Vikings vs. Rams: Week 15 preview


Sunday in St. Louis is a win-or-bust situation for both the Vikings and Rams. Minnesota, 7-6, is tied with Washington and Dallas, one game behind Chicago and Seattle for in the NFC playoff race. The Rams, 6-6-1, are still in the race, but have an even more difficult path to postseason play than Minnesota does.

The final injury report for both teams was issued Friday, and it lists Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield as "questionable" with a knee injury. Every other player on the Vikings' report is listed as "probable."

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier believes quarterback Christian Ponder has made progress this season, but has a lot more progress to make. Frazier says the final three games of the season will be a "defining moment" in Ponder's career.

While Ponder has struggled this season, it probably isn't because he's in love with ESPN reporter Samantha Steele. Star Tribune writer Michael Rand does his best to debunk the "love can't win in the NFL" theory.

While Ponder wasn't the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, he's dealing with the same kind of pressure Sam Bradford is in St. Louis.

Adrian Peterson continues to make the headlines as he attempts to run down Eric Dickerson's single season rushing record, but don't forget about the fullback blocking for him -- Jerome Felton.

Peterson won't be the only running back trying to chase down a milestone. Rams running back Stephen Jackson is 71 yards shy of becoming the 27th player in NFL history with 10,000 career rushing yards.

Minnesota is 1-5 on the road this season, and playing inside the Edward Jones Dome won't be easy. If St. Louis is known for anything this year, it's the team's pass rush. The Rams have sacked opposing quarterbacks 39 times this season -- the second most in the NFL.

One of the best sub-stories to the game will be between rookie kickers Blair Walsh and Greg Zuerlein. Walsh is 24-27 on field goal attempts this season, but Zuerlein has proven to have the strongest leg in the NFL. He hit 58 and 60 yard field goals in one game earlier this season. He's 7-7 on attempts from 50+.

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