Red-hot Vikings, protests and familiar faces: 7 storylines on Vikings gameday

Thursday Night Football is coming to Minneapolis as the Vikings host Washington in an NFC clash.

FOX 9 has you covered all night long: 

  • 5 p.m. - FOX 9 News
  • 5:30 p.m. - Vikings Gameday Live
  • 6:30 p.m. - Thursday Night Football on FOX 
  • After the game - FOX 9 News

Here are seven storylines we're watching ahead of Thursday night's matchup: 

1. Protests begin at 4 p.m. 

Thousands will fill U.S. Bank Stadium for the matchup, but outside, protesters will rally to call on Washington to drop its “Redskins” mascot. Washington has faced scrutiny for years over the continued use of Redskins as its team mascot.

David Glass, the president of the National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media and a member of the White Earth Nation, argues it’s time Washington and the NFL said goodbye to the name.

"We don’t say it," explained Glass. "It’s the ‘R’ word. It’s the ‘R’ word for us. Like ‘N’ word is for the African-American community. It’s a dark piece of history. It’s very offensive."

Glass explained the term dates back hundreds of years to a period where American Indians were slain and their killers paid for the scalps.

Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan announced she will attend the rally as will Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.

The coalition rallied at TCF Bank Stadium in 2014 -- the last time the Vikings and Redskins squared off in Minnesota.

2. Red hot Vikings take on weak opponent

The Vikings are red hot, winning three consecutive games. They are looking for a fourth-straight win against the lowly 1-6 Washington team that fired its head coach just two weeks ago. 

3. Familiar faces: Cousins, Keenum and Peterson face off against their old teams

Thursday’s game features a number of familiar faces on both sides of the ball.

Cousins played multiple seasons for Washington before signing with Minnesota. The Vikings’ last quarterback, Case Keenum, now leads the Redskins’ offense that features Vikings’ great Adrian Peterson as well.

The last pass Keenum threw at U.S. Bank Stadium was the "Minneapolis Miracle" touchdown to Stefon Diggs in the NFC Divisional Series in January 2018. 

4. Local kid returns home

Some Burnsville residents will also recognize Washington Center Chase Roullier. The 26-year-old graduated from Burnsville High School in 2011. He will be wearing number 73 for Washington Thursday night. 

Chase Roullier #73 of the Washington Redskins prepares to snap the ball against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half at FedExField on September 15, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. (Scott Taetsch / Getty Images)

5. Thielen ruled out Thursday night

While heavy favorites Thursday, the Vikings will be without star Wide Receiver Adam Thielen, who suffered an injury after a touchdown catch in Detroit Sunday afternoon.

The news of Thielen’s absence devastated a Coon Rapids girl named Brooklyn Wednesday, leading to this adorable video taken by her mother.

6. 'Primetime Purple'

The Vikings will be donning their “Primetime Purple” color rush uniforms Thursday night as well.

It’s just the sixth time in franchise history that they’ve worn all purple and the first time since 2016. 

7. Steve Jordan inducted into the Ring of Honor

Former Vikings TE Steve Jordan will be inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor Thursday night.

Tight end Steve Jordan #83 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on from the sideline during a game against the Detroit Lions at the Pontiac Silverdome on December 17, 1994 in Pontiac, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Vikings 41-19. (George Gojkovich / Getty Images)

He spent 13 years in purple in the 1980s and 1990s, catching nearly 500 passes. He is third in franchise history in receptions. The six-time Pro Bowler will be the 25th member of the Ring of Honor.

The Vikings released the following statement about the scheduled protests:

The Minnesota Vikings recognize the sensitivity of this issue. Minnesota has a significant Native American population and our franchise has strong, positive relationships with several tribal nations and Native American leaders within the state.

We have maintained an ongoing and respectful dialogue with the Native American community, as well as with other state leaders, on this matter and continue to participate in conversations regarding the upcoming game.

In terms of in-game elements, we are obligated as a member of the NFL to operate and market the game as we would any other Vikings home game.

We respect and support our local community voices having an opportunity to be heard. As with all of our games, our primary focus will be on providing a positive game day experience for Vikings fans. We look forward to continuing to work together to ensure that successful game experience.