Sunday: Noon at U.S. Bank Stadium (Ch. 4 and KFAN-FM 100.3)
ABOUT THE BROWNS
• Cleveland (2-1) demolished the Bears 26-6, despite having to rely on four field goals from former Vikings practice squad kicker Chase McLaughlin. Cleveland's defense didn't let Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields do much in his first NFL start, sacking him nine times and allowing just 47 net yards.
• Defensive end Myles Garrett had 4.5 of the Browns' nine sacks, setting an individual franchise record for a single game, all but guaranteeing he'll have another double-digit sack season. Only two NFL edge rushers have generated more pressure on quarterbacks than Garrett through three games, according to Pro Football Focus.
• Running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt drive an offense that ranks second in total rushing yards – 524 – while doing so efficiently with a third-ranked 5.1 yards per carry. Cleveland's offensive line, with two top-10 draft picks in tackles Jack Conklin and Jedrick Wills, is a big reason why.
• Cleveland's young defensive secondary, led by fourth-year corner Denzel Ward, will be without rookie corner Greg Newsome. Veteran Troy Hill and third-year corner Greedy Williams could play more after Newsome was injured against the Bears.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT | QB Baker Mayfield
• Mayfieldhas been unspectacular but efficient for a Browns offense averaging 28.7 points per game. The passing game is simply a complement to a dominant rushing attack, which leads the NFL with eight rushing touchdowns.
• The first overall pick in the 2018 draft, Mayfield has thrown just two touchdown passes to two interceptions. He lost one of his top weapons, receiver Jarvis Landry, to injured reserve, but receiver Odell Beckham Jr. returned last week from his 2020 ACL tear.
• Mayfield on Kevin Stefanski's return: "Anytime you have familiarity with a system, I mean 14 years is a long time, I think it would mean a lot to him. He's not going to tell anybody here that, but we have a lot of people that have familiarity with Minnesota and the Vikings franchise."
• Vikings coach Mike Zimmer on the Browns offense: "The two [running] backs are outstanding, offensive line is very good, tight ends are good. They use multiple packages, a lot of opened up formations. They've got really good receivers; Beckham is back again. … They're very explosive."
COACH SPEAK | Kevin Stefanski
• Stefanski, the reigning Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year,is in his second season as Browns head coach with a 13-6 record (.684) in the regular season and 1-1 in the playoffs. Stefanski was a 14-year assistant coach for the Vikings, spanning three different head coaches before taking the top job in Cleveland.
• Stefanski runs a similar offensive playbook as what he learned under Gary Kubiak in Minnesota, with a run-oriented attack that uses wide-zone blocking schemes and play-action passing. Former Vikings coaches Joe Woods, Mike Priefer and Drew Petzing are also on Stefanski's staff.
• Stefanski onreturning to Minnesota: "It's obviously a special place. Great time there, treated great by the organization from the ownership to the coaches to the staff. Really have good friends there. That being said, it's a really big game and they're a good team, so that has our full attention."
• Stefanski on "not thinking too much" against a familiar foe: "They know our scheme. I've obviously been around Coach Zim and his defensive scheme, but they're evolving. I think you could probably say the same for us. It's a really, really sound scheme on both sides of the ball."