• Vikings special teams coach Mike Priefer said this past week that while Cordarrelle Patterson has only recently been used as a gunner on the punt team, the idea was initially brought up last season, but the team didn’t have a chance to implement it until now. The results have been great, including a forced fumble and a tackle in two games.
• Vikings coach Mike Zimmer talked about what he sees in Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler. “He’s got an extremely strong arm and for a big guy he’s mobile,” Zimmer said of the former Broncos backup. “He seems to know where to go with the football.” Osweiler has never faced the Vikings in his 24 games as a pro.
• Some encouraging numbers for the Vikings running game. Over the first three games this season, the team averaged only 2.0 yards per carry (153 yards, 74 carries). But last week against the Giants, they averaged 3.2 yards per carry (104 yards, 33 carries). Not great numbers, but it’s an improvement.
• The Texans will be the third playoff team from last season that the Vikings have faced through five weeks, after they beat the Packers in Week 2 and the Panthers in Week 3.
• While the Vikings held Giants star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to a career-low three receptions last week and held Carolina’s Kelvin Benjamin the previous game, the Vikings will have another big challenge Sunday in Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins, who has 17 receptions for 227 yards and two scores this season.
• The Gophers men are ranked only 13th in the first United States College Hockey Online poll of the season, although it seems fitting following their 20-17 record last season. They are the second highest-rated team in the Big Ten Conference, with Michigan at No. 11. The Gophers last started the season ranked outside the top 10 in 2011-12, when they were ranked No. 19.