The Minnesota Vikings host the Los Angeles Rams Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Kickoff will be at noon. The game can be seen on Fox with Adam Amin on play-by-play, Mark Schlereth as analyst and Shannon Spake on the sideline.
Sunday’s game comes one day short of the 52nd anniversary of their first playoff meeting, on Dec. 27 at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington.
But that was the second meeting of the teams in three weeks that season. They also played a big regular-season game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Dec. 7.
The teams entered that first game with a combined record of 21-1 and there was a lot on the line.
The 11-0 Rams were looking to become the first NFL team since the 1942 Chicago Bears to finish the regular season undefeated.
The Vikings were 10-1 and had won 10 in a row since opening the season with a 24-23 loss to their former quarterback, Fran Tarkenton and the New York Football Giants at Yankee Stadium. They were after home-field advantage in the playoffs.
Both teams had clinched the title in their respective division.
The Vikings had clinched their second straight Central Division title, beating out the Lions, Packers, and Bears. The Rams had won the Coastal Division crown over the Colts, Falcons, and 49ers.
By the way, the other two NFL divisions at the time also started with the letter C.
Playing in the Capitol Division were the Cowboys, Redskins, Eagles, and Saints, and the teams making up the Century Division were the Browns, Cardinals, Giants, and Steelers.
If you know anything about geography that doesn’t make sense, but that was the way it was.
Entering the season, it was predetermined that the champions of the Central and Coastal divisions would meet in one game in the divisional round of the playoffs and the Capitol and Century division winners would meet in the other.
So the Vikings and Rams knew they would be meeting again in three weeks in the playoffs.
Minnesota would win the game 20-13.
Dave Osborn scored from four yards out and Bill Brown from one yard out for the Vikings. Fred Cox kicked field goals of 39 and 29 yards. For the Rams, Bruce Gossett kicked field goals of 37 and 27 yards and Roman Gabriel threw a four-yard TD pass to Larry Smith.
Minnesota would beat San Francisco 10-7 at home the next week and then drop its regular-season finale 10-3 at Atlanta to finish 12-2. Los Angeles would lose its final three games as after the loss to the Vikings, the Rams lost 28-0 at Detroit and 13-7 at home to Baltimore, finishing 11-3.
That meant the Vikings, who were in their ninth season, would host a playoff game at The Met for the first time on Dec. 27.
Bob Klein caught a three-yard TD pass from Gabriel and Osborn went in from one yard out and the game was 7-7 after the first quarter. L.A. led 17-7 at halftime as Gossett kicked a 20-yard field goal and Gabriel threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Billy Truax in the second quarter.
Osborn went in from a yard out for his second TD for the only score of the third quarter, but Gossett’s 27-yard FG gave the Rams a 20-14 in the fourth.
Quarterback Joe Kapp would plow in from two yards out in the fourth quarter, with Fred Cox’s PAT giving the Vikings their first lead at 21-20. Defensive end Carl Eller tackled Gabriel in the end zone for a safety to give Minnesota its final 23-20 margin.
Minnesota went on to easily beat the Browns 27-7 for the NFL Championship, but they were upset in final pre-merger Super Bowl by the AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs 23-7.
Stat of the Week
Defensive end D.J. Wonnum became one of five players in the NFL with at least 3.0 sacks, two tackles for loss and one forced fumble in a single game Monday at Chicago.
OLB T.J. Watt (Pittsburgh): Week 13 vs. Baltimore
DE Chris Jones (Kansas City): Week 11 at Kansas City
OLB Robert Quinn (Chicago): Week 11 vs. Baltimore
DE Chandler Jones (Arizona): Week 1 at Tennessee
Kirk Cousins is the sixth quarterback to throw at least two touchdown passes in 10 consecutive road games.
14 Tom Brady, New England, 2010-2012
12 Peyton Manning, Denver, 2013-2014
11 Matt Ryan, Atlanta, 2018-19
11 Tom Brady, New England, 2003-2004
11 Brett Favre, Green Bay, 2001-2002
10 Kirk Cousins, Minnesota, 2020-21
DT Sheldon Richardson recorded his 11th career forced fumble and sixth career fumble recovery at Chicago.
DT Dalvin Tomlinson recorded the Vikings first field goal block since D.J. Wonnum on Nopv. 29, 2020.
Mike Zimmer won his first game as Minnesota’s head coach at St. Louis, 34-6 in 2014.
The Vikings and Rams have played four overtime games in series history with the Vikings holding a 2-1-1 advantage.
The Vikings lead the series with the Rams 27-17-2
11-05-1961: Los Angeles Rams 31, Minnesota Vikings 17
12-03-1961: Minnesota Vikings 42, Los Angeles Rams 21
10-21-1962: Minnesota Vikings 38, Los Angeles Rams 14
11-25-1962: Minnesota Vikings 24, Los Angeles Rams 24 (tie)
10-20-1963: Los Angeles Rams 27, Minnesota Vikings 24
11-03-1963: Minnesota Vikings 21, Los Angeles Rams 13
09-27-1964: Los Angeles Rams 22, Minnesota Vikings 13
11-29-1964: Minnesota Vikings 34, Los Angeles Rams 13
10-03-1965: Minnesota Vikings 38, Los Angeles Rams 35
11-07-1965: Minnesota Vikings 24, Los Angeles Rams 13
10-16-1966: Minnesota Vikings 35, Los Angeles Rams 7
11-20-1966: Los Angeles Rams 21, Minnesota Vikings 6
09-22-1967: Los Angeles Rams 39, Minnesota Vikings 3
12-01-1968: Los Angeles Rams 31, Minnesota Vikings 3
12-07-1969: Minnesota Vikings 20, Los Angeles Rams 13
12-27-1969: Minnesota Vikings 23, Los Angeles Rams 20 (NFL Western Conference Championship)
10-26-1970: Minnesota Vikings 13, Los Angeles Rams 3
11-19-1972: Minnesota Vikings 45, Los Angeles Rams 41
10-28-1973: Minnesota Vikings 10, Los Angeles Rams 9
11-24-1974: Los Angeles Rams 20, Minnesota Vikings 17
12-29-1974: Minnesota Vikings 14, Los Angeles Rams 10 (NFC Championship Game)
09-19-1976: Minnesota Vikings 10, Los Angeles Rams 10 (tie)
12-26-1976: Minnesota Vikings 24, Los Angeles Rams 13 (NFC Championship Game)
10-24-1977: Los Angeles Rams 35, Minnesota Vikings 3
12-26-1977: Minnesota Vikings 14, Los Angeles Rams 7 (NFC Divisional Playoff Game)
10-15-1978: Los Angeles Rams 34, Minnesota Vikings 17
12-31-1978: Los Angeles Rams 34, Minnesota Vikings 10 (NFC Divisional Playoff Game)
12-02-1979: Los Angeles Rams 27, Minnesota Vikings 21 (OT)
10-06-1985: Los Angeles Rams 13, Minnesota Vikings 10
09-20-1987: Minnesota Vikings 21, Los Angeles Rams 16
12-26-1988: Minnesota Vikings 28, Los Angeles Rams 17 (NFC Wild Card Game)
11-05-1989: Minnesota Vikings 23, Los Angeles Rams 21 (OT)
12-15-1991: Minnesota Vikings 20, Los Angeles Rams 14
11-29-1992: Minnesota Vikings 31, Los Angeles Rams 17
09-13-1998: Minnesota Vikings 38, St. Louis Rams 31
01-16-2000: St. Louis Rams 49, Minnesota Vikings 37 (NFC Divisional Playoff Game)
12-10-2000: St. Louis Rams 40, Minnesota Vikings 29
11-30-2003: St. Louis Rams 48, Minnesota Vikings 17
12-11-2005: Minnesota Vikings 27, St. Louis Rams 13
12-31-2006: St. Louis Rams 41, Minnesota Vikings 21
10-11-2009: Minnesota Vikings 38, St. Louis Rams 10
12-16-2012: Minnesota Vikings 36, St. Louis Rams 22
09-07-2014: Minnesota Vikings 34, St. Louis Rams 6
11-08-2015: Minnesota Vikings 21, St. Louis Rams 18 (OT)
11-19-2017: Minnesota Vikings 24, Los Angeles Rams 7
09-27-2018: Los Angeles Rams 38, Minnesota Vikings 31
Points scored: Minnesota Vikings 1049, Los Angeles Rams 1008