 706 yards in 1998).

Cousins has thrown for 3,289 yards with 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions while completing 71.7 percent of his passes in 2018.

Brady completed 20 of 31 passes for 283 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions in a win over the Jets.

The four-time Super Bowl MVP has passed for 3,031 yards with 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season.

Brady ranks fourth all-time with 69,190 career passing yards and 507 passing touchdowns. He needs one more score to tie Hall of Famer Brett Favre for third.

Rushing: The Vikings grinded out 91 rushing yards on 29 carries against Green Bay.

Latavius Murray had 11 attempts for 33 yards, and Dalvin Cook had 10 carries for 29 yards. Cousins added 17 yards on six rushes.

Murray leads Minnesota with 455 rushing yards and five scores. Cook has 228 yards on the ground in 2018. The Vikings rank 30th in rushing with 85.3 yards per game.

Patriots running back Sony Michel had 21 carries for 133 yards and a touchdown Sunday, and James White added 73 yards on nine carries.

Michel leads New England with 586 rushing yards and five scores. White has 303 yards and four scores. The Patriots rank 12th with 118.2 rushing yards per game.

Receiving: Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs **bested Green Bay’s secondary** on Sunday for the second time this season.

Thielen had eight receptions for 125 yards and a score, and Diggs had eight catches for 77 yards and a touchdown.

The duo had 37 combined catches for 461 yards and five touchdowns against the Packers in 2018.

Thielen has 93 catches for 1,138 yards and eight scores in 2018. Diggs has 79 receptions for 790 yards and six touchdowns.

Tight end Kyle Rudolph had seven receptions for 63 yards against the Packers and has 43 catches for 425 yards and two scores in 2018.

Cook caught his first-career touchdown pass on Sunday and had three catches for 47 yards.

New England wide receiver Julian Edelman had four catches for 84 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. Tight end Rob Gronkowski had three receptions for 56 yards and a score. Josh Gordon had a team-high five catches for 70 yards.

White leads the Patriots with 67 receptions for 567 yards and six touchdowns. Gordon, Edelman and Gronkowski each have 500-plus receiving yards and multiple touchdowns.

Defense: The Vikings defense **allowed just 254 yards** to Rodgers and the Packers, the lowest output by the quarterback in a full game against the Vikings since Head Coach Mike Zimmer's hire in 2014.

Sheldon Richardson had a pair of sacks, and Tom Johnson and Everson Griffen each got to Rodgers once. Green Bay was also just 2-for-10 on third downs.

Minnesota ranks third in yards allowed per game (314.7) and is 10th in points allowed per game (22.4).

New England ranks 22nd in yards allowed per game (377.5) and is tied for 11th in points allowed per game (22.6).

Stephon Gilmore had an interception against the Jets. Deatrich Wise and Trey Flowers each had a sack.

Gilmore is one of three Patriots with two interceptions. Wise leads New England with 4.5 sacks.

Special Teams: Vikings kicker Dan Bailey made one of three field goals Sunday and is 15 of 20 on the season.

Matt Wile averaged 45.8 yards per punt, and helped force a turnover when Green Bay fumbled on a punt in the fourth quarter.

Marcus Sherels, who recovered the fumble, had two punt returns for 20 yards. Minnesota did not have a kickoff return.

Former Vikings Pro Bowl kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson is now with New England and averages 30.9 yards per kickoff return. Patterson has a kickoff return for a touchdown this season.

Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski is 21 of 24 on field goals in 2018. Punter Ryan Allen is averaging 46.3 yards per punt.

Over The Years

The Vikings are 4-8 all-time against New England in a series that dates back to 1970. Brady and the Patriots have had the upper hand of late as New England has won the past four matchups.

Minnesota won the first meeting in 1970 at Harvard Stadium, but the Vikings are just 1-5 on the road against the Patriots since that victory.

The 12 total meetings between the teams are tied for the fourth-fewest by the Vikings against another opponent.

Last meeting: Patriots 30, Vikings 7, Sept. 14, 2014, in Minneapolis

The Vikings were handed a lopsided loss in Minnesota's first home game under Zimmer.

Minnesota had won its season opener against the Rams before coming home to the University of Minnesota, where the Vikings played from 2014-15 while U.S. Bank Stadium was being built.

The Vikings struck first on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Matt Cassel to Matt Asiata, but the Patriots responded with 30 unanswered points.

New England scored a rushing touchdown and added a field goal before Brady threw a 9-yard touchdown pass a few minutes into the second quarter.

But the dagger came when the Patriots blocked a field goal and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown with just seconds left in the first half.

Minnesota limited New England to just six points in the second half but couldn't get anything going offensively as the Vikings finished with just 217 total yards.

The Patriots had just 292 total yards as Brady threw for just 149 yards in the win.

New England went on to win Super Bowl XLIX against Seattle, and the Vikings finished 7-9 in Zimmer's first season in Minnesota.