With kickoff fast-approaching, here are a few final thoughts about today's game.
How to Take in Today's Game
Game Time: 12:05 p.m. CT
Radio: Vikings Radio Network; KFAN-FM 100.3/KTCN-AM 1130
Mobile: NFL Mobile (exclusively on Verizon)
Trends that favor the Vikings
Seattle is one of the hottest teams in the NFL right now. They've won six of their last seven to surge into the playoffs and enter the tournament as a popular pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl for a third consecutive season. As well as Seattle has played of late, though, there are some trends working in the Vikings favor. Here are a few of them…
Ball Security – The Vikings have only 17 turnovers this season, 4th-fewest in the NFL, and that includes only 9 INTs, which is 5th fewest. In cold-weather games, the turnover rate nearly doubles. So the Vikings low turnover propensity is important in this game. Seattle has the 3rd-fewest turnovers in the NFL this season, so they are good in this area, too.
Sustaining Drives – Seattle's offense is one of the hottest in the NFL right now, averaging 32.0 points per game. That is second behind the Carolina Panthers. What do you want to do to a hot offense? Keep them on the sidelines. The Vikings stand a good chance to do that because they have the lowest three-and-out percentage in the NFL, with only 23.3% of their drives on the season failing to produce a 1st down/touchdown.
Rushing Offense – This is a QB league, but don't be surprised if running the ball becomes important today with sub-zero temperatures and the wind whipping at over 10 miles per hour and gusting up to 25 mph throughout the game. The Vikings have the NFL's leading rusher (Adrian Peterson) and they are the No. 4 rushing team in the NFL. Also, Peterson leads the NFL in 4th quarter rushing with 658 yards, 5.26 yards per carry and 6 TDs in the final quarter.
2-Point Conversions – If the kicking game struggles because of temperatures and wind, don't be surprised if the Vikings and Seahawks feel compelled to go for 2 more frequently. If that happens, the Vikings are in good shape because they are 5 of 5 under offensive coordinator Norv Turner in 2-point conversions the past two seasons.
Sunny side for the Vikings
Before the 2014 season, the Vikings first at TCF Bank Stadium, the Vikings chose the north sideline as the home sideline, a departure from what the Gophers do for their games. Part of the reasoning for the Vikings was that on days in which clouds do not cover the sun, the south sideline does not see the sun but the north sideline does.
I'm not sure what the actual temperature difference is or if it will make a difference, but there's a chance it does at least a little bit.
Vikings to Arizona if they win
Speaking of the sun and of being warmer because of it, the Vikings will see a lot of sun if they win today. A win today for the Vikings means they will travel to Arizona next weekend for a divisional round matchup with the No. 2-seeded Cardinals on Saturday.