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Limiting Seattle's Offense Starts with Stopping the Run

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Seattle Seahawks rushed for 141.8 yards per game this season, the third-best total in the NFL.

When asked Thursday, both players and coaches with the Vikings said they have to respect Seattle's ability to run the ball.

But those inside the Minnesota organization also noted the Seahawks ability to control the ground game also sets up one of their biggest weapons on offense – success in play-action situations.

View photos of some of the key contributors on the Seattle Seahawks roster in preparation for Sunday's Wild Card playoff game.

"That's a big part of what they do," said Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards. "They come out and usually establish the running game and then have all of their play-action game set up off of it."

Added Minnesota defensive end Brian Robison: "They're a team that we have to take the run away from. If we don't take away the run, then they're going to be able to play action."

When the teams met on Dec. 6, not much went right for the Vikings in a 38-7 loss.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson had 325 total yards and three passing touchdowns, along with a rushing score.

The Seahawks ran 64 offensive plays in that game, 36 of which were runs. And of those 64 plays, 16 were play-action plays. That means they were running or showing the run on 81.3 percent of their offensive snaps.

When Wilson faked a handoff, he completed 8 of 12 passes for 90 yards and a touchdown, and also carried four times for 30 yards and a score.

Oftentimes, Wilson had room to run and pick up first downs. Other times, he evaded pressure and moved the chains through the air.

"You just have to be disciplined," Robison said. "But even at that, he makes some moves that you watch it on tape and it makes guys look silly a lot.

"You have to be clued in to where he's moving and where he wants to escape."

View images from the Thursday, Jan. 7 practice at Winter Park.

In the teams' first meeting, Seattle was without running back Marshawn Lynch, who is expected to play in Sunday's noon (CT) Wild Card game.

"Getting Marshawn back, he was carrying it 25-30 times a game," Edwards said. "They'll come out and try to do that early."

Munnerlyn said he took note of how Wilson played with Lynch of out the lineup. Over his past seven games, Wilson has thrown 24 touchdowns and just one interception.

On the season, Wilson has 4,024 passing yards, 34 passing touchdowns and 553 rushing yards. His lone rushing touchdown came against the Vikings. He became the first quarterback in NFL history to pass for at least 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns and rush for at least 500 yards.

"Marshawn has been out and he's been ballin," Munnerlyn said of Wilson. "He's throwing to ball over the field, taking care of the football and making every throw."

That includes out of play-action scenarios, an element the Vikings will surely have their eye on Sunday.

"You've got to be patient but you also have to get to him," Munnerlyn said. "If you're a blitzer or defensive lineman, you have to try and contain that guy … don't let him outside the pocket because he can hurt you with that."

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