Minnesota Vikings vs. Seattle Seahawks: Preview
By Dan Zinski
The Minnesota Vikings will take on the Seattle Seahawks Sunday afternoon in frigid TCF Bank Stadium.
Game time for the first of two NFC Wild Card playoff games is set for 12:05 CT.
The Seahawks and Vikings played earlier this year, with Seattle winning 38-7. What went wrong in that game for the Vikings and what can they do to ensure the same result does not happen again?
Here are five areas where the Vikings must do better today:
1. Get off to a better start offensively.
The Vikings in the previous game gave up a touchdown on Seattle’s second offensive series, but Seattle didn’t score again until more than midway into the second quarter. The Vikings’ failure to answer that first Seattle TD with so much as a field goal really hurt them.
After Seattle’s second touchdown, Teddy Bridgewater pressed a little bit and threw an interception that allowed the Seahawks to score again just before the half. And that was really all she wrote.
Next: Adrian Peterson's back is a concern
The Vikings must absorb whatever the Seahawks throw at them early and return fire, not just shrivel up and die like last time.
2. Contain Russell Wilson
The Vikings let Wilson do pretty much whatever he wanted last time. He threw for 274 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another 51 yards and one touchdown.
Keeping contain on the edges is key. And covering better downfield so he can’t hit big plays.
3. Run the ball
The Vikings couldn’t get anything going in their running game early, and that put far too much onus on Teddy Bridgewater.
Adrian Peterson was stuffed early and because the game became a rout, he finished with only 18 yards.
Peterson’s back required treatment during the week and it’s fair to wonder how much of the load he will be able to carry today.
4. Use their X-factor
Jerick McKinnon has become an X-factor for the Vikings. He could be a huge player today against Seattle.
McKinnon had 76 receiving yards and a TD against the Bears. He had 89 rushing yards and two TDs largely in garbage time against the Giants. He had 33 receiving yards against the Packers.
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Norv Turner loves splitting McKinnon wide and bringing him on crossing routes.
5. Maintain discipline
The Vikings’ worst games this year have come about because the team seemed to get too high emotionally. The Vikings are good, especially on defense, when they stick to the game plan and don’t let themselves be rattled.
The offense didn’t look very good last week against Green Bay but the defense looked very strong, and maintained their discipline throughout. Every time you thought the Packers were going to put something together, the Vikings held strong and prevented a rally from materializing.
The Seahawks last time got the Vikings out of their game early and it became a rout.
Extra: Just having Linval Joseph, Harrison Smith and Anthony Barr on the field automatically makes the Vikings a better defensive team. Getting pressure up the middle from Joseph and Sharrif Floyd could go a long way toward disrupting the Seahawks’ offense, provided the Vikings can keep Wilson from breaking outside and making plays.
Prediction: Minnesota 20, Seattle 17.