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Early Look: Vikings Face Tough Road Test in Seattle

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

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings ended the first quarter of their 2020 season with a win, but now face perhaps their toughest road test all season.

Minnesota's offense was rolling in Sunday's 31-23 win in Houston, and the Vikings defense held off a late Texans rally.

Up next? A road date against the 4-0 Seahawks, who remained unbeaten with a win over the Dolphins in Miami. That score also was a 31-23 affair.

The teams will meet in prime time, with kickoff from Seattle at 7:20 p.m. (CT) on NBC's Sunday Night Football.

Here's an Early Look at the Vikings Week 5 matchup against the Seahawks, presented by Minnesota Eye Consultants, the Proud Ophthalmology Partner of the Minnesota Vikings.

Passing: Kirk Cousins had an efficient outing in Week 4, as he had his first turnover-free game of the season.

Cousins completed 16 of 22 passes (72.7 percent) for 260 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions on Sunday. He compiled a season-best 127.1 passer rating as he threw a season-low 22 attempts.

Cousins was especially effective on play-action passes, according to analytics website Pro Football Focus, as he completed nine of 11 play-action passes for 180 yards and a touchdown. His passer rating on such throws was 149.1.

The quarterback has now completed 62 of 100 passes (62.0 percent) for 883 yards with six touchdowns and six interceptions. His passer rating is 85.5.

Seattle will counter with perhaps the league's hottest player through four games, as Russell Wilson looks like an early MVP candidate.

Wilson completed 24 of 42 passes (70.6 percent) for 360 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in Week 4. He compiled a 112.1 passer rating, which was his lowest in four games in 2020.

The former third-round pick has now completed 103 of 137 passes (a league-best 75.2 percentage) for 1,285 yards with a league-leading 16 touchdowns and two interceptions. Wilson, whose passer rating of 136.7 also tops the NFL, is on pace to break the NFL's single-season record for touchdown passes.

And, if Wilson's current stats weren't gaudy enough, he's also 6-0 all-time against the Vikings, including the postseason.

Rushing: Dalvin Cook continued his roaring start to the 2020 season, as the running back had 130 rushing yards and two scores against the Texans.

Cook, who excelled on perimeter runs, tied his career high with 27 carries. Alexander Mattison had seven attempts for 17 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown run for his first score of the season.

Cook leads the league with 424 rushing yards and six touchdowns through four games, and has been perhaps the NFL's top running back so far this season.

The Vikings rank fifth in the NFL at 150.8 rushing yards per game, while the Seahawks are 17th at 113.3 yards per game.

Chris Carson had 80 yards and two scores on 16 carries Sunday as he found the end zone for the first time this season.

Carson leads Seattle with 53 carries for 237 yards and two scores, while Wilson has rushed for 95 yards on 18 attempts.

Carlos Hyde, who missed Week 5 with a shoulder injury, has 57 yards and a touchdown on 16 attempts.

Receiving: The duo of Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson put on a clinic Sunday, as both surpassed the 100-yard mark.

Thielen had eight catches for 114 yards and caught a 9-yard score. Jefferson had four receptions for 103 yards, with each catch going for at least 23 yards.

Add in Cook's big day, and the Vikings had a pair of 100-yard receivers and a 100-yard rusher in the same game for the first time since 2000 [Randy Moss, Cris Carter and Robert Smith].

Here is Thielen's route chart for his 10 targets:


Kyle Rudolph (27 yards) and Cook (16 yards) each had two catches apiece.

Through four games — and just two starts — Jefferson leads the Vikings with 348 receiving yards. That total ranks eighth in the NFL, and is the fourth-most by a rookie through four games to start an NFL career. His 16 catches include one score.

Thielen has a team-high 20 catches and has 284 receiving yards and four touchdowns so far in 2020.

Seattle's D.K. Metcalf had four catches for 106 yards on Sunday, and David Moore added three receptions for 95 yards and a score.

Tyler Lockett, Greg Olsen and Freddie Swain each chipped in with 30-plus receiving yards, and Travis Homer added a 3-yard touchdown catch.

Metcalf is tied for the league lead with 403 receiving yards, but has just 16 receptions, as he also leads the NFL with a whopping 25.2 yards per catch. He has three touchdowns.

Lockett has 26 catches for 298 yards and a team-high four scores, while Carson and Moore each have multiple touchdown catches so far this season.

View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster as of January 4, 2021.

Defense: The Vikings defense made just enough plays to win Sunday and overcame the ejection of captain Harrison Smith just before halftime.

Minnesota allowed 386 total yards, but was clutch when — and where — it mattered most.

In addition to holding Houston to just three conversions on 12 third downs, the Vikings also didn't allow a red-zone touchdown on the three times the Texans were in the red zone with goal-to-go situations.

That included a defensive stand in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter that sealed Minnesota's first win of 2020.

D.J. Wonnum recorded his first-career sack, and Yannick Ngakoue had a sack for the third straight game. Another sack was credited as a team.

Through four games, the Vikings rank 29th by allowing 426.5 yards per game. The Seahawks are 32nd at 476.8 yards per game allowed.

Seattle allowed 415 yards to Miami. The Dolphins were 7-for-13 on third downs.

Anthony Rush and Bryan Mone split a sack for the Seahawks, who had interceptions from Shaquill Griffin and Ryan Neal.

Safety Jamal Adams, who did not play in Week 3, leads Seattle with a pair of sacks. Griffin and Neal are tied for the team lead with two interceptions each.

Special Teams: Dan Bailey made one of two field goals Sunday and hit on all four extra points. Bailey is now 4-for-6 on field goals in 2020, and has made all eight extra point attempts.

Britton Colquitt averaged 41.5 yards per punt on four kicks and had a long of 46. He is averaging 42.0 yards per punt on 13 kicks in 2020.

K.J. Osborn had 40 yards on two kickoff returns, plus a 6-yard punt return.

The Vikings notched their first special teams turnover of 2020 against the Texans as Mike Boone forced — and Dan Chisena recovered — a fumble on a punt return. The turnover led to Bailey's lone field goal Sunday.

Seahawks kicker Jason Meyers made a 55-yard field goal, plus all three extra points Sunday. He is now 2-for-2 on field goals in 2020, and has made all 18 extra point attempts.

Michael Dickson punted twice against the Dolphins, averaging 46.0 yards with a long of 58. He's averaging 50.9 yards per attempt.

Homer handles kickoff return duties for the Seahawks, while David Moore fields punts. Homer is averaging 23.0 yards on eight returns, while Moore has three punt returns for 35 yards.

Stopping the streak

As mentioned above, the Vikings are in the midst of a six-game losing streak to the Seahawks since 2012, the year Wilson was drafted.

And of the five regular-season matchups between the teams, four have been in Seattle, with the past two meetings in 2018 and 2019 occurring on Monday Night Football.

Minnesota's 37-30 loss at CenturyLink Field in 2019 was the narrowest margin of defeat for the Vikings against Wilson in the regular season.

Seattle eeked out a 10-9 win on Jan. 10, 2016, in the only postseason meeting ever between the franchises.