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The Skinny Post: Vikings, Browns to Square Off in London

The Vikings have traveled across the Atlantic Ocean and are primed and ready for Sunday's matchup in London against the Cleveland Browns.

Minnesota will take on Cleveland at 1:30 p.m. local time (8:30 a.m. CT) from Twickenham Stadium.

The Vikings are 5-2 and have won three consecutive games. Minnesota's last victory was a 24-16 defeat of the Baltimore Ravens.

The Browns are 0-7 after falling in overtime to Tennessee in Week 7. Cleveland has lost four separate games by three points.

Here are three areas to watch in Sunday's contest, plus some noteworthy stats on both teams:

Continuing to Get Chunk Plays | By**@pcraigers**

The Vikings offense is tied for first in the NFL (with the Rams and Patriots) with 33 plays of 20-plus yards. Minnesota has 24 passes that have gained 20 or more yards and nine rushes.

The Vikings have had at least one rush of 15 or more yards in every game except Week 4 against Detroit and at least one reception of 20 or more yards in every game except Week 5 at Chicago.

Cleveland's defense has stingy yards against averages. The Browns are ninth overall in yards allowed per game (304.7), sixth in rushing (83.7) and 15th in passing (221.0).

Cleveland leads the league in rushing yards allowed per play (2.96), an average slightly helped by a total of nine opposing quarterback kneel-downs for minus-14 yards.

A couple of big plays allowed by Cleveland earlier this season proved costly.

Ben Roethlisberger had a 50-yard completion to Antonio Brown to set up a touchdown just before halftime in Week 1. Baltimore's Javorius Allen squirted free for a 37-yard run with 15 seconds remaining in the first half to set up a 2-yard touchdown pass on the following play in Week 2.

Griffen goes for 8 straight | By**@Eric_L_Smith**

Everson Griffen is on quite the roll.

The Vikings defensive end has at least one sack in all seven games this season and is one of two players to accomplish that feat (Dallas' Demarcus Lawrence).

If Griffen gets a sack Sunday against Cleveland, he would tie a franchise record of eight straight games with one, a streak that Jim Marshall and Jared Allen accomplished.

Griffen already has 9.0 sacks this season, which is more than his 8.0 sacks in 2016, a season he went to the Pro Bowl for the second straight year.

One of Sunday's most anticipated individual matchups won't happen as Browns left tackle Joe Thomas is out for the season with a triceps injury.

Griffen could take advantage of Thomas' absence by joining some lofty company if he can get at least one sack in London.

Strong before bye | By**@LindseyMNSports**

Finishing the first stretch strong

The Vikings have one more game before their bye week, which marks the halfway point of the 2017 season.

Currently at 5-2 and coming off a three-game win streak, Minnesota will look to finish the first stretch of the season strong and cap it off with a fourth straight win before the break. After the Vikings went 2-2 in the first quarter, Griffen said it was his goal for the team to go 4-0 in the second quarter, and a win over the Browns will achieve that benchmark.

Minnesota was 5-0 last season before its bye, and the team found out firsthand that things can change at any point by losing four straight. Multiple players, however, have emphasized over the past two weeks the importance of keeping their focus on one game at a time and not getting too ahead of themselves in finding some success.

"Last year is last year, and this year is this year," running back Jerick McKinnon said earlier this week. "We have a good thing going right now, so we're trying to feed off the momentum, keep bringing in wins and go from there."

Substantial Stats

— The Vikings defense allowed just 208 yards of offense Sunday against the Ravens, the lowest total since Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer took over in 2014.

— Minnesota's offense has produced five games of at least 100 total rushing yards this season after posting just two 100-yard performances last season; Cleveland's defense ranks sixth in the NFL by allowing just 83.7 yards per game. Only two of Cleveland's opponents have rushed for more than 100 yards this season.

— Vikings kicker Kai Forbath won NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors after making all six of his field goal tries in Sunday's win over Baltimore; Forbath set a career high with the six successful kicks.

— Cleveland's trio of quarterbacks have combined to throw a league-high 17 interceptions in 2017; Minnesota's defense ranks tied for eighth in the NFL with seven picks.


"I know it's [Cleveland's] home game, but we expect to have a ton of Vikings fans here this week to make it nice and loud for their offense." — Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer

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