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Early Look: Vikings at Seahawks

EAGAN, Minn. — Welcome back from the bye. And welcome to a final month of football.

The Vikings rested up over the weekend and now find themselves in a race for the NFC North over the next five games. Minnesota is 8-3, and so is Green Bay, which lost Sunday night in San Francisco.

There are plenty of contenders in the NFC, including the Vikings opponent in Week 13.

Seattle earned a 17-3 win over Philadelphia on Sunday, and the Seahawks now sit at 9-2 and in second place in the NFC West.

The Vikings and Seahawks will battle for playoff positioning in primetime, as this week's game is on Monday Night Football. Kickoff is at 7:15 p.m. (CT).

Here's a look at the Vikings Week 13 matchup against the Seahawks:

Passing: Kirk Cousins has been playing like an MVP candidate of late. Just look at his numbers since Week 5:

In his past seven games, Cousins has completed 162 of 221 passes (73.3 percent) for 2,020 yards with 18 touchdowns and just one interception. His passer rating since Week 5 is 126.5.

Those numbers have helped elevate the Vikings quarterback to the top of the league at his position, as Cousins has completed 226 of 320 passes (70.6 percent) for 2,756 yards with 21 touchdowns and three interceptions.

Monday night's game features a battle of the league's top two quarterbacks in terms of passer rating. Cousins leads the league at 114.8, while Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson's passer rating is 112.1.

Wilson completed 13 of 25 passes for 200 yards with a touchdown and an interception against the Eagles. His passer rating was 75.4.

The former third-round pick has completed 237 of 352 passes (67.3 percent) for 2,937 yards with 24 touchdowns and three interceptions.

Rushing: Dalvin Cook is among the NFL’s best running backs, as he has put together a stellar season through 11 games.

The Vikings running back ranks third in the NFL with 1,017 rushing yards and is second with 11 rushing touchdowns. Cook has eclipsed 95 rushing yards in seven of 11 games.

Rookie running back Alexander Mattison has also chipped in, contributing 82 carries for 394 yards and a touchdown.

Minnesota ranks fourth in the NFL with 142.5 rushing yards per game, while Seattle is tied for sixth with 136.9 rushing yards per game.

Rashaad Penny led Seattle with 14 carries for 129 yards and a touchdown Sunday, while Chris Carson had eight attempts for 26 yards. The Seahawks ran for 164 yards against Philadelphia.

Carson leads Seattle with 208 rushes for 879 yards and four scores. Penny has 296 yards and two touchdowns, while Wilson has 271 rushing yards and three scores.

Receiving: Stefon Diggs has been a big-play machine for the Vikings.

Entering Week 12, Diggs ranks seventh in the NFL with 880 receiving yards. But he's accumulated those yards on just 46 catches, as his 19.1 yards-per-catch average is third in the NFL. By comparison, the six players ahead of him in receiving yards each have at least 56 catches.

Kyle Rudolph has come on of late, as the tight end has five touchdown catches in his past five games. Rudolph has 29 catches for 251 yards and five scores this season.

Others have stepped up to fill in for Adam Thielen, who suffered a hamstring injury at Detroit in Week 7 and hasn't played since Week 9, when he attempted a comeback against Kansas City.

Rookie tight end Irv Smith, Jr. caught his first NFL touchdown in Week 11, while Bisi Johnson (24 receptions for 225 yards and two touchdowns) and Laquon Treadwell (six catches for 84 yards) have also stepped up.

The Vikings hope Thielen will be ready to go Monday night in Seattle.

Wilson spread the ball around through the air Sunday; five different players had at least 30 receiving yards, but none had more than 38.

Tyler Lockett had a 38-yard catch, while rookie DK Metcalf had three receptions for 35 yards. Malik Turner had a 33-yard touchdown, and Carson had four catches for 31 yards.

Lockett leads the Seahawks with 63 catches for 831 yards and six touchdowns, while Metcalf has 38 receptions for 630 yards and five scores. Carson has a pair of touchdown catches, while tight end Jacob Hollister has three scores.

Defense: The Vikings defense has had its ups and downs so far in 2019, but the veteran unit is ready for a December slate of five games.

Minnesota currently ranks fifth in points allowed with 18.6 but is 16th in yards allowed per game at 338.6. One reason for the middle-of-the-pack ranking could be big plays allowed in the air.

Through 11 games, the Vikings have allowed 40 passing plays of at least 20 yards. They allowed just 43 in all of 2018 and only 35 in 2017 when Minnesota led the NFL in scoring and total defense.

But the Vikings have been good near their own end zone, as Minnesota ranks third in goal-to-go percentage (56.25) and fourth in red zone percentage (46.67).

Danielle Hunter leads the Vikings with 8.5 sacks, while Everson Griffen has 7.0. Linval Joseph and Ifeadi Odenigbo have 3.0 sacks apiece. Anthony Harris has a team-high three interceptions, while seven other players have one.

Seattle ranks 20th in points allowed at 23.9 and is 23rd in yards allowed per game (370.3).

Tre Flowers and Bradley McDougal each had interceptions Sunday for a Seattle defense that also recovered three fumbles for five total takeaways.

Ziggy Ansah had 1.5 sacks, while Rasheem Green had a sack and Jarran Reed split a sack.

Green, Jadeveon Clowney and Mychal Kendricks are tied for the team lead with 3.0 sacks. Flowers, McDougal and Tedric Thompson have two interceptions apiece.

Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Seahawks.

Special teams: Vikings kicker Dan Bailey recorded his 1,000th career point in Week 11 against Denver. He has made 15 of 17 field goals and 30 of 32 extra points in 2019.

Britton Colquitt is averaging 45.8 yards per punt on 41 kicks in 2019. Minnesota averages 5.3 yards per punt return and 23.3 yards per kickoff return.

Seahawks kicker Jason Meyers made his lone field goal try and both extra points on Sunday. He has made 15 of 20 field goals in 2019 and 29 of 31 extra points.

Seattle punter Michael Dickson is averaging 45.3 yards per punt in 2019.

Lockett is Seattle's primary kickoff and punt returner.

The race is on

The Vikings currently sit at 8-3 with five games remaining. The Packers are also 8-3 but have the tiebreaker based on Green Bay's Week 2 win.

Here are the NFC playoff standings as of Monday morning:

No. 1 seed: San Francisco (10-1)

No. 2 seed: New Orleans (9-2)

No. 3 seed: Green Bay (8-3)

No. 4 seed: Dallas (6-5)

Wild-Card No. 1: Seattle (9-2)

Wild-Card No. 2: Minnesota (8-3)

December should offer plenty of intrigue, as four of the final five weeks feature games between the teams above.

Week 13: Vikings at Seahawks

Week 14: 49ers at Saints

Week 16: Packers at Vikings

Week 17: 49ers at Seahawks