Daniel House gets you ready for the Vikings matchup with the Seahawks and provides you with the necessary keys to victory as the team takes the field in Seattle.
The Vikings record won't show their efforts, but after losing three contests in the final minutes of the game, a mere change in luck could have shifted the outlook of the 2013 season. Finally, we saw results and watched the defense close out a football game for the first time in America last Thursday. This team will need to be well prepared for a matchup with the NFC-leading Seattle Seahawks, who have proven themselves as nearly unbeatable this season. They look to become even more formidable with the addition of wide receiver Percy Harvin to the lineup. There is sure to be a high level of animosity between Harvin and the Vikings, which is sure to provide extra motivation on the field. This is an extremely challenging game in Seattle, where the Seahawks haven't lost for nearly two years. Quarterback Russell Wilson has never lost at CenturyLink Field and has thrown 24 touchdowns and six interceptions in two seasons. Seattle has a very balanced attack and are currently ranked third in total defense (289 yards) and sixth in scoring (26.5). The Vikings will have their hands full with a very talented Seahawks team and will need to execute one of the best games the organization has played in ten seasons.
Television: FOX (Channel 9 in Minneapolis)
Play-by-Play: Chris Myers Analyst: Tim Ryan
Sideline Reporter: Jennifer Hale
KFAN-FM 100.3/KTCN-AM 1130
Play-by-Play: Paul Allen Analyst: Pete Bercich
Sideline Reporter: Greg Coleman
Pre-Game Show: Mike Mussman -10:00 a.m. CT
The Vikings and Seahawks have met 12 times with the Seahawks holding a 7-5 advantage. The Vikings and Seahawks have never played each other in an overtime game. The two teams have split the two games played at Century-Link Field. The last time the Vikings and Seahawks met was in week 9 of the 2012 season, a 30-20 Seahawks win. A win would give the Vikings back-to-back wins for the first time in the 2013 season. A win would also provide the Vikings their first win at Seattle since 10/22/06.
The Primary Focus:
Seattle's defense is ranked third in total defense and matches up with an anemic Vikings offense that came out of its shell versus the Redskins last week. The Seahawks defense will be without lock down starting cornerback Brandon Browner (groin), but Walter Thurmond should fill in nicely. The Seattle pass defense has allowed just 178 yards per game to opposing quarterbacks, which makes the Vikings offensive situation twice as complicated. Christian Ponder is battling a dislocated shoulder after diving for the end zone last week versus Washington, but all reports indicate he is ready to play. Ponder struggled last season against the Seahawks, completing just 50% of his passes for 63 yards and an interception. Despite all of this, Adrian Peterson managed to rush for 182 yards and two touchdowns, which could be pivotal in today's game. The Vikings will need to adequately move the ball with a balanced attack and John Carlson could see an elevated role, as he faces his former team for the first time. The offensive line will need to protect a group that has accumulated 28 sacks, which ranks them in the top-ten throughout the NFL. Phil Loadholt and Charlie Johnson are poised to return this week and the group will see continuity once again in week eleven. If the Vikings establish the pass, avoid third-and-long situations, and protect Ponder adequately, the offense can semi-compete in today's game.
On the Defensive:
The Vikings defense has been atrocious at stopping teams on third down and are doing so at just a 50% clip (league-worst) this season. This included a near perfect eight of nine third downs allowed against the Redskins last week. The Seahawks have converted a whopping 17 of 27 times (63%) over the last two games, which could be a recipe for disaster. The Vikings front seven needs to take advantage of a Seahawks offensive line that could be without starters Max Unger (concussion), Russell Okung (toe), and Breno Giacomini (knee). Pete Carroll indicated these players could rest as the Seahawks face a bye week in the 12th slate and the injuries would have an extra week to recover. The Vikings defense will need to stop a Seahawks running attack that averages a second-most 153.4 rushing yards per game, which has been very disastrous. Marshawn Lynch opens the passing game for big plays and if the Vikings can limit his yardage, it provides the Vikings with a better chance to win. Seattle is plus seven in the take-give, which means the Vikings need to play turnover free football and create takeaways on defense, if they want any chance to stun the Seachickens this week.
Special Teams Primer:
The Minnesota Vikings have never led the NFL in both kick and punt return average, but this season Marcus Sherels and Cordarrelle Patterson are holding down the fort. Seattle leads the league in opposing drive starts and are dynamite at kicking the ball inside the 20-yard line on kickoffs. The Seahawks will be arrogant and attempt to kick the ball to Patterson, which could yield an electrifying kick off return in Seattle.
Injury Report (via NFL.com):
|Name||Position||Injury||Practice Status||Game Status|
|Erin Henderson||LB||Illness||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Fred Evans||DT||Knee||Limited Participation in Practice||Questionable|
|Letroy Guion||DT||Chest||Did Not Participate In Practice||Out|
|Jamarca Sanford||S||Groin||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Rhett Ellison||TE||Ankle||Limited Participation in Practice||Questionable|
|Matt Asiata||RB||Shoulder||Limited Participation in Practice||Doubtful|
|Kyle Rudolph||TE||Foot||Did Not Participate In Practice||Out|
|Phil Loadholt||T||Concussion||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Christian Ponder||QB||left Shoulder||Limited Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Adrian Peterson||RB||Groin||Did Not Participate In Practice||Probable|
|Charlie Johnson||G||Elbow||Limited Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Chad Greenway||LB||Wrist||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Chris Cook||CB||Hamstring||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Jerome Felton||RB||Back||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Greg Jennings||WR||Achilles||Limited Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Tony McDaniel||DT||Hamstring||Full Participation in Practice||Questionable|
|Max Unger||C||Concussion||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Jeremy Lane||CB||Thigh||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Marshawn Lynch||RB||Knee||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Richard Sherman||CB||Hip||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Chris Clemons||DE||Not Injury Related||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Breno Giacomini||T||Knee||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Red Bryant||DE||Concussion||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Brandon Browner||CB||Groin||Did Not Participate In Practice||Out|
|Bruce Irvin||LB||Shoulder||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Derrick Coleman||RB||Hamstring||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Heath Farwell||LB||Knee||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Percy Harvin||WR||Hip||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Kam Chancellor||S||Hip||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Jeron Johnson||S||Hamstring||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
|Jordan Hill||DT||Biceps||Full Participation in Practice||Probable|
The Seahawks will be without starting cornerback Brandon Browner, and potentially three of their starting offensive lineman who are probable, which is something to monitor.
As for the Vikings, Letroy Guion and Kyle Rudolph have been ruled out, but all other practiced this week, signaling all other active players should be ready for today's game.
Final Keys to Victory:
The Vikings must pass adequately, avoid third-and-long situations, stop the run, pressure Russell Wilson, and win the turnover battle if they want any chance to upset the Seahawks this week. The coaching staff had a few extra days to prepare for Seattle, which should help this team be ready for a game with an amazingly challenging opponent.