The Vikings’ only home game until Dec. 17 comes in a matchup loaded with both subplots and playoff implications. If the Vikings can get to Jared Goff, who’s been sacked only 13 times this season, they should win a big one at U.S. Bank Stadium. Prediction: Vikings 24, Rams 20.
Three big story lines
Keenum vs. Goff
The game of the week involves a quarterback who gave up the Rams’ starting job to a rookie last year and a No. 1 overall pick who struggled mightily in 2016. Now, Case Keenum and Jared Goff are directing teams that have chances to make deep playoff runs in the NFC.
Rams running back Todd Gurley leads the league with 10 touchdowns and is second with 1,160 rushing and receiving yards. Keeping him in check will be one of the keys to slowing the NFL’s highest-scoring offense.
Playoff positioning on the line
The Vikings and Rams are in a tie with the Saints for the NFC’s No. 2 seed. A win would give the Vikings tiebreakers over the Rams and Saints and ensure they maintain at least a two-game lead in the NFC North.
Two key matchups
Vikings offensive line vs. Rams DT Aaron Donald
Donald lines up away from the tight end. Slowing him will fall to guards and tackles. Joe Berger and Nick Easton will see plenty of Donald; Riley Reiff will likely help Easton, and Rashod Hill will have to help Berger.
Vikings DT Linval Joseph vs. Rams C John Sullivan
As Sullivan returns to Minnesota, he’ll face one of the league’s best run stoppers in Joseph, who will try to help the Vikings control the line of scrimmage.
One stat that matters
32.9 The Rams’ average points per game through nine games. That’s the same average as the 1999 Rams, who won the Super Bowl with the Kurt Warner-led “Greatest Show on Turf.”
The Vikings will win if…
• They can keep from getting into a game where they have to match the Rams score-for-score.
The Rams will win if…
• They continue to get the ball out quickly against the Vikings’ pass rush, while forcing Case Keenum into mistakes.
Goessling’s win probability