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Midseason Look: Vikings are 6-2 at 2017 Halfway Point



EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Vikings have reached the midpoint of the 2017 regular season and find themselves alone in first place in the NFC North.

Minnesota has held serve at home, where the Vikings have posted a strong 4-1 record at U.S. Bank Stadium. But Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer's team has also fared well on the road, going 2-1 in opposing venues, including Sunday's 33-16 win at Twickenham Stadium in London, which was a "home" game for Cleveland.

The Vikings will have a bye in Week 9 before starting the second half of their schedule with a Nov. 12 road game in Washington.

Zimmer said after Sunday's win that he simply wants his team to stay the course going forward.

"I just want to go out and play good football and smart football, tough football, the way that we normally do things," Zimmer said.

Here's a midseason look at the 2017 campaign so far:

Passing: Vikings quarterback Case Keenum has started six games and played in seven total contests this season after signing with the Vikings as a free agent this offseason.

Keenum has completed 149 of 233 passes (63.9 percent) for 1,610 yards with seven touchdowns and three interceptions. He has a passer rating of 88.8.

Sam Bradford led the Vikings to a Week 1 win by throwing for 346 yards and three touchdowns, but the quarterback suffered a knee injury in the victory. Bradford started against Chicago in Week 5 but was replaced by Keenum just before halftime.

Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater began practicing two weeks ago after suffering a severe knee injury in August of 2016 that wiped out his entire third pro season. The Vikings have to make a decision on Bridgewater's roster status after the bye week.

Rushing: The Vikings also have maneuvered through injuries at the running back spot.

Rookie Dalvin Cook rushed for 354 yards and two touchdowns early on but suffered a season-ending ACL injury in Week 4 against Detroit.

Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray have shouldered the load in Cook's absence.

McKinnon has 287 rushing yards on the season, including a 95-yard performance in Chicago on Monday Night Football. He has three rushing touchdowns, a career high.

Murray has 249 yards on the season. His best game was an 18-carry, 113-yard performance in Week 7 against Baltimore in which he scored his lone touchdown of the season.

The Vikings rank 12th in the NFL with 120.0 rushing yards per game, an improvement from 2016 when Minnesota ranked last in the league with just 75.3 rushing yards per game.

Receiving: Adam Thielen has been one of the NFL's top wide receivers in 2017. He ranks second with 627 yards and is fourth with 48 receptions.

Thielen, who caught his first touchdown of the season Sunday in London, has at least five receptions in all eight games this season and is the only player in the NFL to do so.

Stefon Diggs leads the Vikings with four touchdown receptions. Diggs, who has missed a pair of games, has 27 catches for 422 yards.

Tight end Kyle Rudolph has 32 catches for 271 yards and three scores, while Laquon Treadwell has 12 reception for 142 yards.

McKinnon has been a receiving threat out of the backfield. He is third on the team with 28 receptions. He has 203 yards and a score.

Defense: Minnesota's defense ranks third overall in yards allowed per game (282.1) and is fourth in points allowed per game (16.9).

The Vikings have only allowed one opponent (Pittsburgh in Week 2) to score more than 20 points in a game.

Defensive end Everson Griffen has at least one sack in all eight games this season, and is tied for second in the NFL with 10 sacks. Griffen on Sunday tied Jim Marshall and Jared Allen's franchise record of posting at least one sack in eight consecutive games.

Vikings safety Harrison Smith has a team-high three interceptions and 1.5 sacks and has made back-to-back Pro Bowls.

Cornerback Xavier Rhodes has an interception while shadowing opponents' top receivers, and Trae Waynes has a pair of picks.

As teams have shifted to more nickel defense across the league, Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks form one of the top linebacker duos. Each have a sack.

Danielle Hunter has 3.0 sacks this season. Linval Joseph (2.5), Tom Johnson (2.0), Brian Robison (1.0) and Shamar Stephen (1.0) have all gotten to the quarterback.

Minnesota has been adept at stopping the run. The Vikings rank fourth by giving up just 81.4 yards per game on the ground.

Special Teams: Kai Forbath has been one of the NFL's best kickers halfway through the season. He has made 21 of 22 field goals this season. The Vikings kicker has also made all four of his attempts of 50-plus yards.

Punter Ryan Quigley is averaging 41.1 yards per punt and has landed 14 punts inside the 20-yard line.

Marcus Sherels is averaging 10.8 yards per punt return on 16 attempts. McKinnon leads the Vikings with a 26.0 average on kickoff returns but has shed that duty as his role in the offense has grown.

Recent History

The Vikings were 5-3 through eight games of the 2016 season. Minnesota started strong with five consecutive wins before dropping three straight. 

Minnesota's slide continued in the second half of the season as the Vikings finished with an 8-8 record and missed out on the postseason.

The Vikings last made the playoffs in 2015 when they won the NFC North with an 11-5 record. Minnesota started 2-2 in that season as well, before rattling off five straight wins on the way to a division title.

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