Week 16 preview: Vikings vs Bengals; AP wants rushing title


Minnesota's final road game of the season will take them to Cincinnati for a game against the AFC North leading Bengals on Sunday.

Vikings.com has five great storylines for the game.

WHAT’S AT STAKE: 1) Leslie Frazier is still fighting to prove he should be the coach in 2014; 2) Draft pick positioning remains important. A win would likely drop the Vikings lower than eighth in the current draft order; 3) Matt Cassel's play could play a huge role in whether he decides to return to Minnesota next season.

Another subplot to the game is Adrian Peterson trying to chase down LeSean McCoy for the rushing title. He trails McCoy by 122 yards.

"It's not over 200 yards, so it's still in play," Peterson told the Pioneer Press on Friday. "I play this game to be the best. Leading the league goes along (with that).

"But I'm just going to try to do what I can do, trying to help my team get a win. If I'm at the top when the season ends, that'd be great."

THE LAST TIME THEY MET: The Vikings, led by Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson, blasted the Bengals 30-10 to finish off a 12-4 regular season record. Minnesota leads the all-time series 6-5. Of the 11 games, six have been blowouts, four of which went in favor of the Vikings.

PLAYER IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Adrian Peterson is back in the spotlight with his expected return. Peterson, who wanted to play last week against the Eagles, is "feeling better," according to coach Leslie Frazier. Despite missing last week's game, Peterson remains just 122 yards behind LeSean McCoy for the NFL rushing lead.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Frazier dropped this dandy during his press conference on Wednesday.

They were both drafted in 2011, but Dalton has piled up 74 touchdowns and 45 interceptions. Ponder has just 38 touchdowns and 34 interceptions.

INJURY REPORT: Cornerback Xavier Rhodes is out with a sprained ankle, tight end John Carlson is doubtful with a concussion, and Peterson is questionable with a sprained foot, although he expects to play.

Read the full injury report from Friday at Vikings.com.

THE LATEST LINE:Bovada.com lists the Vikings as a 8-point underdog. The Vikings are the only team in the NFL without a road victory, and the Bengals are undefeated at home, so the spread makes sense. 

PREDICTION: The Vikings are playing a much better brand of football. There's no reason the offense can't continue to shine, even if they are playing on the road. The Bengals' defense is an upgrade from Philadelphia's defense, so don't expect another 48-point outburst. If Xavier Rhodes doesn't play the Vikings will have a tough time defending Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green. Prediction: Bengals 27, Vikings 24.

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