Bengals at Vikings: By the numbers, series history

The numbers you need to know when the Cincinnati Bengals visit the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday.

9: Bengals’ current first-round draft pick slot

If the season ended today, Cincinnati would be right back where it started. Currently, there are three other teams – Broncos, Redskins, Jets – with five wins that could flip-flop over the last three weeks.

The Bengals haven’t picked in the top-10 in back to back drafts since 2008-2009.

7: Potential starters out against Minnesota

Nearly two weeks later, the Bengals are still reeling from their hard-hitting loss to Pittsburgh. Four starters – Vontaze Burfict (concussion), Dre Kirkpatrick (concussion), Kevin Minter (hamstring) and Nick Vigil (ankle) – have already been ruled out for Sunday’s tilt at U.S. Bank Stadium. Minter was put on injured reserve early Friday afternoon.

Joe Mixon (concussion) and Shawn Williams (hamstring) are questionable, and Michael Johnson (pectoral) is doubtful.

Not good news for a team looking to bounce back from a 26-point home loss to a three-win Bears club a week ago.

96.2: Case Keenum’s passer rating this season 

Case Keenum has been one of the biggest quarterback surprises this season. After Sam Bradford went down a knee injury and was placed on IR, Keenum has taken over the starting job and has played extremely well. Despite Teddy Bridgewater’s healthy status for the first since 2015, Keenum has kept the starting gig.

In 11 starts this season, Keenum is 8-3 with 18 touchdowns against seven picks. The Houston product’s 96.2 passer rating is 11th in the NFL this season and he’s fifth in completion percentage with a 66.8.

Depending on how the Vikings finish 2017, it will be interesting how Mike Zimmer handles the QB spot into next year. Bridgewater, a first-round pick in 2014, was drafted to be the franchise signal-caller.

Is Keenum a one-year wonder with a better supporting cast, or will he revert to his older ways when he 9-15 over his first five seasons?

4: Healthy Bengals’ linebackers for Week 15

With Minter on IR and Burfict and Vigil on the mend, the Bengals will once again be young at linebacker. Paul Guenther will have four healthy linebackers against the Vikings – Jordan Evans, Hardy Nickerson, Vincent Rey and Brandon Bell.

Three of those four linebackers are rookies. Most notably is Bell, who was promoted from the practice squad on Friday.

Bell, a college free-agent, had 226 tackles, 11.5 sacks and four interceptions in four years at Penn State. Bell had eight tackles and a sack in the preseason.

9: Years since the Bengals were a double-digit underdog

The Bengals enter Sunday a 10.5-point underdog against the first-place Vikings.

Cincinnati has not been a double-digit underdog since Dec. 7, 2008. That day they were 13.5-point road underdogs against Indianapolis.

Peyton Manning threw three touchdowns in the Colts’ 35-3 win that afternoon. Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jordan Palmer combined for three interceptions and a pick-six.

2008 was Marvin Lewis’ worst season in Cincinnati. After that loss to Indianapolis, though, the Bengals won their final three games to finish 4-11-1, or they would’ve picked second in the draft (behind the 0-16 Lions).

The Bengals picked sixth, taking Alabama right tackle Andre Smith. The Rams (2-14 in ’08) took Baylor tackle Jason Smith with the no. 2 pick, who would only play four seasons in the NFL.

Bengals-Vikings series history

  • Series tied 6-6
  • Last meeting – Dec. 22, 2013: Andy Dalton threw four touchdowns in a 42-14 Bengals’ win over the Leslie Frazier-led Vikings.
  • Bengals are 0-5 lifetime in Minnesota (outscored 145-58).
  • Dec. 24, 1995: Jeff Blake throws two second-half touchdowns as the Bengals overcome a 21-point deficit (tied for the biggest in franchise history) to beat the Vikings, 27-24. The win eliminates Dennis Green’s Vikings from playoff contention.
  • Dec. 25, 1989: One week after running up the score in a 61-7 win over the Houston Oilers, the Bengals lose to the Vikings, 29-21, on Monday night and end the season 8-8. The loss eliminates Cincinnati from playoff contention as division-rivals Houston and Pittsburgh (both 9-7) earn Wild Card spots.