St. Louis at Vikings
TCF Bank Stadium
TV: Ch. 9
Radio: 100.3-FM, 1130-AM
About the Rams (4-3)
• St. Louis has a winning record into November for the first time since 2006, which also was the last time the Rams beat the Vikings. They’ve won back-to-back games and are coming off a 27-6 victory over San Francisco.
• The Rams’ resurgence has been led by a strong group of young players. In 2014, Rams rookies accounted for 51 starts, and this season’s rookie class includes running back Todd Gurley. He’s the first rookie in NFL history to rush for 125-plus yards in four consecutive games.
• The defense has given up only six points in each of the Rams’ past two victories and is one of the best in the NFL through the first eight weeks. The Rams rank fifth in the NFL in yards against, and the 17.9 points-per-game they’re giving up is fourth best, just behind the Vikings (17.4).
• Defensive end Robert Quinn (five sacks) and defensive tackle Aaron Donald (4 ½ sacks) have helped the Rams to the NFC lead in sacks (26).
Player speak RB Todd Gurley
• Gurley, a former standout at Georgia, was the first running back selected in the 2015 draft as the 10th overall pick. He and Wisconsin star Melvin Gordon (No. 15 overall) were the only running backs selected in the first round, ending a two-year drought during which no running backs were taken in the opening round.
• The rookie had only six carries for 9 yards in his pro debut in Week 3. The next week he was one of the best running backs in the league, rushing for 146 yards on 19 carries. He leads the NFL in average yards per carry (6.1), average yards per game (115) and runs 40 yards or more (four).
• On his successful transition into the NFL: “It’s been smooth. Working hard and trying to rack up a few wins. The O-line, they’re doing a great job of blocking.”
• On handling the pressure that comes with more expectations: “It’s not pressure to me. I just go out there and do my game. I don’t worry about all of the outside stuff.”
Coach Speak Jeff Fisher
• Fisher is in his 20th season as a head coach and has 30 years of experience in the NFL. He’s in his fourth season with St. Louis and has the team off to its best start since 2006. In his first two seasons leading the struggling franchise, the Rams won 14 games. They won 15 over five seasons before Fisher’s arrival.
• The coach has struggled throughout his career against the Vikings with a 1-6 record.
• On Gurley’s start: “We had a sense he’d probably be ready by Week 3 or 4. … Since Week 4, he’s taken off. He’s had four solid weeks. I’ve made the comment, I don’t think he’s 100 percent yet, but he’s got a chance to be a special player for us.”
• On the Rams and Vikings defenses: “Both defenses have come a long way. I looked [at last year’s game on Tuesday], and you’ve got two different units now. Us in particular, we’re really in our first regular season with [defensive coordinator] Greg Williams and those kinds of things take time. We’re playing fast.”