This Week: The New England Patriots (5-5) return home for the first time in nearly a month and will host the Minnesota Vikings (3-7) at Gillette Stadium (68,436 capacity) on Sunday, Nov. 24. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. The Vikings enjoyed an emotional boost last week after gaining 218 rushing yards and 425 total yards in a 31-21 victory over the Green Bay Packers. The Patriots, on the other hand, return home after suffering their only loss on a three game road trip to the Raiders in Oakland. The Patriots need a victory to keep pace in the AFC East, where they currently trail the Miami Dolphins by a game and are tied with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets for second place with a 5-5 record. The Vikings will be the first of two games in five days against NFC opponents. The Patriots have split their first two games against the NFC, defeating the Chicago Bears on the road, but losing to the Green Bay Packers at home. Next week, the Patriots travel to Detroit for a Thanksgiving Day game against the Lions on Thursday, Nov. 28. It will be their second appearance on Thanksgiving in the past three years.
Television: This week's game will be broadcast regionally on FOX (locally on WFXT Channel 25). The play-by-play duties will be handled by Kenny Albert, who will be joined in the booth by Tim Green.
Radio: Every Patriots game can be heard in stereo on the Patriots official flagship station WBCN 104.1 FM. Gil Santos, now in his 26th season as the voice of the Patriots, will call the game along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti, who will provide in-depth analysis for his 22nd season. A complete list of the Patriots WBCN Rock Radio Network can be found on pages 462-463 of the 2002 Patriots media guide or at www.patriots.com.
Home Stretch: This week's game against the Vikings will be the Patriots first of four home games during the final six weeks of the regular season. The Patriots have won eight of their last 10 home games, including preseason, regular season and postseason games. Foxborough has been a wonderful home to the Patriots since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. The team has compiled a 58-30 (.659) overall record at home during that time span. This week's game will be the 89th consecutive sellout at Foxborough. It will also be the 188th consecutive game broadcast locally.
Movin' On Up: Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri became the franchise's all-time field goal leader last week when he nailed his 177th career field goal, a 31-yarder, and passed Gino Cappeletti (176). Vinatieri is the most accurate kicker in Patriots history, as well as the fifth most accurate kicker in NFL history, having made 81.2% of his kicks (177-218). He boomed the longest field goal in Patriots history earlier this season against the Bears (11/10) when he nailed a 57-yard attempt. It is also the longest in the NFL this season.
Happy Returns: Patriots running back and kickoff returner Kevin Faulk returned a fourth-quarter kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown against the Raiders last week. The last Patriots kickoff return for a touchdown was recorded by Derrick Cullors at Buffalo (11/9/97). Faulk now leads the Patriots with six touchdowns this season (two rushing, three receiving and one kickoff return). He is the only player in the NFL who has scored a rushing, receiving and return touchdown this season. He's also the first Patriot since Irving Fryar to accomplish the triple play. Fryar had one rushing, seven receiving and two punt return touchdowns in 1985.