Last week, the Seattle Seahawks finally played a complete game with all the pieces at their best – it only took them ten weeks! With a score to settle against their 2012 NFC rivals, everything seemed to click for the Seahawks against the Atlanta Falcons: defense was solid as usual (notably, they limited the Falcons to 64 rushing yards, something the Seahawks struggled with against the Rams and the Buccaneers, giving up 200 and 198 yards, respectively). And then it was satisfying to see the offense kick it up a notch, with QB Russell Wilson and WR Golden Tate giving a tutorial on plays for the highlight reel. Wilson had a Quarterback Rating of 92.3 – the highest it’s been in weeks, second this season only to the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in week 3.
Can the Seahawks replicate a winning game plan and beat the Minnesota Vikings? Here are a few things to know going into the game:
1) Difference in a Year
The NFC North Vikings are a familiar opponent of the Seahawks – in the last five years, the Seahawks played them ever year, either during preseason or regular season. Their last meeting was in week 9 of the 2012 season and the Seahawks beat the Vikings in a slightly close game, 30-20. A close game only because the score seesawed back in forth, and while Seattle dominated the passing game (190 yards versus the Vikings’ 40 yards), Minnesota was all about rushing (243 yards versus the Seahawks’ 195 yards).
But last year, the Vikings were contenders – their record when they met the Seahawks was 5-3, and they ended the season 10-6 , reaching the playoffs, but eventually lost to the Green Bay Packers in the Wild Card round. Currently, the Vikings are in last place with a record of 2-7.
2) Viking to Watch: Adrian Peterson
While WR Percy Harvin might be the Seahawk player to watch because this game might be his season and team debut in a dramatic fashion against his former team, there’s no denying that most eyes will be on RB Adrian Peterson.
Peterson is the Vikings’ franchise player. He has played all seven years of his NFL career with the team that drafted him seventh overall in 2007 from Oklahoma. Last season was definitely his year. In 2012 Peterson was named the NFL Offensive Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player, and despite an ACL injury he sustained the season before, he broke all sorts of records, most notably surpassing Robert Smith as the top Vikings rusher of all-time (previously set at 6,818 yards) and ending the season with 2,097 rushing yards, the most in the 2012 season and second most in a single season – just nine yards short of the all-time record, set by Eric Dickerson in 1984.
Watching Peterson alone is something to marvel at, but Sunday’s game has something extra special: Peterson versus Marshawn Lynch, “All Day” versus “The Beast” – two of the most valuable Fantasy Football acquisitions going head-to-head. In the 2012 Seahawks-Vikings game, Peterson had 17 carries for 182 yards and two TDs, while Lynch had 26 carries for 124 yards and one TD. Let’s see if they can outdo each other again!
3) Game Prediction
There’s a reason the Vikings are 2-7. For one, they struggle to finish games in the stretch – they lost to Chicago, Cleveland and Dallas despite leading in the fourth quarter. They also struggle with a difficult schedule and injuries, particularly QB Christian Ponder who is limited after dislocating his left shoulder in the game against the Washington Redskins. But on the plus side, DBs Chris Cook and Jamarca Sanford are returning after missing a couple games. And the Vikings are coming off a win against the Redskins that may give them some confidence.
Seahawks on the other hand have Harvin and CB Richard Sherman possibly in the lineup, key pieces of the O-Line that have been missing are on the verge of returning (Breno Giacomini and Max Unger), and a healthy Wilson is defending a perfect record at home (12-0, knock on wood) as a starting QB. And of course there’s Seattle’s home field advantage and the 12th man that gives a huge edge.
As much as it pains me to disappoint the fictitious character of Marshall Eriksen from one of my favorite shows “How I Met Your Mother” – where I learned all that I know about the Vikings, which includes the introduction to Rashad Tarkenton –