EAGAN, Minn. – The Vikings (7-6) will visit the Bengals (7-6) at noon (CT) Saturday in Week 15.
It will be the 15th overall meeting between the squads who have seven wins each in the series.
Minnesota is seeking its second win at Cincinnati and first since 1992.
The Vikings are 20-10 all-time in Saturday games, including 11-3 at home and 9-7 on the road.
Since 1995, the Vikings have gone 8-1 when playing a regular-season game on a Saturday, for the best mark in the NFL. The Bengals are 5-8 on Saturdays all-time and 2-3 since 1995.
Here are all the ways to catch the action, followed by three things the Vikings.com editorial staff will be watching for during the game.
NFL NETWORK (game also will air on WCCO in the Twin Cities and WCPO in Cincinnati)
Play-by-Play: Chris Rose
Analyst: Jason McCourty
Sideline reporter: Steve Wyche
KFAN (100.3-FM), KTLK 1130-AM and the five-state Vikings Radio Network
Play-by-Play: Paul Allen
Analyst: Pete Bercich
Sideline reporter: Ben Leber
Note: The pregame radio show on the Vikings Radio Network will begin at 10 a.m. (CT).
Audio Streaming Option: Catch the audio broadcast on your smart devices through the KFAN channel on the iHeart app.
Catch the Vikings on Tico Sports at WREY "El Rey" 94.9 FM and 630 AM in the Twin Cities and on Tico-Sports.com, elrey949fm.com and Vikings.com.
Play-by-Play: Gabriel Rios
Analyst: Isaias Zendejas
NATIONAL RADIO (WESTWOOD ONE)
Play-by-Play: John Sadak
Analyst: Ross Tucker
Minnesota: SiriusXM 82 or 226/Or in the app
Cincinnati: SiriusXM 83 or 225/Or in the app
National: SiriusXM 88/Or in the app
Click here for the full bevy of options that include over-the-air, cable, satellite, over-the-top and streaming methods.
NFL+ AND NFL+ PREMIUM
Start your free trial of NFL+ today to watch Vikings preseason games live or on-demand.
NFL+ and NFL+ Premium provide all the action when you are on the go. It is available in the NFL app and at NFL.com/plus.
NFL+ is available for $6.99/month or $49.99/year and offers the following:
- Live out-of-market preseason games across devices
- Live local and prime-time regular-season and postseason games on your phone or tablet
- Live game audio (home, away & national calls) for every game of the season
- NFL Films' on-demand content, ad-free
NFL+ Premium is available for $14.99/month or $99.99/year and offers all the NFL+ features and the following:
- Full game replays across devices (ad-free)
- Condensed game replays across devices (ad-free)
- Coaches film (ad-free)
THREE THINGS WE'LL BE WATCHING
Mullens making starting debut with Vikings | By Ellis Williams
For the first time in franchise history, the Vikings are starting their fourth different quarterback within one season.
Minnesota is turning to six-year veteran Nick Mullens, who has backed up Kirk Cousins since the Vikings traded to acquire him from Las Vegas in August 2022. Mullens was on Injured Reserve when Cousins suffered his Achilles injury at Green Bay in Week 8 but has recovered from a back injury.
He will make his first start with the Vikings, and it will be his first time to open an NFL game since Dec. 20, 2021 (with Cleveland against Las Vegas).
When O'Connell named Mullens the starter on Tuesday, he mentioned a few key reasons. First and most importantly, he said he believes Mullens gives the Vikings the best chance to win at Cincinnati. O'Connell thought Mullens demonstrated rhythm and poise versus the Raiders in last week's relief performance.
"I really thought he … demonstrated his ability to prepare, come in, play in rhythm, be accurate with the ball, make great decisions. And I think with where we are as an offense right now, it's about our execution with all 11 guys," O'Connell said. "We've been able to kind of help him work through the lower back injury, and he feels really, really good. He feels ready to go. Which is a huge part of this decision. Making sure that Nick felt really good about the opportunity moving forward."
Mullens completed nine of 13 passes for 83 yards in the win. His first pass (though deflected) gained 26 yards to tight end T.J. Hockenson. But it was his second drive that added belief that Mullens should start. He led a 13-play series that gained 56 yards and ended with Greg Joseph's 36-yard game-winning field goal.
On that drive, Mullens converted three third downs via completions, and O'Connell called 10 passes.
"Getting to see Nick get a little more work last week … and execute our offense in rhythm at a really high level, understanding and running the show with a feel of what our offense felt like with him in there with some of those big-time throws on third down, where he put his back foot in the ground and gave our guys a chance to make a play. It was all positive to see," O'Connell said.
Another tough test up front | By Lindsey Young
The Vikings offensive line dealt with injuries at three positions last week against the Raiders, and the unit has another tough challenge ahead this week.
Minnesota will face a Cincinnati defensive line that features Trey Hendrickson, who's generated a 17.8 percent pressure rate this season, good enough for fourth-highest in the league. Hendricks, originally a third-round pick by the Saints in 2017, already has 13.5 sacks this season, just one-half shy of his best total for a season (2021).
The Vikings started their game at Las Vegas without right guard Ed Ingram, who was added to the Injury Report last Thursday, and they lost right tackle Brian O'Neill partway through the contest to a left ankle sprain. Blake Brandel and David Quessenberry, respectively, stepped in admirably when called upon.
O'Connell was asked about the way Quessenberry, who joined the team just before the season started, has filled in for Christian Darrisaw and O'Neill.
"His impact, thinking to when he's played and the production of us being able to function as an offense with such a veteran presence in there, his mental makeup is great. He's strong, has length, all the things you want in a tackle," O'Connell said. "Considering we came into the year with Oli [Udoh] and with that group that we had some real depth, and for Kwesi [Adofo-Mensah] and his guys to find somebody like Quess' that we've had to rely on quite a bit in multiple line group combinations throughout the year, I love everything about him, the way he steps in there, there's never any flinch. He's got more juice than anybody on the sideline, in the huddle, and I think he makes us better, having a guy like that who can step in in those critical moments."
Dalton Risner, who also left the game for a short time but returned, emphasized all that Quessenberry brings to the offensive line room.
"Being able to step in like he's done – the way he did in Atlanta and the way he did [Sunday] was just incredible. So DQ, I couldn't say enough good things about him. We love him in our room," Risner said. "He's one of those guys who'd be willing to go in there and do anything for the team and make no excuses. I mean, he's out there blocking Mad Maxx Crosby. That's not an easy feat to go in cold and do. Also, hat's off to Blake Brandel. That dude coming in and playing guard, I mean, he's a big body.
"I'm really proud of the way those guys played," Risner added. "It's always good to see guys like that come in and, even though we put up 3 points on the scoreboard, I think there were a lot of good things we did."
Neither Ingram nor Risner received injury designations for the game, but O'Neill was ruled out.
Mullens expressed confidence in the offensive line, regardless of who plays Saturday.
"We have so much fun together off the field, and then once we get on the field, it makes it that much sweeter," Mullens said. "We trust all the guys. I know everybody will be ready to step in when their opportunity is called. Blake's awesome, Ques' is awesome, and we're excited for it."
Backfield in motion | By Craig Peters
Running back Ty Chandler is poised to make his first NFL start in place of Alexander Mattison, who was ruled out Thursday because of an ankle injury he suffered Sunday at Las Vegas.
The Vikings have been sprinkling in more carries for Chandler since Week 10 against New Orleans.
In those four games, he's totaled 161 rushing yards and his first career touchdown (against Saints) and added eight catches for 47 yards.
Behind Chandler, the Vikings have Kene Nwangwu on the 53-man roster. Veteran Myles Gaskin and rookie DeWayne McBride are on the practice squad and eligible to be elevated, and the Vikings also could rely on fullback C.J. Ham for a few more carries. Ham played running back in college and has been playing running back on third downs. He gained 7 yards on one carry — his first of 2023 — against the Raiders.
"Ty has been trending toward getting more carries. He'll be the lead back for sure," O'Connell said. "I'm excited to see Kene get some opportunities, and then we'll make a determination based on whether we're going to elevate — C.J. Ham has clearly played a big role for us all year long, situational downs, had a big carry last week, so I've got all the confidence to move the ball significantly with C.J. in there, as well. That's what makes him so valuable."
According to Next Gen Stats, the Vikings have the lowest success rate on designed runs in the red zone (25.7 percent), which contributes to Minnesota having five rushing scores on the season.
The Bengals defense has allowed 14 rushing scores on the year and has the lowest defensive success rate against the run (54.9 percent) at any point of the field. The Raiders (55.7), Packers (56.0), Broncos (56.2) and Cardinals (56.6) are the next teams that rank ahead of the Bengals.