Quick Take: Bengals/Vikings

In Brief

» Last meeting: The Bengals picked off five Daunte Culpepper passes and throttled the Vikings, 37-8, on Sept. 18, 2005.
» Streaks: Cincinnati has won two of the past three to tie the series at five.
» Last week: Cincinnati cruised past overmatched Detroit, 23-13. ... Minnesota was pummeled in the desert by Arizona, 30-17.

Keep your eye on ...Carson Palmer's productivity: In an odd twist, the Bengals have had their turnaround season as Palmer's numbers are down. As the playoffs approach, more teams will look to shut down Cincinnati's running game, and force Palmer to beat them. The Vikings will probably use that blueprint, and Palmer will have to show he can respond to the challenge.

Cincinnati's cover corners:Johnathan Joseph and Leon Hall have gotten credit for being perhaps the league's best defensive back tandem this year. The Bengals will need the duo to play up to those standards against a Vikings receiving corps that is among the NFL's best.

Adrian Peterson's explosion: Minnesota's Pro Bowl running back is coming off one of the worst games of his career, and he has struggled some over the past three weeks. He is averaging just 3 yards per carry over that span with only one touchdown. Against an excellent Bengals secondary, the Vikings will need Peterson to get back on track and minimize the pressure on Brett Favre.

Did you know?

The Bengals are 3-0 against the NFC North this season. ... Cincinnati leads the league in scoring defense (15.6 points per game allowed). ... Vikings TE Visanthe Shiancoe has a TD catch in three consecutive games. ... If the playoffs started today, both the Bengals and Vikings would be in. Get an updated look at the postseason picture.

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