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The Skinny Post: Vikings Seeking 1st Win at Jets in Franchise History

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings are headed toward the Big Apple in search of a rare win against the Jets.

Minnesota sits at 3-2-1 after getting a 27-17 home win over the Cardinals. The Vikings are now set for a Week 7 matchup with the Jets. Kickoff is at noon (CT).

New York is 3-3 after earning a 42-34 win over Indianapolis on Sunday.

Both teams have won two straight games.

Minnesota has just two wins in franchise history against New York and is 0-5 in road games. The Vikings are 2-8 all-time against the Jets.

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

Depleted on defensive line | By @Eric_L_Smith

The Vikings defensive line spent the week on the "did not practice" list.

Defensive tackle Linval Joseph did not practice Wednesday and Thursday, but he returned Friday as a limited participant and is listed as questionable. Defensive end Danielle Hunter did not participate on Thursday because of a groin injury but was limited Friday. Hunter did not receive a designation on the final injury report.

Defensive end Stephen Weatherly has played well in Everson Griffen's absence and could be relied upon heavily this weekend. Sheldon Richardson will be facing the team that drafted him in 2013. The Vikings also have Tom Johnson, Jaleel Johnson and David Parry on the interior.

Defensive end Tashawn Bower has been inactive the past two games with an ankle injury but looks to be able to go Sunday. Rookie Jalyn Holmes has played both inside and at defensive end over the past two games while Bower was out.

The Jets have fared well this season when they've been able to get their run game off the ground, so Minnesota will need a full team effort from its defensive line against New York.

Restricting the Jets run game, keeping the Vikings rolling | By @LindseyMNSports

After five games to start the season in which Minnesota struggled to get its run game going, Latavius Murray surged ahead for several chunk plays against the Cardinals, racking up 155 yards on the ground. The Vikings will try to keep their run game going for a second consecutive week against a Jets defense that is allowing opponents an average of 108.7 rushing yards per game, which ranks 17th in the league.

"We ran the ball good last week, but I hope it continues that we run the ball effectively every week because it helps with the play-action, it helps with slowing down the defensive line," Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer told Twin Cities beat reporters Thursday. "But really, it was a one-week deal. We've got to try to add some consistency to that."

On the flip side, Minnesota's defense will need to restrict the Jets running game that has proven to be dangerous so far this season. The Jets have won three of four games in which they recorded more than 100 rushing yards, including an incredible 323 yards on the ground against Denver in Week 5. Keeping Isaiah Crowell and company from ripping off large runs will be key for the Vikings on the road.

Special teams could loom large | By @pcraigers

The Jets rank 26th in total offense and 22nd in total defense but have been impressive in most aspects on special teams.

New York ranks second in the NFL in punt return average (19.8 yards per return), sixth in gross punting average (47.7) and fourth in net punting average (43.1).

Andre Roberts' league-leading average of 21.5 yards per punt return has been boosted by a 78-yard touchdown. Roberts has averaged 18.7 yards on 11 kickoff returns. New York ranks 32nd in the NFL with a kickoff return average of 22.8.

The Vikings have allowed an average of 5.3 yards on punt returns (sixth) and 18.8 yards on kickoff returns (fourth). Minnesota's coverage teams can play a vital role in field position on Sunday.

The Jets coverage teams are only allowing an average of 21.6 on kickoff returns and an average of 6.2 on punt returns (11th).

Marcus Sherels returned to the mix last week after missing three consecutive games. He had one kickoff return for 17 yards and returned three punts a total of 26 yards against the Cardinals.

Jets kicker Jason Myers accounted for 24 points in Week 6 by kicking all seven field goals and going 3-for-3 on extra points against the Colts. Myers came one field goal shy of tying an NFL record. He enters Week 7 leading NFL kickers with 63 points and is 15-for-16 on extra points and 16-for-17 on field goals. Myers also is tied for first in the NFL with 32 touchbacks on kickoffs.

The Vikings defense has only allowed nine touchdowns on 24 red zone possessions by opponents. The 37.5 percent allowance rate is tied for second in the NFL. The Jets offense, meanwhile, ranks 32nd, having scored touchdowns on six of 20 trips to the red zone (30 percent). Combine the two, and Myers could have an opportunity for more field goals Sunday.

The Vikings are coming off what Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer called the unit's "most complete game" of 2018. They'll face a tough test — and potentially stiff winds — on Sunday. The forecast in New York at kickoff is 48 degrees Fahrenheit with winds around 20 miles per hour.

Substantial Stats

— Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins recorded his 14th career rushing touchdown in Sunday's win over Arizona. Cousins ranks third in the NFL in quarterback rushing touchdowns since 2015, trailing only Cam Newton and Tyrod Taylor.

— Minnesota is 6-1 in the month of October over the past two seasons. The Vikings went 4-1 in October in 2017 and are 2-0 so far this season.

— The teams' most-recent meeting in New York was highlighted by former Vikings quarterback Brett Favre throwing his 500th career touchdown pass. That historic touchdown pass was caught by fellow Hall of Famer Randy Moss in 2010 on Monday Night Football.

— The Vikings defense didn't allow the Cardinals to convert a single third down on 10 tries Sunday at home. Minnesota leads the league with an allowance rate of 25 percent on third downs.

Quotable

"Big game on the road this week against the Jets. They got a very stout front, Darron Lee leads the league in interceptions for linebackers, and they get a lot of turnovers on defense. They've got a great punt returner in Roberts. Offensively, they've been running the football very effectively, we're going to have to do a great job against the run, and the quarterback scrambling will get some big plays. It'll be a great test for us, and we need to go out and play well to win." — Zimmer on Sunday's game.

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