The Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks didn’t end the first
half of the season how they wanted. Both are hoping the second half
starts on a positive note Sunday.
The Vikings will try to rebound from their most lopsided loss of
the year and hand a third consecutive defeat to the Seahawks, who
seek their best start at home since 2005.
This game features the NFL’s top rushers, with Minnesota’s
Adrian Peterson (775 yards) having a slight lead on Seattle’s
Marshawn Lynch (757). Both are coming off a second straight
100-yard game but had season lows in carries – 12 for Lynch and 15
for Peterson – and their teams both lost.
The Vikings (5-3) have yet to drop back-to-back games and enter
this matchup after nine days off. They got no closer than 13 points
in the second half of their last game, falling 36-17 to Tampa Bay
on Oct. 25 for their first home loss.
Minnesota plays five of its final eight games on the road, with
two apiece against Chicago and Green Bay as well a matchup at
“This set up perfectly for us to put an exclamation point on
these first eight and have some days before Seattle and try to eke
out a tough one on the road,” linebacker Chad Greenway said. “Now,
it definitely changes your mentality.”
The Seahawks (4-4), meanwhile, return home following road losses
to San Francisco and Detroit. They’re 1-4 on the road with 11
turnovers, compared to two at home.
“We didn’t play well enough on the road in the first half, is
really what it comes down to,” coach Pete Carroll told the
Seahawks’ official website Monday, a day after a 28-24 loss to the
“We didn’t finish the games we were close in.”
The Seahawks, though, are 3-0 at home for the second time in
three years, with the last two wins versus Green Bay and New
England coming by a total of three points. They haven’t opened 4-0
since 2005 and haven’t won four straight home games at any point in
a season since 2007.
Rookie Russell Wilson has been far better at CenturyLink Field
(six TDs, no interceptions) than on the road (four TDs, eight
Lynch has been good regardless of the venue. Seattle has a
league-low 210 passing attempts and Lynch is second in the NFL with
159 carries, averaging 6.7 per attempt in the last two games.
He’s facing a Minnesota defense which has allowed three
consecutive 100-yard rushers.
“In my mind, he’s one of the best in our business so we better
get our run (defense) fixed in a hurry,” coach Leslie Frazier told
the Vikings’ official website.
The Seahawks have one of the best run defenses in the league,
allowing 84.9 yards per game, but could have their hands full with
Peterson. The four-time All-Pro has run for 276 yards with two TDs
over the past two weeks, and he’s averaging 5.1 per carry to rank
second among players with at least 80 attempts.
“He’s special. You make your block, and you know he’s going to
do something with it,” said Seattle receiver and former Viking
Sidney Rice. “And if you don’t, he’s still going to do something
Rice caught two TD passes for Minnesota when these teams last
met, and Peterson ran for 82 yards in that 35-9 Vikings home win
Nov. 22, 2009.
It appears Rice, leading Seattle with 28 receptions, could get
plenty of targets as Wilson deals with a depleted receiving corps.
Ben Obomanu (wrist) was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, Braylon
Edwards (swollen knee) might miss a second straight game, Golden
Tate tweaked an ankle last Sunday and Doug Baldwin (high ankle
sprain) is a “longshot” to play, according to Carroll.
Whoever lines up at wide receiver will face a Vikings secondary
without corner Chris Cook, who suffered a broken right arm against
Tampa Bay. Rookie Josh Robinson is expected to take Cook’s place in
basic coverage, while A.J. Jefferson could slide in for Cook in
Minnesota’s nickel package.
The Vikings, though, could welcome back safety Mistral Raymond
(ankle) after he missed the last five games.
Minnesota also has concerns at quarterback as Christian Ponder
has thrown all seven of his interceptions in the last four games.
The Vikings have 10 turnovers in those contests after having four
in the first four.
“It’s going to be hard for us to achieve our goals if we’re not
able to improve our passing game,” Frazier said.
That also means the offensive line needs to do a better job
protecting Ponder, sacked 10 times in the last three games. That
group needs to keep an eye on end Chris Clemons, who has half of
Seattle’s 10 sacks at home.
Vikings defensive end Jared Allen has at least one sack in each
of the last six games.