Los Angeles Rams vs. Minnesota Vikings Prediction, Preview, Picks & Odds - 12/26/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Friday, Dec 24, 2021
Game time: 1 p.m. ET
Venue: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN
Where to watch: FOX

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Rams -3.5
BetMGM: Rams -3
Caesars: Rams -3.5

Season record
Rams: 10-4 (T-1st place, NFC West)
Vikings: 7-7 (2nd place, NFC North)

Matt Fargo is on a perfect 5-0 run, and best believe that he’ll look to continue that with a big Week 16. Catch Matt’s plays available right now at the Shop Picks page, where you can find all of the Best Bets from our champion sports handicappers.

Rams - Vikings preview and analysis

Last week
Rams: won 20-10 vs. Seahawks (Tuesday)
Vikings: won 17-9 at Bears (Monday)

If you're a fan of wide receivers taking over the game, you're in for a treat this week in Minnesota.

The fact we're talking about a matchup between Cooper Kupp and Justin Jefferson before discussing the actual matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and Minnesota Vikings is crazy. Especially because, you know, important playoff implications and all that jazz.

But the Rams and Vikings will meet in what's considered a must-win for both. The Rams need a win to keep pace with the now-struggling Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West; both teams are 10-4 with three games to go, and that 30-23 win two weeks ago has set the stage for something interesting. Minnesota, meanwhile, is sitting in the last wild-card spot and in a three-way tie with the Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints.

But it's a battle of two of the best receivers and two defenses that will surely be targeted all game. Funny enough, as Kupp and Jefferson have shown, that's not going to be easy.

Kupp leads the league in every single receiving category with 122 receptions, 1,625 yards and 14 touchdowns. We knew Kupp was great, but Matthew Stafford has turned him into a force in the slot and outside. Kupp had nine receptions for 136 yards and both touchdowns in their 20-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday.

"Coming off a very big game against the Cardinals and then having all the stuff go on ... it's just being able to navigate the changes in your routine and still put together a game plan and execute when you don't even know who's going to play," said Kupp, who broke Isaac Bruce's single-season Rams record in receptions. "I just thought we did a good job handling that and walking out with a ‘W.'"

Stafford threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns to give him his ninth career season with 4,000 yards, which is tied for the sixth most all-time. Kupp, meanwhile, can join Michael Irvin and Randy Moss as the only players with nine games of at least 100 yards and a touchdown; the last time he saw the Vikings, he caught nine passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns.

Opposite him is Jefferson, who in his second season is looking like Moss as the days go by. Jefferson didn't have as much of an impact as Kupp, but he did catch one of Kirk Cousins' two touchdowns in the 17-9 Monday night win against the Chicago Bears. Jefferson had four receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown on the night he was named to his second consecutive pro bowl.

"I think we have work," Cousins said. "I think there is a lot to improve upon. We're playing three really good opponents up ahead. We're probably going to need everyone, so there is not a lot of room for error and we have to tighten the screws here and play our best football down the stretch."

Jefferson is 20 yards away from tying Odell Beckham Jr. for the most receiving yards by a player in his first two seasons. He's looking for his third straight home game with a touchdown and fourth straight overall with a score.

News about the game: Dalvin Cook has entered COVID protocol and would likely not play.


Forget the run game. The winner of this game will come down to which defense makes the most plays and which receiver will get it done. Right now, give me Kupp and the Rams because I don't trust Minnesota's secondary at all. Rams by 7

Betting trends

The Rams are 12-4 ATS in their last 16 after playing a division opponent.

The Rams are 3-12 in their last 15 after two straight wins.

The Vikings are 9-13 ATS in their last 22 home games.

Players to watch

Rams: Defensive tackle Aaron Ronals is trying for his fourth straight game with a sack and third straight with at least two tackles for loss.

Vikings: Defensive back Patrick Peterson has seven interceptions in 20 career games against the Rams.

Statistical leaders

Passing: Matthew Stafford – 4,142 yards, 35 TD, 10 INT
Rushing: Darrell Henderson – 671 yards, 5 TD
Receiving: Cooper Kupp – 1,625 yards, 14 TD
Defense: Aaron Donald – 11 sacks

Passing: Kirk Cousins – 3,656 yards, 29 TD, 6 INT
Rushing: Dalvin Cook – 1,067 yards, 6 TD
Receiving: Justin Jefferson – 1,335 yards, 9 TD
Defense: D.J. Wonnum – 6 sacks

Don't miss our champion handicappers' free picks and expert football picks today. And if you enjoyed this Los Angeles Rams - Minnesota Vikings prediction, be sure to drop by every day for our daily NFL projections and previews.

Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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