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First Look: Rams take on Vikings in Minneapolis with playoff implications on the line in Week 16

The Rams kick off back-to-back road games with a trip to Minneapolis to take on the Vikings in Week 16, in a matchup with plenty on the line from a playoffs standpoint for both teams.

In advance of the contest, here is your First Look at Rams-Vikings:

Notable Vikings additions

  • Drafted Virginia Tech LT Christian Darrisaw in the first round of this year's draft: Installed as quarterback Kirk Cousins' blindside protector in Week 6, Darrisaw continued to start at left tackle until an ankle injury against the Lions forced him to miss the next two games. He returned in Week 15 and authored a performance that led to the third-highest run blocking grade by any tackle, according to Pro Football Focus.
  • Signed CB Patrick Peterson to a one-year deal in March: The eight-time Pro Bowl choice and three-time First Team All-Pro is one of the most recognizable cornerbacks in the NFL over the last 10 years – he was in fact named to the league's All-Decade team of the 2010s. He has 32 total tackles and three pass breakups in 10 games, missing three due to a hamstring injury and a fourth due to being placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.

Top performers in Week 15

QB Kirk Cousins completed 12 of 24 pass attempts for 87 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in the Vikings' 17-9 win over the Bears on Monday Night Football.

Penny paced Seattle's backfield with 28 carries for 89 yards.

WR Justin Jefferson was Cousins' top target, hauling in a team-high four receptions for 47 yards and one touchdown. Rookie wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette (one reception, seven yards) caught Cousins' other passing touchdown.

DE D.J. Wonnum and S Harrison Smith recorded eight tackles each to lead the Vikings defense, which as a unit forced and recovered three Bears fumbles.

On special teams, K Greg Joseph made his lone field goal attempt and both of his extra point attempts, while P Jordan Berry averaged

Early storylines to watch, and what they mean for the Rams

The Vikings have had an adventurous 2021 season.

They had a thrilling 34-31 win over the Packers in Week 11, then fell to a previously-winless Lions team 29-27 two weeks later. Each game has been a microcosm of their season, which has seen 13 of its 14 games decided by eight points or less.

Some of those games they've managed to close, others they have not, which partially ties into the 7-7 overall record they enter Week 16 with.

Pair that with the Vikings currently holding on to the seventh seed but having to fend off other teams in the hunt for a Wild Card spot, and the Rams the fifth seed, and there's plenty at stake for Sunday's game – one that could potentially turn into another thrilled, if the majority of the Vikings' previous games are any indication.

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