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Preseason Week 1 Bengals vs Vikings: Recent games against the opponent

The Bengals and Vikings don’t have a lot of history, but things definitely get interesting when the two teams do meet.

Minnesota Vikings v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals’ first in-game football action is finally here... or a few hours away. Tonight, the Bengals will host the Minnesota Vikings to open the 2016 preseason. Ultimately, the result won’t matter and the teams are both sure to be rusty. They will mostly be playing backups and won’t play anywhere near up to what they are capable. But, watching bad preseason football is still more entertaining than watching no football at all.

It has been a while since the Bengals and Vikings last met. As teams in two separate conferences without any particularly interesting history or rivalry to speak of, the Bengals and Vikings just don’t play each other very often. In fact, they have only seen each other 12 times in the regular season since the Bengals joined the NFL as part of the NFL-AFL merger in 1970.

In those 12 games, the Bengals and Vikings have broken even at 6-6 all-time. For the most part, the teams have traded wins and losses every other time they’ve met, save for two back-to-back losses for the Bengals in 1989 and 1992. The Bengals have only played the Vikings once during the Dalton-Green era, a game they won. They have only played them three times during the Marvin Lewis era, boasting a record of 2-1.

The very first time these teams ever met resulted in a 27-0 shutout victory for Ken Anderson’s Bengals over Fran Tarkenton’s Vikings. Anderson posted an incredible 106.2 passer rating, while Tarkenton only managed to put up 69.9. It was even worse from backup quarterback Bob Berry who did throw 11 passes, but only completed five on his way to a 22.5 passer rating.

It was an important late-season win for the Bengals in a season in which they barely beat out the Pittsburgh Steelers for the division title. Both teams ended with a record of 10-4, but the Bengals boasted a better conference record (8-3) than the Steelers (7-4). Both teams lost in the first round of the playoffs that year, although the Vikings bounced back from their loss to the Bengals. They ended up in Super Bowl VII before running into the Miami Dolphins and their ‘No-Name Defense’.

Fast-forward to the Marvin Lewis era, where the Vikings and Bengals only played each other twice during the Carson Palmer’s tenure with the team. In 2005, the Bengals dealt the Vikings a tough 37-8 loss in Week 2 of the regular season on their way to their first playoff appearance since 1991 and the Vikings’ fourth season without a playoff berth in the previous five years.

In 2009, the Vikings got the better of the Bengals in a 30-10 Vikings win behind Brett Favre that might have been the difference in them beating out the Green Bay Packers for the division title. The Bengals’ loss didn’t make much of a difference to them winning the AFC North, but it was the beginning of them losing three of their last four games and stumbling into the playoffs, where they lost to the New York Jets in the first round.

The last time these two teams met, it was an absolutely crushing victory for the Bengals over the struggling Vikings on December 22, 2013. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton absolutely went off for 363 yards and four touchdowns. Although, it was a 42 yard fumble recovery by Carlos Dunlap to the Vikings’ four yard line that set up the Bengals’ first touchdown of the game, a four yard touchdown run from BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

The Vikings answered by recovering a fumble from Jermaine Gresham (surprise!) a couple of drives later and punching the ball in for a score of their own. But, a long Bengals drive and a touchdown pass from Dalton to A.J. Green later saw the Bengals start a 35-point run that lasted until Vikings’ receiver Cordarrelle Patterson finally found the endzone with 1:42 left in the third quarter. The two teams remained relatively quiet in the fourth quarter and the Bengals sent the Vikings home with a crushing 42-14 loss.

The game took place in Week 16 of the regular season and, although the Vikings defeated the rival Detroit Lions the following week, the Bengals’ massive victory over the Vikings was probably a significant reason why head coach Leslie Frazier was fired at the end of the Vikings’ 5-10-1 season. He was replaced by another former Bengals defensive coordinator, Mike Zimmer. Friday will mark the first time that Zimmer has returned to Paul Brown Stadium since leaving for Minnesota and handing his duties over to Paul Guenther.

This time around, the stakes won’t be nearly as high. But, Bengals and Vikings fans alike will be itching to get their first looks at their team of the 2016 NFL season. Expect Bengals stars like Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, and Geno Atkins as well as Vikings stars like Teddy Bridgewater, Adrian Peterson, and Harrison Smith to make brief appearances in the first quarter before giving way to backups looking to prove to the coaches that they deserve more playing time or a place on the roster at all. The Bengals will be looking forward to seeing former teammates in Andre Smith and Emmanuel Lamur along with Zimmer in a generally friendly competition to kick off the start of Bengals football in 2016.