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Game Preview: Vikings at Redskins

Following their bye week, the Minnesota Vikings (6-2) will travel to take on the Washington Redskins (4-4) at FedExField in Week 10. The Vikings own a 2-1 road record while the Redskins boast a 2-2 home record in 2017. The Vikings 6-2 start has matched the best start through 8 games under Head Coach Mike Zimmer. The Vikings currently have a four-game winning streak, tied for the third-best streak in the NFL and also the third-longest streak since Zimmer become head coach in 2014.

Despite having key offensive starters miss extended time due to injuries, the Vikings offense ranks 11th in the NFL in total yards per game (358.5) after eight games, a vast improvement from ranking last after eight contests in 2016 (298.8). The Vikings offense has been led by the consistent play from WR Adam Thielen, who is sixth in the NFL with 627 receiving yards and 11th in the NFL with 48 receptions. Thielen is the only player in the NFL to have five-plus receptions in every game this season. QB Case Keenum has stepped in to start six games, posting a 4-2 record and compiling seven touchdowns, three interceptions and an 88.8 passer rating. RBs Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray have filled the void left by rookie starting RB Dalvin Cook, helping the Vikings rush for 132.0 yards per game since Week 5, sixth in the NFL in that span. McKinnon has totaled 424 yards from scrimmage (261 rushing, 163 receiving) in his past four games, the ninth-best mark in the NFL since Week 5. Murray registered his first 100-yard game as a Viking by rushing for 113 yards and his first Vikings touchdown on 18 attempts (6.3 avg.) vs. Baltimore (10/22).

The Vikings defense has held opponents to 282.1 yards per game (fourth in the NFL) and 16.9 points per game (third in the NFL). The Vikings defense has fared well against both the run and the pass this season, limiting opponents to 81.4 rushing yards per game (third in the NFL) and 200.8 passing yards per game (seventh in the NFL), and is one of three teams (DEN and CAR) in the NFL to rank in the top 10 in each category.

The reigning NFC Defensive Player of the Month DE Everson Griffen has secured a sack in eight consecutive games, tying the franchise record. He is the only defender in the NFL to have at least 1.0 sack in every game in 2017. Griffen is third in the NFL with 10 sacks this season. This is the third time in his career that he has reached double digits (12 in 2014, 10.5 in 2015). LB Eric Kendricks leads the Vikings with 80 tackles and has tied his career high with 13 tackles on three separate occasions this season (at PIT, vs BAL, at CLE). S Harrison Smith has snagged a team-leading three interceptionss this season, which is tied for third in the NFL.

BROADCAST

NATIONAL TELEVISION: FOX

Play-by-Play: Kevin Burkhardt            

Analyst: Charles Davis

Sideline: Pam Oliver

NATIONAL RADIO: WESTWOOD ONE SPORTS

Play-by-Play: John Sadak

Analyst: Mike Mayock 

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, five-state Vikings Radio Network.  

NORSEMAN NOTABLES

The Vikings defense has been one of the stingiest in the NFL on third downs, holding opponents to a 27.7 percent (28/101) third-down conversion rate, the second-best mark in the NFL.

Since Week 5, RB Jerick McKinnon is the only player in the NFL with 20-plus receptions, 400-plus scrimmage yards and four touchdowns. McKinnon has played in only 60.4 percent (180/298) of the offensive snaps since Week 5.

Vikings DE Everson Griffen has a sack in eight consecutive games, tying the longest streak in Vikings history. DE Jim Marshall (1969) and DE Jared Allen (2011) also had a sack in eight consecutive contests.

TE Kyle Rudolph has caught seven of his eight red zone targets, the second-most RZ catches by a TE in 2017.

The Vikings offense is sixth in the NFL with 37 plays of 20-plus yards: 28 passing (tied for 10th in NFL) and nine rushing (third in NFL).

The Vikings have eight scoring drives of 80-plus yards in 2017, four more than they totaled in all of 2016.

K Kai Forbath is tied for second in the NFL in FGs made with 21 in 2017 and has connected on 15 consecutive FGs, including going 10/10 the past two games.

The Vikings have allowed only 10 sacks this season, tied for the second-fewest in the NFL.

STAT OF THE WEEK

The Vikings defense has allowed only nine rushes of 10-plus yards in 2017, the best in the NFL.

Opponent runs of 10-plus yards - 2017

Rk) Team Opp. 10 runs

1) Minnesota Vikings: 9

2) Tennessee Titans: 15

3t) Detroit Lions: 16

3t) Cleveland Browns: 16

3t) Philadelphia Eagles: 16

VIKINGS-REDKSINS CONNECTIONS

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer worked with Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden in Cincinnati from 2011-13. Mike Zimmer was the Defensive Coordinator, while Gruden was the Offensive Coordinator under Head Coach Marvin Lewis. Linebackers Coach Adam Zimmer was also on staff in Cincinnati in 2013 as the Assistant DBs Coach. Both Gruden and Zimmer earned their first head coaching jobs in the NFL in 2014.

Redskins Director of College Scouting Kyle Smith signed with the Vikings as a college free agent, and spent part of the 2006 offseason with Minnesota.

Redskins defensive backs coach Torrian Gray played S for three seasons with the Vikings from 1997-2000.

Redskins inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti is the son of Tom Olivadotti who was the Vikings linebackers coach from 1996-99.

Redskins outside linebackers coach Greg Manusky played LB for the Vikings from 1991-93.

Vikings K Kai Forbath appeared in 41 games for the Redskins and was second all-time in the franchise's history for FG percentage (min. 50 att.) after going 60 for 69 (87.0 percent) on FGs.

Vikings RB Mack Brown was claimed off waivers on 10/31/17 by Minnesota after being released by Washington the day prior. Brown spent parts of the 2015 season on the Redskins practice squad before appearing in 12 games the past two seasons with Washington.

Redskins T T.J. Clemmings played for Minnesota from 2015-16 and spent the 2017 offseason and training camp with the Vikings before being released during cuts.

LOCAL CONNECTIONS

Vikings WR Stefon Diggs hails from Gaithersburg, Maryland, and went to Good Counsel HS. Diggs also attended nearby University of Maryland.

Vikings personnel consultant Conrad Cardano was born in Washington, D.C., and attended nearby Bladensburg (Maryland) High School.

Vikings S Anthony Harris hails from Chesterfield, Virginia, where he attended Lloyd C. Bird HS before going to the University of Virginia.

COLLEGE CONNECTIONS

Redskins CB Bashaud Breeland was a teammate in the defensive backfield at Clemson in 2013 with Vikings CB Mackensie Alexander and S Jayron Kearse.

Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes played at Florida State with Redskins RB Chris Thompson.

Vikings RB Mack Brown and Redskins CB Quinton Dunbar and TE Jordan Reed played at Florida together.

Vikings T Jeremiah Sirles played at Nebraska with Redskins LB Will Compton, G Spencer Long and TE Niles Paul. Both Long and Sirles arrived on campus in 2009 as redshirts before becoming full-time starters on the same offensive line in 2012 and 2013.

Vikings DE Brian Robison and Redskins QB Colt McCoy were teammates at Texas from 2005-06. Robison started all 12 games while McCoy was redshirting during the Longhorns National Championship 2005 season.

BIG DAYS

CB Terence Newman has nine career interceptions vs. the Redskins, the most against a single opponent. Newman has picked off five different Redskin QBs: Tim Hasselbeck, Patrick Ramsey, Mark Brunell, Jason Campbell and Rex Grossman. As a rookie, Newman recorded a career-high three interceptions at Washington (12/14/03).

DE Everson Griffen recorded eight tackles, 1.0 sack and three TFLs vs. Washington (11/2/14).

WR Stefon Diggs tied his career high with 13 receptions at Washington (11/13/16) after setting it the week prior, making him the first player in NFL history to record at least 13 receptions in consecutive games and setting a Vikings record for most receptions in back-to-back games. Diggs totaled 164 yards in last season's contest against the Redskins.

S Andrew Sendejo set a career-high in tackles with 17 vs. Washington (11/7/13) in his fifth career start. Sendejo is slated to make his 47th career start on Sunday.

TE Kyle Rudolph has scored in all three of his career games against the Redskins, scoring on receptions of 17 yards (J. Webb, at WAS, 12/24/11), 1 yard (C. Ponder, at WAS, 10/14/12) and 20 yards (S. Bradford, at WAS, 11/13/16).

Stefon Diggs: 1 game, 13 receptions, 164 yards, 9 first downs

Terence Newman: 19 games, 69 tackles, 9 INTs, 20 PD, 5 TFL

Brian Robison: 6 games, 11 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 2 TFL, 1 FF, 1 PD

Kyle Rudolph: 3 games, 13 receptions, 148 yards, 3 TDs

Andrew Sendejo: 2 games, 24 tackles (19 solo)

Adam Thielen: 2 games, 3 receptions, 21 yards, 1 TD, 1 rush, 11 yards

SERIES INFO

Record vs. Redskins: 12-13

Last regular season game: Redskins 26-20 (2016)

Vikings largest winning margin: 34; Vikings 41, Redskins 7 (1998)

Redskins largest winning margin: 17; Redskins 24, Vikings 7 (1992)

Current series streak: Redskins 1

Vikings longest win streak: 2 (5 times)

Redskins longest win streak: 7 (1982-92)

Most Points, Vikings: 41 (1998)

Most Points, Redskins: 44 (1996)

Most Points, both teams: 82; Redskins 44, Vikings 38 (OT) (1986)

Fewest Points, Vikings: 7, (1982, 1992)

Fewest Points, Redskins: 7, (1998)

Fewest Points, both teams: 27; Redskins 17, Vikings 10 (1987)

Series Notes

The Vikings and Redskins met in the second round of the Super Bowl Tournament in 1982, the only year the Super Bowl Tournament has taken place. The Super Bowl Tournament replaced the regular playoff format because a players' strike shortened the regular season to nine games.

The two franchises have met five times in the postseason, with their most-recent encounter coming in 1992, a 24-7 Washington win. The Redskins hold a 3-2 advantage in postseason games.

Including Sunday's matchup, the Vikings and Redskins have met seven of the past eight seasons, playing every season since 2010 with the exception of the 2015 season. The Vikings hold a 4-2 edge in the previous six contests.

A Win Would….

Match the best start to a season through nine games since Mike Zimmer took over in 2014 (started 7-2 in 2015)

Move Zimmer's record as a head coach to 33-25 and give him his second win against the Redskins in his third game vs. the franchise

Would be the third five-plus-game win streak for the Vikings under Zimmer, the most in a single season under his tutelage (five-game streak from 10/18/15-11/15/15 and a five-game streak from 9/11/16-10/9/16)

Give the Vikings their first win at Washington since 2011

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