The Seahawks run game tops the league.
When the Vikings face the NFC West squad tonight on the Monday Night Football stage, stopping Seattle's run game early and effectively will be key in containing the Seahawks.
Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune said "the road to victory is clear" for Minnesota. He wrote:
Everything starts [with the Vikings defensive line]. Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter and Sheldon Richardson and Linval Joseph. When they are swarming and relentless in their pass rush, offenses look claustrophobic, tentative, disrupted. That front four can dictate the flow of an entire game.
Scoggins quoted Richardson, who earlier this week said, "Those games are fun."
And successful. And that's what the Vikings need more than anything: a smothering performance from their D-line, because the Seahawks can wear down opponents by slow drip or with [quarterback Russell] Wilson's brilliance.
The Seahawks lead the NFL in rushing. That's their identity. They are the only NFL team that has called more runs than pass plays this season, bucking a leaguewide shift in philosophy that encourages passing to set up more passing.
The Seahawks had 32 rushing attempts in eight of their previous 10 games. They topped 150 rushing yards in seven consecutive games during one stretch, a team record. They don't try to fool anyone.
The Vikings also will need to contain Wilson, but ask Minnesota's defensive linemen, and they'll tell you that in order to pressure the passer, the run needs to be stopped – first and foremost.
It means if they stop the run, they earn the right to rush the quarterback in passing downs, which is their favorite part of the job. That's their reward for handling the dirty work.
Of course, rushing Wilson is no picnic, not with the way he pivots and pirouettes in the pocket. He plays the position like Harry Houdini. He somehow wiggles out of the tightest jams.
Winning in crunch time can take many forms. A masterpiece by the defensive line would give the Vikings their best shot.
View travel images from Saturday night as the Vikings flew to Seattle in advance of Monday's game against the Seahawks.
Vikings 'in control' of 1 of 2 NFC Wild Card spots
The Vikings don't play their Week 14 contest until tonight, but results of Sunday's games impacted Minnesota's postseason outlook.
Joe Nelson of BringMeTheNews.com took a look at the playoff picture after Carolina, Washington and Philadelphia lost to Cleveland, the Giants and Dallas, respectively. Nelson wrote:
No matter what happens on Monday night against the Seahawks, the Vikings will enter Week 15 in control of one of the two NFC wild card spots.
Wild Card standings:
- Seahawks (7-5)
- Vikings (6-5-1)
- Panthers (6-7)
- Eagles (6-7)
- Redskins (6-7)
- Packers (5-7-1)
If the Vikings lose to the Seahawks they'll be 6-6-1, still a half-game ahead of the Panthers, Eagles and Redskins.
If the Vikings beat the Seahawks, they'll be 7-5-1 and in control of the top Wild Card spot.
More importantly, no matter what happens the Vikings will own tiebreakers over Carolina, Philly and Washington since they beat Philly head-to-head and own a better conference record than all three.
Hill prepping to face QB he admired growing up
Vikings cornerback Holton Hill is preparing to play against Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, a passer he says he's admired for years.
Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press spoke to Hill, who said Wilson was "in his top five" of players he enjoyed watching.
"I was a fan of his growing up just because I like the style he played," Hill told Tomasson.
Hill is slated to make his second career start in place of cornerback Trae Waynes, who was ruled out with a concussion. Last week, the rookie stepped in and played against Tom Brady. He and Wilson are both talented quarterbacks but different players.
"Every game is different," Hill told Tomasson. "I just approach every play like it's a pass or that the ball is going my way, and if I do that, I should be OK."