Vikings-Seahawks Preview

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

AFC-best Houston.

“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

Lions.

“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

INTs).

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

with it.”

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.