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Patriots at Vikings: Keys to game, how to watch, who has the edge

Minnesota aims to put last week's loss behind them against a team they haven't beaten in 22 years.

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen catches a 5-yard touchdown pass near the end of the second quarter against the New England Patriots on Dec. 2, 2018, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen catches a 5-yard touchdown pass near the end of the second quarter against the New England Patriots on Dec. 2, 2018, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Jeff Wheeler / Minneapolis Star Tribune / TNS
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Patriots (6-4) at Vikings (8-2)

Kickoff: 7:20 p.m. Thursday
Where: U.S. Bank Stadium
TV: NBC; Mike Tirico, Tony Dungy, Jason Garrett, Melissa Stark
Referee: Alex Kemp
Series: Patriots lead 9-4
Line: Vikings by 2½

The Vikings have lost their past four games against the Patriots, but the quarterback in each was the since-departed Tom Brady. The last Minnesota victory in the series was 21-13 at New England in 2000, which was head coach Bill Belichick’s first year with the Patriots.

The Vikings, facing New England for the first time since 2018, are looking to bounce back from an ugly 40-3 home loss last Sunday to Dallas. Wide receiver Adam Thielen said how they respond will be a test of their “character.”

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Quarterback Kirk Cousins was sacked seven times by the Cowboys, who lead the NFL with 42 sacks. The Patriots are second with 36, and feature linebacker Matt Judon, who has an NFL-best 13. It doesn’t help Minnesota’s cause that star left tackle Christian Darrisaw won’t play due to a concussion.

The Patriots rank fourth in the NFL in total defense but are just 25th in total offense. Quarterback Mac Jones has regressed in his second season, and has thrown just four touchdown passes with seven interceptions in seven starts. But he will face a Vikings defense that, due to injuries, will start cornerback Duke Shelley, who began this month on the practice squad.

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Related Topics: MINNESOTA VIKINGS
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