The Vikings are going from a Thursday game to a Monday contest for the first time in team history when Minnesota (6-7) visits Chicago (4-9).
Aside from getting a win at Soldier Field, there are numerous games that could impact Minnesota’s status for a playoff spot. Here’s a preview of three.
Atlanta Falcons (6-7) at San Francisco 49ers (7-6)
3:05 p.m. (CT) Sunday | Levi’s Stadium | CBS (regional broadcast)
Outlook: The Falcons are one of six NFC teams who entered Week 15 with a 6-7 record. A 3-6 mark against conference foes, however, has Atlanta at 10th overall in the division. That could change mightily with this one, which received a 97 out of 100 in “importance” from analytics site fivethirtyeight.com, because Atlanta could leapfrog San Francisco and claim the head-to-head tiebreaker with an upset win.
QB Matt Ryan needs three touchdown tosses to pass Eli Manning for ninth on the all-time leaderboard.
Cordarrelle Patterson, the former Vikings WR turned Falcons RB, is the first player in team history with at least five rushing and five-plus receiving touchdowns in a season. Patterson, 49ers WR Deebo Samuel and Chargers RB Austin Ekeler are the only three players in the NFL this season with such a combination.
LB Foyesade Oluokun ranks second in the NFL with a career-best 142 tackles, and LB Deion Jones is tied for 12th with 106 tackles.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s run of seven consecutive games with a passer rating of 90-plus is the longest active streak in the NFL.
Since Minnesota limited TE George Kittle to one catch for 13 yards in Week 12, he has recorded 22 catches for 332 yards and three touchdowns, becoming the first tight end all-time with 150-plus yards and at least one touchdown catch in consecutive games.
DL Nick Bosa leads the NFL with 18 tackles for loss and entered Week 15 tied for third with 14 sacks. He’s recorded at least 1.0 sack in each of the past five games and totaled 7.0 in that span.
New Orleans Saints (6-7) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-3)
7:20 p.m. (CT) Sunday | Raymond James Stadium | NBC (national broadcast)
Outlook: The Saints have won the past six regular-season games in the Gulf Coast rivalry, but they’d trade them all to undo Tampa Bay’s 30-20 win in the Divisional Round on Jan. 17, 2021. The Bucs can clinch the NFC South and do the Vikings a favor by hanging an eighth loss overall (and sixth in an NFC game) on the Saints, who will be without Head Coach Sean Payton because he tested positive for COVID-19.
QB Taysom Hill completed 15 of 21 passes (71.4 percent), totaled a passer rating of 96.3 and rushed for 73 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-9 win last week over the Jets.
New Orleans welcomed RB Alvin Kamara back to the lineup last week for the first time since Week 9. He rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown and added 25 receiving yards on four catches.
DE Cameron Jordan has been activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list, but the son of Vikings Ring of Honor member Steve Jordan was forced last week to end his impressive consecutive games played streak at 172. The new leader among defensive ends is Al-Quadin Muhammad (56).
QB Tom Brady is 4-4 in regular-season games against the Saints. He’s gone 7-0 with 335.1 yards per game and a passer rating of 113.1 in his past seven home starts.
RB Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook are the only two NFC running backs with 90-plus scrimmage yards in eight games this season.
LB Lavonte David needs 14 tackles to record at least 100 tackles for the ninth time in 10 seasons.
Washington Football Team (6-7) at Philadelphia Eagles (6-7)
6 p.m. (CT) Tuesday | Lincoln Financial Field | FOX (regional broadcast)
Outlook: This is one of two games initially scheduled for Sunday that moved to Tuesday (Seahawks at Rams is the other) because of a widespread COVID-19 outbreak within a team. This is the first of two games in the divisional series in a span of three weeks.
Football Team Notes
QBs Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen are among the 23 Washington players (as of Saturday morning) who are on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Washington has Kyle Shurmur and Jordan Ta’amu on its practice squad and recently added Garrett Gilbert.
RB Antonio Gibson has recorded at least 50 yards from scrimmage in 12 of 13 career road games. He has career highs in rushing yards (836) and scrimmage yards (1,057) this season.
S Landon Collins recorded 2.0 sacks and his 10th career interception, becoming the first DB since Captain Munnerlyn in 2013 to record 2.0 sacks and an interception in one game.
QB Jalen Hurts can join Lamar Jackson as the only QBs in NFL history to record at least 50 rushing yards in seven consecutive games.
WR Devonta Smith is the first Eagles rookie to record 50 or more catches in a season since Jordan Matthews in 2014.
CB Darius Slay leads the NFL with 117 passes defended since 2013 and is the only defensive player this season with three touchdowns (two fumble returns and an interception return).