View images from the Vikings' mock game on Saturday morning at Carlmont High School in Belmont, Calif.
With kickoff fast-approaching, here are a few final thoughts about today's game.
How to Take in Today's Game Game Time: 3:05 p.m. CT TV:FOX* adio: *Vikings Radio Network; KFAN-FM 100.3/KTCN-AM 1130* Moile: **FL Mobile (exclusively on Verizon)
Another chapter in the Bridgewater-Carr comparison
Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater and Raiders QB Derek Carr will be linked for the duration of their careers because they were taken four spots apart in the 2014 NFL Draft. Carr was installed as the immediate starter in Oakland while Bridgewater began his career as a backup and ascended to starter early in his rookie season. Entering today, Carr has 24 starts and Bridgewater has 20. Carr's individual numbers are better, but Bridgewater has helped guide his team to more wins and has led impressive comeback wins and clutch drives. No matter how you slice it, the future looks good for both teams and their young QBs are a big reason why. But the comparisons will likely never stop, and today's game will be just the latest chapter in that book.
Stat to watch: Negative plays
Why has the Raiders offense been so explosive of late? And why has the Vikings defense been so stingy of late? Lots of reasons go into both, but there is one important common thread – negative plays. In their last 188 offensive snaps, the Raiders have only 13 (6.9%) negative plays. This means Oakland's offense is stayed on schedule when it comes to down and distance. The Vikings defense has created 30 negative plays in the last three weeks, meaning they are forcing the opposition to be behind schedule in down and distance, which is helping the Vikings defense be so good in another key area – 3rd down defense. The Vikings have the NFL's #2-ranked 3rd down defense (29.7%).
Vikings LB depth could be tested today
With Anthony Barr questionable (hand) and Eric Kendricks doubtful (ribs), the Vikings LB depth will be tested today. The group responded last week, as Chad Greenway played in all 74 defensive snaps and led the team in tackles while Brandon Watts was thrust into action and filled in well. Even if Barr is able to play, Greenway will see the field more than usual this week and Watts will be involved in all base defense downs, at least. It was great depth at the position that made the Vikings feel comfortable enough to deal Gerald Hodges earlier in the season, and so far that decision has worked out well for the team, especially with the way Kendricks has emerged. But the depth is likely be tested once again today.
Hard not to look ahead
The next game is always the biggest game. For the Vikings, that's today against the Raiders. But it's hard not to look ahead to next week's game against Green Bay. Regardless of what happens in the Vikings game today or the Packers (hosting Detroit) game today, first place in the NFC North will be on the line next week when Green Bay visits Minnesota. One team can take a one-game lead today with a win and a loss by the other team, but the team that falls behind this week can leapfrog the other with a win next week because the records will be identical but they will hold the head-to-head tie-breaker.
Weather by the Bay
A lot of rain fell in the Oakland area early Sunday morning, but the precipitation seems to have broken for now and there is no more rain in the forecast. The forecast does call for stiff winds, however, and temperatures in the mid-50s.