Seattle Seahawks vs. Minnesota Vikings Playoff Preview

Russell Wilson and the Seahawks begin their attempt to make three straight Super Bowls on Sunday. Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison
Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks begin their attempt to make three consecutive Super Bowls on Sunday. Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison

By Alex Gustafson

Game Info
Seattle Seahawks vs. Minnesota Vikings
Sunday – January 10 – 12:05 PM CT
TV: NBC
TCF Bank Stadium – Minneapolis, Minnesota

Records Before the Game
Seattle Seahawks (10-6, 5-3 away)
Minnesota Vikings (11-5, 6-2 Home)

The Minnesota Vikings host the Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card round of this weekend’s NFL Playoffs in a rematch. They met previously in Week 13 and was a 38-7 Seattle victory.

Keys for the Vikings:

  1. Feed Adrian Peterson the ball!: Adrian Peterson led the NFL with 1,485 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns to claim his third rushing title, beating out Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin (1,402 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns).
  2. Protect Teddy: While Minnesota’s offensive line started every game during the regular season, the line appeared to be better at run blocking than pass blocking, often times forcing Bridgewater to scramble for his life, therefore not having enough time to find receivers down field and forcing the second year quarterback to throw the ball away. With the Seahawks aggressive defense the task will not be easy.
  3. Make the most of the big play when it presents itself: Whether on offense, defense or special teams, Minnesota must take advantage of whatever big play comes their way. To make sure there is a chance for a big play on offense, their best chances likely reside in utilizing wide receivers Mike Wallace and rookie Stefon Diggs. However, the offensive line has to give Bridgewater the time to find the open receiver and Bridgewater must make the most of the chances he is given on Sunday.
  4. Force Russell Wilson to make throws under pressure to create turnovers: Following a 39-32 loss to division rival Arizona Cardinals in Week 10, Wilson went on arguably the greatest seven game stretch by a quarterback in league history (24-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio). The Seahawks quarterback completed 82 percent of passes during the seven game stretch and threw for 1,906 yards. In the Vikings 20-13 Week 17 victory over the Green Bay Packers, the defense forced two Aaron Rodgers turnovers (one fumble and one interception) to go along with five sacks.
  5. Tackle in space: Although Jimmy Graham is out for the season with a knee injury, wide receivers Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett have stepped up in his absence to make Seattle’s passing attack more of a threat. With Marshawn Lynch battling injuries all season, rookie running back Thomas Rawls statistics over a four week stretch of Seahawks’ victories were needed and allowed the team to fill the void left by the injury to Lynch before Rawls went down with an injury of his own. Lastly, Lockett’s spark as a receiver/returner must be contained.

For the Vikings to have a chance in this game, the team must have everything mentioned above occur to pull off the upset and dethrone the two-time defending NFC Champion Seahawks.

Keys for the Seahawks:

  1. Contain Adrian Peterson: In the the Week 13 match up between these two teams, Seattle’s defense limited the league’s leading rusher to 18 yards on only eight carries. If Peterson runs for 100 plus yards, expect a much closer game.
  2. Pressure Teddy Bridgewater into forcing throws to create turnovers: Minnesota’s second-year quarterback has been subjected to sub-par offensive line play for the majority of the season and subject to pressure and sacks, which falls right into Seattle’s defensive wheelhouse.
  3. Get the ball to Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin: Baldwin and Lockett, Seattle’s top two threats in the passing game with tight end Jimmy Graham out for the season, have to continue their recent hot streaks for Seattle to advance to the Divisional Round.
  4. Protect Russell Wilson: The Seahawks offensive line play has protected their star quarterback well over their 6-1 stretch. However, the Vikings’ five sacks of Aaron Rodgers should keep Seattle on alert that anything can happen come playoff time on the road.

Prediction: Seahawks 24 – Vikings 17