Once again, it’s time to take a look back at the history between the Minnesota Vikings and their opponent for the upcoming week. This Sunday, the Vikings will have their final interconference matchup of the year, as they’ll do battle with Mike Zimmer’s former team, the Cincinnati Bengals.
The history between these two teams is about as evenly matched as you can get. In the history of the two franchises, they’ve only met a dozen times, with each team winning six games. So, the winner of this Sunday’s contest will take the all-time lead, and the loser won’t get a chance to even things up until these teams meet in Cincinnati in 2021.
As always, the facts and numbers in this post are brought to you by the good folks from Pro Football Reference.
Total games between the Vikings and Bengals: 12
All-time record: 6-6
Total Vikings’ points scored, head-to-head: 253 (21.1 points/game)
Total Bengals’ points scored, head-to-head: 236 (19.7 points/game)
Longest Vikings’ winning streak vs Bengals: 2 (25 December 1989 - 27 September 1992)
Longest Bengals’ winning streak vs Vikings: 1 (six different times)
Most recent Vikings’ home win in series: 13 December 2009 (final score 30-10)
Most recent Bengals’ road win in series: N/A (The Bengals have never won in Minnesota)
Largest Vikings’ home win in series: 32 points, 13 November 1977 (final score 42-10)
Largest Bengals’ road win in series: N/A (The Bengals have never won in Minnesota)
Current streak: Bengals, 1 win
You read that correctly, folks. The Cincinnati Bengals have never walked into Minnesota and walked out with a victory. Of the 12 games in this series, five of them have been played in Minneapolis, and the Bengals are 0-5 in those games. Yes, that means that the Vikings are 1-6 in Cincinnati over the years, so that sort of evens things out a bit. The Bengals have also never won consecutive games over the Vikings, which makes sense given the way interconference opponents alternate games.
The last time these two teams got together was a complete disaster for the Vikings. It was towards the end of the awful 2013 season when Minnesota went to Cincinnati, and they got smoked. The Bengals scored two touchdowns in each of the first three quarters, including four touchdown passes from Andy Dalton and a 25-yard return of a Matt Cassel interception by Vincent Rey for another score. Five minutes into the game, the score was tied at 7-7, but the Bengals would go on to score the next 35 points en route to a 42-14 victory.
The previous matchup happened during a much more enjoyable time for Vikings’ fans, as the Bengals came to the Metrodome in 2009. The Vikings were on a roll and still fighting for home field advantage in the NFC playoffs, and the Bengals kept it close early, as the score was 10-7 late in the first half. The Vikings then got two field goals in the final 30 seconds of the first half (thanks to a Bengals’ fumble) to take a 16-7 halftime lead. Adrian Peterson then found the end zone twice in the second half, and the Bengals’ offense was basically shut down as the Vikings went on to a 30-10 win.
Since we don’t have a Bengals’ victory in Minnesota to talk about, let’s briefly touch on the Vikings’ one win in Cincinnati. This one happened early in the 1992 season at venerable Riverfront Stadium. Both teams were 2-1 going into the game, but the Vikings really put a hammering on the Bengals that afternoon. Quarterback Rich Gannon threw four touchdown passes on the day, and running back Terry Allen found the end zone three times (once on the receiving end of one of Gannon’s scoring passes and twice via the ground). The Vikings held Bengals’ quarterback Boomer Esiason to under 100 yards and picked him off four times on their way to the largest margin of victory in the history of this series, beating the Bengals 42-7.
That’s a quick look back at the history between the Minnesota Vikings and the Cincinnati Bengals. Here’s hoping the purple can keep their home record against the Bengals unblemished. . .the next time the Bengals would have a chance to win in Minnesota would be in 2025 if that was the case.