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Game Preview: Texans at Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings (4-0), winners of seven-straight regular-season games, host the Houston Texans (3-1) at U.S. Bank Stadium in Week 5. The matchup is the second-straight home game for Minnesota. The Vikings hold a 3-0 edge in the series, all-time, with the most recent matchup between the franchises coming in 2012, a 23-6 Vikings win in Houston.

The Vikings defense, which ranks second in the NFL with 12.5 points allowed per game, has totaled 15 sacks, the second most in the NFL. DE Everson Griffen (is tied for third with 4.0), DE Danielle Hunter (tied for 12th with 3.0) and DT Linval Joseph (tied 12th with 3.0) each rank in the top 15 in the NFL in sacks. The Vikings defense limited the Giants to 10 points, led by CB Xavier Rhodes, who snagged his third career interception in the 24-10 win in Week 4.

TE Kyle Rudolph has hauled in touchdowns in three consecutive weeks, tying him for first in the NFL among all TEs with three on the season. Rudolph also ranks fifth in receiving yards (221) and sixth in receptions (19) among TEs this season. Vikings QB Sam Bradford has recorded a 105.6 passer rating — third in the NFL — and has thrown for 719 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in his three starts with the Vikings. Bradford's 69.5 completion percentage also ranks third in the NFL through Week 4.

BROADCAST COVERAGE 

TELEVISION: CBS; Play-by-Play: Spero Dedes; Analyst: Solomon Wilcots

NATIONAL RADIO: SPORTS USA; Play-by-Play: Wayne Randazzo; Analyst: John Robinson

LOCAL RADIO: KFAN-FM 100.3/KTLK-AM 1130

Play-by-Play: Paul Allen; Analyst: Pete Bercich; Sideline Reporters: Greg Coleman and Ben Leber

Pre-Game Show: Mike Mussman – 10 a.m. (CT)

KFAN and KTLK serve as the flagship stations for the 72-station, 5-state Vikings Radio Network. 

NORSEMAN NOTABLES

  • The Vikings defense has allowed 50 points through the first four games, the lowest mark for the franchise since 1988 when allowing 47 in the first four contests.
  • After totaling 19 catches for 221 yards and three touchdowns through four games, TE Kyle Rudolph moved into second for receptions by a TE in team history with 201. Rudolph, who caught his 25th career touchdown in Week 4, is just three touchdowns shy of matching Steve Jordan's Vikings team record for touchdowns by a TE with 28.
  • The Vikings defense is second in the NFL with 15 sacks, tied for second in interceptions (six), tied for fourth in forced fumbles (five) and has allowed only nine plays of 20 yards, tied for third-fewest in the NFL.
  • WR Stefon Diggs, who is fifth in the NFL with 372 receiving yards, is tied for fourth in the NFL with 18 receptions resulting in a first down. The Vikings are 4-0 in games where Diggs records 100 receiving yards.
  • The Vikings rank first in the NFL with a 10 turnover differential and have not committed an offensive turnover this season.
  • The Vikings defense sacked Cam Newton eight times in Week 3, marking the ninth time in 36 regular-season games under Zimmer the Vikings have recorded at least 5 sacks in a game.
  • DE Everson Griffen had his seventh career game of at least 2.0 sacks vs. Carolina in Week 3 when he brought down Cam Newton three times. Griffen earned his second career NFC Defensive Player of the Week honor for his effort.
  • DE Danielle Hunter, who was second in the NFL among all rookies with 6.0 sacks last season, has 3.0 sacks through the first 4 games. Hunter, who will turn 22 on Oct. 29, is still the second-youngest player on the Vikings roster (Laquon Treadwell, 21).
  • Hunter recorded the Vikings first safety since Jared Allen tackled Willis McGahee in the end zone vs. Denver (12/4/11). Hunter is also the first player since Allen in 2009 to record a safety and return a fumble for a TD in the same season.
  • The Vikings have won seven consecutive regular season games for the first time since Minnesota won nine in row at the end of the 2002 season to the start of the '03 campaign.

VIKINGS-TEXANS CONNECTIONS

· Texans LB Brian Peters signed with the Vikings during the 2015 offseason after playing in the CFL. Peters was added to the Vikings practice squad in 2015 before signing with the Texans to their active roster on 9/30/15.

· Texans T Chris Clark spent the 2008 and '09 seasons on the Vikings practice squad. Clark spent the 2010 offseason with the Vikings before being released during final cuts.

· Vikings Director of College Scouting Jamaal Stephenson spent 2 years with the Texans as a College Administrator prior to joining Minnesota in 2002.

LOCAL CONNECTIONS

· Texans Secondary Coach John Butler coached at University of Minnesota from 2007-10 serving as the Special Teams Coordinator/LBs Coach.

· Texans Offensive Quality Control/Assistant OL Coach Tim Kelly at Minnesota State-Moorehead.

· The Vikings have 4 players on their active roster who hail from Texas - DE Danielle Hunter (Katy), TE David Morgan (Marble Falls), DE Brian Robison (Splendora) and S Andrew Sendejo (San Antonio). Joining Morgan (UT-San Antonio), Robison (Texas) and Sendejo (Rice), FB Zach Line (SMU) completes the list of Vikings who attended college in Texas.

COLLEGE CONNECTIONS

· Vikings rookie DBs - CB Mackensie Alexander and S Jayron Kearse - were teammates with Texans rookie NT D.J. Reader.

· Texans TE Ryan Griffin and Vikings DT Shamar Stephen were teammates at Connecticut.

· CB Trae Waynes played at Michigan State with Texans LB Max Bullough DE Joel Heath and WR Keith Mumphery.

· Texans G Xavier Su'a-Filo played at UCLA with Vikings LBs Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks, P Jeff Locke and LS Kevin McDermott.

VIKINGS BIG DAYS VS. TEXANS

  • Vikings QB Sam Bradford, as a member of Rams in 2013, threw for 117 yards, career-high 3 touchdowns, no interceptions and a career-high 134.6 passer rating at Houston (10/13/13).
  • LB Chad Greenway totaled nine tackles, 1.0 sack, 2 TFLs and a forced fumble vs. Houston (11/2/08). Greenway sacked QB Matt Schaub for his second career sack.
  • TE Kyle Rudolph caught three passes for 39 yards and a touchdown at Houston (12/23/12) in a Vikings 23-6 win.
  • Vikings S Harrison Smith corralled his first career sack on QB T.J. Yates during his rookie campaign at Houston (12/23/12). Smith totaled seven tackles, 1.0 sack, a forced fumble and a pass breakup in the victory.
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