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Lunchbreak: The Athletic Highlights Key Matchups Ahead of Week 3

A pair of familiar foes will meet Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, as it marks the fourth straight season the Vikings and Seahawks have played each other.

Chad Graff, Arif Hasan and Jon Krawczynski — all of whom cover the Vikings for The Athletic — recently highlighted what they are most excited to watch in Week 3.

Graff and Hasan will have their eyes on the Vikings defense, although their focus is on different levels of that unit.

Graff wrote:

The Vikings secondary against DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. A year ago, a depleted Vikings defense did a decent job against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks passing game, limiting them to 217 yards. But they fell apart late when Cam Dantzler allowed a big completion to Metcalf with the game on the line on fourth-and-10. Now the secondary is again struggling to contain the big play, a frightening thought with Metcalf headed to town.

Hasan noted he wants to see how Minnesota's defensive line stacks up against Wilson, who is 7-0 all-time against the Vikings.

The pass rush. The Vikings have been able to get into the backfield a number of times the past two games, but it was a double-edged sword against Kyler Murray. With a similar quarterback in Wilson, they might get their chance at some redemption. If they can get pressure without losing contain, they should have a good chance against Seattle.

As for Krawczynski, he's interested in the building's atmosphere as the Vikings play at home for the first time this season.

He wrote:

The fans! I know this sounds corny, but I can't wait to be in U.S. Bank Stadium with a full house again. It's been a long, long time. And when that place is rockin', it's such a great venue. It was eerie being in there last year when it was empty. Sunday should be a terrific environment, and yes, I will keep my fingers crossed that everyone masks up and stays safe and healthy.

As for the game, the trio predicts yet another close game for Minnesota.

Graff projected a 24-23 Vikings win, while Hasan went with Minnesota in a 28-25 victory.

Graff wrote:

I think the Vikings are a little better than most people do, and I think the Seahawks are a little worse than most do. Add to that the desperation for the Vikings and their first home crowd in [nearly] two years, and I think they come away with the win.

Krawczynski went the other way, picking a 26-24 Seahawks win.

I have a hard time picking against Russ in what should be a close game.

Kickoff is slated for 3:25 p.m. (CT).

NFL including Monday night game in Wild Card Weekend

The NFL is moving one of its playoff games to prime time.

The league announced Friday morning that the first round of the postseason, known as Super Wild Card Weekend, will be capped off with a game on Monday night.

There will be six total playoff games — three in each conference — that weekend.

The No. 2 seeds will face the No. 7 seeds, the third and sixth seeds will meet and the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds will play each other. The top seed in each conference gets a first-round bye.

View photos of the Vikings 2021 schedule at U.S. Bank Stadium and on the road.

Here are the schedule games for that weekend:

Saturday, Jan. 15

3:35 p.m. (CT)

7:15 p.m. (CT)

Sunday, Jan. 16

12:05 p.m. (CT)

3:40 p.m. (CT)

7:15 p.m. (CT)

Monday, Jan. 17

7:15 p.m. (CT)

The league altered its playoff format in 2020, adding a seventh team in each conference as an additional Wild Card team.