Offseason Opponent Breakdown: The Minnesota Vikings

Check out photos of the Rams taking on the Vikings throughout the years.

The 2018 NFL Season is still a few months from its official kickoff date, but the opponents for all 32 clubs have already been set.

Aside from their divisional opponents, the Rams will face teams from the NFC North and AFC West. Plus, Los Angeles will take on the reigning division champions from the NFC East and NFC South.

In anticipation of the official schedule release date in mid-April, theRams.com will be taking an early look at each of club's opponents for next season.

THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS

LOCATION:The Rams will welcome the Vikings to their home field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

HEAD COACH:Mike Zimmer is entering his fifth season as the Vikings head coach. From 2014-2017, Zimmer has led the Vikings to a 39-25 overall record, including two playoff appearances. 

MATCHUP HISTORY:There have been 38 games between the franchises in series history, with Minnesota holding the advantage at 22-14-2. The Rams have lost each of their last five games against the Vikings, including last season's 24-7 loss at U.S. Bank Stadium.

2017 RECORD: The Vikings finished 2017 as the NFC North Division Champions at 13-3. They defeated the Saints on a memorable play in the NFC's Divisional Round, before falling to the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game.


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WHO'S IN, WHO'S OUT?**

Minnesota made headlines early in the free agency period by signing former Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins. While the franchise took a gamble by not tagging Case Keenum — who led the club to an 11-3 record as a starter — as well as letting Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater walk, the Vikings are hoping Cousins' resume and experience will help solve their instability at quarterback.

In the past three seasons, the Michigan State product has ranked among the top-10 of all players in completion percentage, yards per attempt, passing touchdowns, and total QBR. He was also ranked as the NFL's top free agent of 2018

On defense, the Vikings brought in Sheldon Richardson to boost their already strong unit. The defensive tackle also ranked in the top-10 of all free agents in 2018 and should slot at three-technique for Minnesota. Other notable moves included the trade for quarterback Trevor Siemian, and the re-signing of offensive lineman Nick Easton, and safety Anthony Harris. 

WHAT ABOUT THE DRAFT?

The Vikings currently hold eight picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, including No. 30 overall in the first-round. According to most mock drafts, several analysts expect Minnesota to select an offensive guard to protect their newly acquired quarterback. ESPN's Mel Kiper put forward James Daniels (Iowa) as a top option, while several others have listed Will Hernandez (UTEP) as a strong possibility.

Aside from an offensive lineman, Minnesota may also consider adding a defensive back in the earlier rounds. Names like Mike Hughes (UCF) and Josh Jackson (Iowa) are among those being tossed around by a variety of websites.

LOOK OUT FOR:

Rams head coach Sean McVay coached Cousins between 2014-2016 as Washington's offensive coordinator and was credited for the quarterback's impressive development in that three-year span. The two faced off last year when the Rams fell to Washington at the Coliseum and will once again find themselves on opposite sidelines in 2018.

Plus, Los Angeles will also be looking for its first win against the Vikings in five years. And with new additions on both ends, it should be another one of the NFC's most highly anticipated matchups.

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