The Minnesota Vikings travel to Seattle this weekend for what seems to be an annual primetime trip to take on the Seahawks. Seattle is the only NFC team that Mike Zimmer hasn’t beaten since taking over the Vikings job in 2014. His overall record against Peter Carroll is 0-4, with one of those losses coming in his first playoff game as a head coach.
Heading into the game the Seahawks are favored to win by a touchdown. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, given the Vikings history in Seattle paired with their 1-3 record against Seattle’s unbeaten record.
Although it’s normal for Seattle to be favored there is something that’s going to be different about this game than the ones of recent memory. Both Zimmer and Carroll have made a living due to their great defensive minds, but that might not play a factor in this one. Ahead of the Sunday night matchup it’s looking more and more likely that this game is going to be an offensive affair, creating fits all night for the clashing defensive minds.
Seattle currently has the second highest scoring offense in the league averaging 35.5 points per game. Although the Vikings are the 16th scoring offense while averaging 26.5 points per game, they have still put up over 30 points in three of their first four games.
Traditionally this game would have been set up for a defensive showdown where both teams attempt to establish the run. It’s still likely that both teams will attempt to establish the run, considering each team has a running back performing extremely well.
Dalvin Cook has arguably been the best running back in the league whereas Chris Carson has been a solid back for Seattle. The run game will be important on Sunday night, but it’s likely not going to be the deciding factor in this game.
It’s all going to start at the quarterback position with the dual of Kirk Cousins taking on MVP frontrunner Russell Wilson. Wilson is completing over 75 percent of his passes for 1,285 yards and 16 touchdowns in only four games. That puts him on pace for 64 touchdowns and 5,140 total yards through the air.
Cousins on the other hand has not had the best start to his 2020 campaign. This has been worrisome for many Vikings fans, but it’s important to remember his shaky start in 2019 and how he finished the season with one of his best statistical performances.
Both teams have defensive units that have been hit hard by the injury bug. It was already announced that the Seahawks are going to be without star safety Jamal Adams, while the Vikings had Eric Kendricks out of Wednesday’s practice. This doesn’t even take into account the players on IR, nor does it consider how well Wilson has played this year compared to a shaky start in the Vikings secondary.
The injury report was lengthy for both teams on Wednesday so it's something to keep an eye on before kickoff on Sunday.
Both teams have been at their worst in the secondary, another new aspect to this game. There’s no Legion of Boom against Zimmer’s shutdown corners, it’s actually been quite the opposite in 2020.
Seattle ranks dead last in terms of passing yards allowed to opposing quarterbacks, averaging 401 yards allowed per game. The Vikings, although they have been better with such a young unit, does not rank too far behind Seattle. The Vikings currently rank as the 29th rated pass defense, allowing just under 292 yards per game.
The bad secondary play should make for a firework show on Sunday Night Football. Cousins and Wilson have had shootout performances in years past, but this could be the best one yet given how well their playmakers are playing.
Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf square off against Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. If that doesn’t scream “get your popcorn ready” then I’m not sure what else to say to get you excited about this game.
Lockett and Thielen have been in the league for a while now and both have extremely similar stats through the first quarter of the season. Lockett has 26 catches for 298 yards and four touchdowns while Thielen has 20 catches for 284 yards and four touchdowns.
They have both been elite receiving options for the last several years but there’s two up and coming receivers that are going to take the spotlight away from them in this game.
Metcalf has been one of the best receivers in football through the first four games and is tied for the league lead in receiving yards with Stefon Diggs. Metcalf has only hauled in 16 catches, but he’s totaled 403 yards and three touchdowns. He leads the league in yards per reception with an average of 25.2 yard per catch.
The Vikings have a receiver of their own who is right behind Metcalf in that category. Jefferson also has 16 catches on the season totaling 348 yards and a touchdown. His yards per reception is second in the league with an average of 21.8 yards.
It’s crazy how similar the Vikings playmakers match up with the Seahawks. The biggest difference between the two teams is quarterback play through the quarter mark of the season. With Wilson being the MVP frontrunner, Cousins is going to have to come up big in this game. He put together a great October in 2019 and that needs to transfer over to 2020 if the Vikings want any chance at making the playoffs.
Make sure to tune into KFAN 100.3 for the game broadcast on Sunday night and keep up to date with Vikings updates on KFAN.com.