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Expert Picks: Vikings Return Home to Face Rams

The Vikings will face a St. Louis Rams defense that has not allowed a touchdown in the past two weeks on Sunday. Minnesota carries a three-game winning streak into this weekend. The Rams have won their last two games against the San Francisco 49ers and the Cleveland Browns. We scoped the web to see what experts and analysts are predicting for the outcome of the Vikings' upcoming matchup against the Rams.

This is close to being the Game of the Week the way these teams are playing. Both are clearly in the playoff hunt. The Rams are winning behind the defense and Todd Gurley running it. The Vikings are 25th in yards per rush, so he might have some room. But I think the Vikings at home after two road wins will find a way behind their back, Adrian Peterson.

Vikings 23, Rams 17--Pete Prisco, CBS Sports

This is a very intriguing game in the NFC playoff race. It's also going to be one of the few times in Adrian Peterson's career that he hasn't been the best running back on the field. Todd Gurley will have a huge game and the Rams will establish themselves as playoff contenders.

Rams 28, Vikings 20--Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk

In five wins, the Vikings have beaten teams with a combined record of 9-30. The Rams' victories include wins over the Seahawks and Cardinals, who have won 10 games between them. As the Vikings enter a six-game stretch that will show the world whether they're for real, the run begins with a loss to a team better than anyone Minnesota has beaten.

Rams 20, Vikings 17--Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk

Both teams are in the thick of their division races and the NFC playoff chase. Both have rookie offensive threats who are making impacts earlier than expected: Gurley, who had ACL surgery just over 11 months ago, and Vikings WR/KR Stefon Diggs, emerging as a fifth-round steal. Gurley, though, has Tavon Austin to help, a multi-purpose player who the Rams couldn't figure out how to use to the max until lately. This  game is more watchable than you think.

Vikings 36, Rams 30--Sporting News

Each Tuesday,'s **NFL simulation engine* generates predictions and box scores for every NFL game for the coming week. The highly sophisticated algorithms simulate every play of every game to produce each team's likelihood to win. Each matchup is simulated 501 times.*

Win Percentage: 52.1 %, Average Score: Vikings 23.4, Rams

FiveThirtyEight's 2015 NFL forecast uses an Elo-based model to calculate each team's chances of advancing to the playoffs and winning Super Bowl 50. Playoff probabilities are based on 20,000 simulations of the season and will update after each game.

Pre-game win probabilities: Vikings

Fans of the St. Louis Rams and Minnesota Vikings haven't exactly had an abundance of things to cheer about in recent seasons.

However, at the midway point of the 2015 season, the two teams are a combined 9-5. Both are in the thick of the playoff race in the NFC.

Given the Packers' loss at Denver last week, the Vikings are only a game out of first place in a division very few people gave them a shot at winning entering the season. And's Ben Goessling believes the next challenge the Vikings face is one of acclimation.

Acclimation to the fact they're good:

The Minnesota Vikings are on their first three-game win streak since 2012 -- the last time they went to the playoffs -- and they've posted back-to-back road wins in the division for the first time since 2009. They're just a game back of the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North, and they've earned enough respect that their Nov. 22 game against the Packers has been moved into a late-afternoon national TV slot.

In other words, they're somewhere between Stages 2 and 3 of Mike Zimmer's Four Levels of NFL Learning. ...

Zimmer said Monday he's talked to the Vikings for a while about how there are four things a team has to learn in the NFL. "First you learn how to compete, then you learn how to win, then you learn how to handle winning, and then you learn how to be a champion.

"So we're somewhere in that stage of learning how to win and learning how to handle winning. But we're still young. These are things that we have to understand."

If the Vikings are going to continue through the syllabus, they have to pass tests like this week's matchup with the Rams.

Our voters expect them to do just that.

Vikings--Gary Davenport, Bleacher Report

5 of 8 experts pick the Vikings, CBS Sports

6 of 8 experts pick the Vikings, FOX Sports

8 of 8 experts pick the Vikings, Bleacher Report

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