The Vikings, who likely need to win out to make the playoffs, are making the long trek to Jacksonville for the second time ever. Coach Mike Zimmer will be along for the ride. The Vikings have lost four straight road games. But Jags gonna Jag, giving them the win. Prediction: Vikings 17, Jaguars 13
Three big story lines
ZIM’S MAKING THE TRIP
Zimmer, after missing last Thursday’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys because of emergency eye surgery, has been cleared to fly with the team to Florida and plans to coach from the sidelines Sunday.
HARRIS IN FOR HARRISON
Star safety Harrison Smith, hobbled by a severely sprained ankle, has been ruled out for Sunday’s game. Second-year safety Anthony Harris is expected to start in his absence.
JAGS IN A GIVING MOOD?
The Jaguars have won only two games this season, in large part because of a negative-18 turnover differential that is dead last. Quarterback Blake Bortles has chucked an NFL-high 15 interceptions.
Two key matchups
C Nick Easton vs. Jaguars DT Malik Jackson
With starter Joe Berger out for the second straight week because of a concussion, Easton will get another start. He draws a tough matchup in Jackson, the former Broncos defensive tackle who has 4.5 sacks this season.
S Anthony Harris vs. Jaguars QB Blake Bortles
While Bortles, now in his third NFL season, has been a disappointment, he does have a capable arm and a big downfield target in Allen Robinson. In his third career start, Harris can’t let Bortles throw it over his head.
One stat that matters
11 career pick-sixes thrown by Bortles, one more than his number of career wins
The Vikings will win if…
QB Sam Bradford continues to spread the ball around, Bortles throws a couple more picks, and the Vikings get back to avoiding mental mistakes in critical moments.
The Jaguars will win if…
The Vikings struggle to move the ball against the NFL’s fourth-ranked defense and allow the Jags to hang around long enough to become the latest team to stun them late.
Vensel’s win probability