Los Angeles Rams vs. Minnesota Vikings Odds & Free Pick

December 26, 1:00 PM EST

Betting Odds

Point Spread: 
LAR -3/MIN +3

The Los Angeles Rams come into Minneapolis for a big week 16 NFC showdown with the Minnesota Vikings. This is not an easy spot for the Vikings, but a 17-9 win over the Bears on Monday got them to .500 and with three games left, they have a shot. They look for that to give way to some extra energy and urgency this week as they take on a Rams team that moved to 10-4 on Tuesday in a 20-10 win over Seattle. Each team will be coming off the short week in a game that has ramifications for both.

Do the Vikings Have a Run in Them?

Monday’s win over Chicago was more a case of doing what you need to do. It wasn’t pretty and on the road in Soldier Field, Cousins threw two TDs on a paltry 87 yards passing. The defense didn’t allow a TD until the final play of the game, with the 17-9 score not really doing justice to the Vikings’ dominance. Winning on the road when not a lot was going right offensively is promising in its own way. But moving on to this week, they’re going to need Cousins to get going, with their big-hitters like Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen (questionable), and Dalvin Cook having good days.

This season has been a profound disappointment for the Vikings’ defense—so much that it might end up costing coach Mike Zimmer his job unless the Vikes make a late-push this season. As underperforming a unit as there has been in the league, with injuries also playing a role, it’s been tough going. Maybe it’s a case of better late than never with this group. In their last two games, only final late surges made the bottom-line look dicey, In long stretches, we are seeing the Vikings step up and end drives, getting big plays, and generally being very stout. They still haven’t been good this season and even in their better games, they show enough to give opposing offenses hope. But this has really been the first time this season that we’ve seen this “D” really flexing its muscles. And they’re going to need that and more, even against a Rams team that hasn’t been as automatic offensively as they were earlier in the season.

Possible Edges for the Vikings

With DJ Wonnum’s three sacks last week, following a game where they ran roughshod over the Steelers, we’ve seen the Vikings firing up a nice pass-rush lately despite having dealt with rampant personnel issues in that department. That Rams’ offensive line has been showing some holes recently and this is something the Vikings are hoping can flip this in their favor. That’s not to say that the prospects of the Minnesota offensive line stopping the Rams’ defensive line is any better, but it’s still food for thought.

While there is a gap in the ability to apply what they have offensively, the Vikings on paper aren’t at that much of a deficit. Cooper Kupp is the top receiver in the league this season, but Justin Jefferson can surpass anyone on the right day. Thielen is a reliable threat, though the Rams’ supporting receiver cast is certainly superior. Minnesota might have a slight edge at TE with Tyler Conklin and we’ve seen recently that Dalvin Cook can totally dominate. Seeing this offensive engine turn over as much as they’d like has been a problem. But the higher end of that range often surfaces. At home in a super-urgent spot could be one of those spots. The Rams are by no means taking this lightly. And not to over-emphasize the component of added urgency, but Kirk Cousins has to be putting a lot mentally into this game. And he knows to be taken seriously, he needs to start delivering in these big spots.

Will the Rams Be in Peak Form?

There is a quick turnaround after a Tuesday Night win over the Seahawks. It was a hard-fought game that saw a somewhat-subdued 20-point output by the Rams. They had a big day from Kupp, but the game was painfully-close throughout, with only a late minor scoring surge bailing them out of what looked like real trouble. It’s still a tough week for the Rams, in a divisional race with the Cardinals and taking to the road on the short week.

Still, the Minnesota “D” might not be up-to-snuff in this elevated context. It’s nice that they were able to hold the Steelers to nothing until almost melting down late, but they still almost blew it. Keeping the Bears tamed on Monday was also promising. But with the Rams’ two-back attack, the super dialed-in Stafford-to-Kupp connection, and all those other weapons, we could see some of the same things that have gotten the Vikings in trouble this season. It might not even boil down so much to the ins and outs of each matchup as much as it does in terms of trying to gauge the range of which team will surface. Does the Rams not thriving against a Seattle “D” portend similar things five days later on the road? Or might it even lead you to think the direct opposite will occur? The respective status of these teams over the last few seasons attests to how bankable they are in late season crunch-time.

Rams vs. Vikings Prediction ATS 12/26/21

This should be a bet one makes with some discomfort. A Rams walloping looms as a distinct possibility. We’ve seen urgency not resonate well before in a lot less-troublesome spots with this Minnesota bunch. Kirk Cousins could put forth a big dud. A defense that can fold at any time, including a secondary that looks to get pushed thin this week could lead to this backfiring. But given the crapshoot appeal of the Rams’ team as a whole, the extra-short week, and a robust task for the LA road-defense is enough to give the Vikings the necessary upside this week to warrant a good look. I’ll take the Vikings and the points at home. 

Free Pick: 
Take the Vikings