Vikings-Patriots game scout

Get the essentials for Sunday's game between the Vikings and Patriots – keys to the game, fast facts and series notes.

Sunday
Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4) at Dallas Cowboys (1-5)
San Francisco 49ers (1-6) vs. Denver Broncos (2-5)
Miami Dolphins (3-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (2-4)
Buffalo Bills (0-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (4-2)
Washington Redskins (4-3) at Detroit Lions (1-5)
Carolina Panthers (1-5) at St. Louis Rams (3-4)
Green Bay Packers (4-3) at New York Jets (5-1)
Tennessee Titans (5-2) at San Diego Chargers (2-5)
Minnesota Vikings (2-4) at New England Patriots (5-1)
Seattle Seahawks (4-2) at Oakland Raiders (3-4)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2) at Arizona Cardinals (3-3)
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-1) at New Orleans Saints (4-3)

Monday
Houston Texans (4-2) at Indianapolis Colts (4-2)


Minnesota Vikings (2-4) at New England Patriots (5-1)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:15 p.m. ET
SURFACE: FieldTurf
TV: FOX, Thom Brennaman, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver

KEYS TO THE GAME


Randy Moss returns to New England less than four weeks after he was shipped out of town. His arrival in Minnesota has coincided with Percy Harvin becoming a bigger weapon in the slot and with the ball in his hand out of the backfield. But the big question is the availability of QB Brett Favre. If he plays on his injured ankle, he doesn't have much mobility to lose, and the Patriots have a young and vulnerable secondary. If he gives way to Tarvaris Jackson, busted plays and big runs are a factor New England must account for.

Minus Moss, Patriots QB Tom Brady is relying on a bevy of possession receivers in the absence of a strong running game. That plays in New England's favor because Minnesota lacks quality depth in the secondary.

FAST FACTS

Harvin has five touchdowns in his past four games. .

  • Brady has won 23 consecutive regular-season home games as a starter. The NFL record is 25 by Brett Favre and John Elway.

    VIKINGS

  • The Vikings-Patriots game will be Minnesota's ninth consecutive road game, including playoffs, that hasn't started at noon Central time. The last time the Vikings played a noon road game was on Oct. 25, 2009, at Pittsburgh.

  • WR Percy Harvin scored his first career rushing touchdown at Lambeau Field last week, making him only the fifth player in franchise history to score three different ways in a season (one rush, three pass, one kickoff return) and the first since 2005.

  • RB Adrian Peterson broke his own team record for most rushing yards through the first six games of any season with 684. His previous record was 670. Peterson is the first Vikings player to reach 600 yards three times after game six.

  • DT Pat Williams, who turned 38 on Oct. 24, 2010, is the oldest active defensive player in the NFL. The Vikings also have the league's oldest player in 41-year-old Brett Favre.

  • Favre started his 119th game at Lambeau Field last Sunday, breaking the NFL record for the most starts in a stadium. Favre, who is 90-29 at Lambeau, had been tied with former Broncos quarterback John Elway at 118.

  • QB Rich Gannon set the Vikings record for passing attempts in a 1991 game against the Patriots when he threw 61 times. RB Rickey Young caught 15 passes, the most in a single game by a Viking, in a 1979 meeting at New England.

  • The Vikings traded Chuck Foreman, one of the best running backs in franchise history, to New England after the 1979 season.

  • The Patriots beat the Vikings, 31-7, in the last meeting between these teams on Oct. 31, 2006, in Minneapolis. The Vikings entered that game with a 4-2 record but then lost four in a row and finished 6-10.

    PATRIOTS

  • With last week's win over San Diego, the Patriots improved to 28-5 in the month of October since the 2003 season.

  • The Patriots have won 19 out of their last 21 October games. They are 3-0 in October this year.

  • The Patriots have won 15 straight games at Gillette Stadium against NFC opponents. The only loss was their first game against an NFC opponent at the new stadium in 2002 when the visiting Green Bay Packers beat the Patriots, 28-10, on Oct. 13.

    During that same stretch, Pittsburgh is 14-2 against NFC opponents, while Jacksonville and Indianapolis are 14-3.

  • RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis scored on a 1-yard touchdown run for his fourth consecutive game with a rushing touchdown. He had a stretch of four straight games with a rushing touchdown as a rookie in 2008.

    The Patriots record for most consecutive games with a rushing touchdown is seven by Curtis Martin in 1996. Ellis converted a key fourth-and-1 situation on the scoring drive to keep the 17-play, 79-yard drive alive.

  • QB Tom Brady entered the San Diego game in 19th place on the NFL's all-time touchdown list with 235. He moved into a tie for 18th place with George Blanda with a 1-yard touchdown pass to TE Rob Gronkowski in the first quarter.

    Jim Kelly is in 17th place with 237 touchdown passes.

  • The Patriots held the Chargers to just 38 yards rushing for a 2.3-yard average, which was the lowest output since they held Tampa Bay to 30 yards on 18 attempts in December of 2005.

  • The Patriots have started the season with at least five wins in their first six games for the fourth time under head coach Bill Belichick after improving to a 5-1 record with the win over San Diego.

    The Patriots' best records through six games under Belichick are 6-0 in 2004, 5-1 in 2006 and 6-0 in 2007.

  • Considering he's been through some severe injuries during the course of his career, Brady can empathize with Brett Favre, who is suffering from a stress fracture in his ankle.

    "You can be as tough as you want," Brady said, "but sometimes, like Tony Romo (Monday) night in the game, you just can't make it out there. You get hit, you fall awkwardly, you break a bone that just won't allow you to play. Brett's played through some incredible injuries. ... He's had broken bones before. If there's any chance of him playing, he's going to make it out there. He's one of the toughest payers to ever suit up in the NFL."


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