Tale Of The Tape: Minnesota Vikings At Cincinnati Bengals

Minnesota Vikings
Cincinnati Bengals
(credit: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
(credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
(credit: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
(credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
The Vikings are feeling better about their passing game than they have at any point in the year following their 48-30 victory over the Eagles in Week 15. Matt Cassel was confident and aggressive as he completed 26-of-35 passes for 382 yards with three touchdowns. Cassel does not have the most powerful arm, but he is an accurate short- and medium-range passer.
Winner The Bengals lost a big opportunity to win the AFC North when they lost their Week 15 Sunday night game to the Steelers. If the Ravens win out, the Bengals may not even make the playoffs, let alone win the division. The heat will be on quarterback Andy Dalton to find the soft spots in the Minnesota defense and avoid mistakes here.
It’s shocking that the Vikings had their best offensive game with running backs Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart on the bench with injuries. If Peterson returns from his foot injury, he will be a load for the Cincinnati defense to handle. Cassel is developing excellent chemistry with wide receiver Greg Jennings. The former Packer caught 11 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown in the win over the Eagles.
Winner The Bengals have gotten excellent production from their two-headed running game led by BenJarvus Green-Ellis and complemented by speedy rookie Giovanni Bernard. It’s likely that Bernard will become a star for the Bengals. Wide receiver A.J. Green should have a decisive edge over the vulnerable Minnesota secondary, while Marvin Jones is also a game-changing receiver.
Winner The Vikings have had major problems on defense throughout the season, and they have been most vulnerable against teams with versatile attacks like Cincinnati. Linebacker Chad Greenway is probably the Vikings’ best defensive player, while veteran Jared Allen is still a dangerous pass rusher. He had 2.0 sacks vs. the Eagles and has 9.0 for the season.
The Bengals make some mistakes on defense, but they have been consistently aggressive under defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and they rank eighth overall and fifth against the run. Linebacker Vontaze Burfict is their signature player and is one of the best tacklers in the league. Defensive end Carlos Dunlap is a relentless pass rusher.
Special Teams
Winner The Vikings have gotten some excellent productivity from their special teams. Rookie Cordarrelle Patterson has two kickoff returns for touchdowns, while Marcus Sherels has a punt return for a score. Blair Walsh has a strong leg and is a very dependable placekicker.
The Bengals have not gotten a lot of big plays from their punt and kickoff return teams, but they have done an excellent job in coverage. Placekicker Mike Nugent has the leg strength to make long FG attempts consistently. P Kevin Huber (cracked vertebrae, fractured jaw) is on injured reserve.

We'll Just Call it a Tie

(credit: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) (credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

The Vikings have not had a good year, but they are coming off their best all-around game of the year and should be prepared for the Bengals. Still, the Vikings often struggle outdoors in cold-weather situations.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor


  1. PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Sam Bradford #8 of the Minnesota Vikings throws a pass in the first quarter against Brandon Graham #55 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Vikings 21-10. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) GREENBAY, WI - OCTOBER 20: Running back Jordan Howard #24 of the Chicago Bears is tackled by nose tackle Kenny Clark #97 and cornerback Demetri Goodson #39 of the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter at Lambeau Field on October 20, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
    Week 8 Tale Of The Tape: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears

    The Vikings and Bears square off in a battle of NFC North divisional rivals.

  2. PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Quarterback Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles avoids Everson Griffen #97 of the Minnesota Vikings as he runs for a first down during the second quarter of a game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 16: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys looks to pass against the Green Bay Packers during the third quarter at Lambeau Field on October 16, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Green Bay Packers 30-16.  (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
    Week 8 Tale Of The Tape: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

    Two of the top rookie QBs face off in Big D.

  3. GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 23:  Running back David Johnson #31 of the Arizona Cardinals rushes the football during the NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals and Seahawks tied 6-6.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 16: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers scrambles out of the pocked during the first half of a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 16, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
    Week 8 Tale Of The Tape: Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers

    The Cardinals are still trying to catch the Seahawks atop the NFC West, they now take on the embattled Panthers.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From WCCO | CBS Minnesota

Good Question
Download The Weather App

Listen Live