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Vikings at Rams: Numbers, PFF Grades and Preview

NFL Regular Season Week 4: Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Rams

Following the Tank at US Bank, the Vikings (1-1-1) are looking to quickly get the season back on track in front of a national TV audience Thursday night. To do so, they’ll have to beat one of the hottest teams in the NFL.

The Los Angeles Rams (3-0) are the only remaining undefeated team in the NFC, and one of three undefeated teams in the NFL. The other two are the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins, who are each 3-0 as well.

In order to get a win in LA, the Vikings must put this past weekend behind them. A tough loss at home against the Buffalo Bills was superseded by the concerning news of team captain Everson Griffen undergoing a mental health evaluation. While the team will undoubtedly support their teammate off the field, they must put the distraction aside on the field and come out with some energy right out of the gate.

A good place for the team to center their focus would be the ground game. The Vikings do not have a rushing touchdown through three games this season. With Dalvin Cook listed as questionable, it’ll either be him or Latavius Murray leading the charge. Even if the beginning of the game does not go as planned, like it did against the Bills, there simply has to be more of a balanced attack from Minnesota’s offense if the Vikings want to compete this week.

The Rams are loaded are both sides of the ball. Jared Goff (5th in the NFL in passing) is leading a balanced offensive attack that features running back Todd Gurley (4th in rushing) and receivers Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and Brandin Cooks (5th in receiving). They play behind what could be the best offensive line in football. Meanwhile, the defense is composed of one of the top defensive tackle duos in the league. Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald make up the first line of defense for Los Angeles. The second are third lines are constructed with quick linebackers and underrated safeties.

The Rams cornerbacks, which were also a major strength before recent injuries, are still solid in their own right. Following injuries to Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters, the team has Nickell Robey-Coleman and Sam Shields as depth.

If there’s one place the Vikings can take advantage of the Rams, it’s via the route running of Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, as well as tight end Kyle Rudolph on these “backup” cornerbacks. Either way, let’s hope the Purple put on a much better performance this week than last.

The Vikings are 1-6 all-time on Thursday Night Football, but they have quite the storied history against the Rams (27-16-2 all-time record). Lets take a closer look at how the teams stack up by the numbers.


MINNESOTA VIKINGS

  • The Vikings away record in 2018 is 0-0-1

Notable Pro Football Focus grades

  • QB Kirk Cousins: 75.5 (#12)
  • WR Stefon Diggs: 69.5 (#35)
  • WR Adam Thielen: 79.1 (#17)
  • TE Kyle Rudolph: 60.3 (#36)
  • CB Xavier Rhodes: 68.6 (#38)
  • LB Anthony Barr: 66.7 (#28)
  • DE Danielle Hunter: 62.9 (#59)
  • DT Linval Joseph: 70.7 (#44)
  • DT Sheldon Richardson: 80.9 (#18)

2018 team offense

  • Total offense: 14th (371.7 YPG)
  • Passing: 5th (319.5 YPG)
  • Rushing: 14th (116.0 YPG)
  • Scoring: 11th (26.5 PPG)
  • Turnover ratio: 20th (-1)
  • Third down conversions: 10th (42%)
  • Red zone percentage: 13th (60%)

2018 offensive leaders

  • Passing: QB Kirk Cousins: 965 yards with 7 TD’s and 2 INT’s
  • Rushing yards: RB Dalvin Cook: 78
  • Receiving yards: WR Adam Thielen: 338
  • Receiving TD’s: WR Stefon Diggs: 3

2018 team defense

  • Total defense: 10th (323.3 YPG)
  • Passing: 9th (218.0 YPG)
  • Rushing: 14th (105.3 YPG)
  • Scoring: 17th (24.0 PPG)
  • Third-down conversions: 8th (33%)
  • Red zone percentage: 4th (33.3%)
  • Passing allowed to opposing QB’s: 738 yards, 3 TD & 3 INTs
  • Rushing allowed to opposing RB’s: 263 yards & 0 TD’s
  • Receiving allowed to opposing WR’s: 317 yards & 2 TD’s
  • Receiving allowed to opposing TE’s: 233 yards & 1 TD

2018 defensive leaders

  • Tackles: S Harrison Smith: 16
  • Sacks: DE Danielle Hunter: 3
  • Interceptions: S Harrison Smith, CB Mike Hughes and CB Xavier Rhodes: 1


LOS ANGELES RAMS

  • LA’s home record in 2018 is 2-0

Notable Pro Football Focus grades

  • QB Jared Goff: 86.8 (#4)
  • WR Robert Woods: 80.7 (#13)
  • WR Brandin Cooks: 80.5 (#15)
  • RB Todd Gurley: 67.7 (#20)
  • LT Andrew Whitworth: 82.5 (#1)
  • RT Rob Havenstein: 79.8 (#5)
  • CB Nickell Robey-Coleman: 75.1 (#14)
  • DT Ndamukong Suh: 90.4 (#4)
  • DT Aaron Donald: 92.1 (#2)

2018 team offense

  • Total offense: 3rd (439.3 YPG)
  • Passing: 31st (139.5 YPG)
  • Rushing: 25th (83.5 YPG)
  • Scoring: 31st (11.5 PPG)
  • Turnover ratio: 5th (+3)
  • Third-down conversions: 1st (54%)
  • Red zone percentage: 22nd (50%)

2018 offensive leaders

  • Passing: QB Jared Goff: 941 yards with 6 TD’s & 2 INT’s
  • Rushing yards: RB Todd Gurley: 255
  • Rushing TD’s: RB Todd Gurley: 4
  • Receiving yards: WR Brandin Cooks: 336
  • Receiving TD’s: WR Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp: 2

2018 team defense

  • Total defense: 6th (296.0 YPG)
  • Passing: 6th (199.3 YPG)
  • Rushing: 9th (96.7 YPG)
  • Scoring: 1st (12.0 PPG)
  • Third-down conversions: 21st (42%)
  • Red zone percentage: 12th (50%)
  • Passing allowed to opposing QB’s: 619 yards, 2 TD’s and 4 INT’s
  • Rushing allowed to opposing RB’s: 266 yards & 2 TD’s
  • Receiving allowed to opposing WR’s: 245 yards & 2 TD’s
  • Receiving allowed to opposing TE’s: 268 yards & 0 TD’s

2018 defensive leaders

  • Tackles: LB Cory Littleton: 19
  • Sacks: 4 players tied with: 1
  • Interceptions: 4 players tied with: 1

  • Thursday’s game is at 7:20 pm (CST) and will be shown locally on FOX 9
  • Stats courtesy of NFL.com and Pro Football Reference
  • NEXT WEEK: Vikings at Eagles

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Sean Borman

Sean Borman is a writer with Minnesota roots that's still somehow an optimist. He was an intern with the Vikings during college and previously wrote for Rant Sports. You can find Sean on the golf course and on Twitter @SeanBoarMan.

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