The Vikings will return home on Sunday to host the team's first home playoff game since 2010 after winning the NFC North in 2009. The opponent is the No. 6 seed Seattle Seahawks who have represented the NFC in the Super Bowl in the past two seasons. We scoped the web to see what the experts were predicting for the Vikings-Seahawks matchup Sunday.
Yes, another prediction of a win by the road team. A second unanimous one, no less.
Welcome to the Wild Card Round.
Mind you, it isn't fair to say the Vikings have no chance. This is, after all, an 11-win Vikings team that possesses the sort of pass rush that could find success against the Seahawks, who allowed the fifth-most sacks (46) in the NFL this year.
*Then there's NFL rushing king Adrian Peterson, who told [USA TODAY Sports' Tom] Pelissero that the Vikings have learned from their Seattle shellacking: *
"We were able to look at that film and see all of the things that we did terribly. So, going into this week, we know that, hey, it's either we're going to take care of business or we're going to be sitting at home watching the rest of the playoffs."
The problem is that the Vikings offense relies heavily on Peterson and the ground game. And in their meeting on December 6, the Seahawks' NFL-best run defense held Peterson to 18 yards on only eight carries.
Best of all, Seattle looks to be as healthy as they've been in weeks; (Marshawn) Lynch is expected to rejoin the team on Monday, while Carroll all but guaranteed that three other starters should be able to come back for the Vikings game. The only question mark is (Kam) Chancellor, but even without their Pro Bowl safety, the defense has looked as stout as ever.
The Vikings are an ascending young team under head coach Mike Zimmer. But this is just a bad matchup for them.
In the opinion of our experts, the road warriors keep rolling.
8 of 8 experts pick the Seahawks--Bleacher Report
Sunday's early game is a regular season rematch between the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings won their first division title since 2009, finally breaking the Green Bay Packers' long reign. The Seahawks had a rough 2-4 start to the year but dominated down the stretch and are expected to get Marshawn Lynch back this week. When these teams met in Week 13, Seattle ran Minnesota off the field, 38-7. The Seahawks are a unanimous pick to get their second win over the Vikings this year.
8 of 8 experts picked the Seahawks--SB Nation
The Seahawks blew out the Vikings in early December, but that was a banged-up Minnesota team. They played most of the game without some key defenders, including safety Harrison Smith and linebacker Anthony Barr. Russell Wilson carved them up that day, and he's continued on a hot pace. But the Minnesota defense has the speed and the talent to be better this time. He will still make plays, just not as many. The difference will be the Seattle defense. They did a great job on Adrian Peterson in the last game, and will do so again. That will put a lot of pressure on Stefon Diggs. The pass rush of the Seahawks will be too much for the Vikings, and the Seattle secondary will get two takeaways to win it.
27 Seahawks, 23 Vikings--Pete Prisco, CBS Sports
7 of 8 experts picked the Seahawks, CBS Sports
Each Tuesday, WhatIfSports.com's *NFL simulation engine generates predictions and box scores for every NFL game for the coming week. The highly sophisticated algorithms simulate every play of every game to produce each team's likelihood to win. Each matchup is simulated 501 times.*
Win Percentage: 39.5%, Average Score: Seahawks 24.31, Vikings 21.0--WhatIfSports
FiveThirtyEight's 2015 NFL forecast uses an Elo-based model to calculate each team's chances of advancing to the playoffs and winning Super Bowl 50. Playoff probabilities are based on 20,000 simulations of the season and will update after each game.
Pre-game win probabilities: Vikings 44%--FiveThirtyEight.com
With the way the Seahawks are playing lately, the Vikings may come to regret beating the Packers to win the NFC North. Russell Wilson has been the best quarterback in football over the second half of the season, and Seattle's defense was ferocious in shutting down the Cardinals' offense in Week 17. The Vikings, meanwhile, aren't getting much out of their passing game, as Teddy Bridgewater threw just 14 touchdowns, by far the fewest of any quarterback who started all 16 games this season. Adrian Peterson is the league's leading rusher, but I think the Seahawks' front can hold him in check and the Seahawks' secondary can shut down the Vikings' receivers. This game won't be close.
Seahawks 30, Vikings 17--Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk
The Seahawks destroyed the Vikings when the two teams last got together, with a 38-7 trouncing. But for a late-game kickoff return (featuring 50 yards of high stepping from Cordarrelle Patterson), it would have been a shutout. So why would it be any different now? Intensely cold weather could flatten out the talent gap. So maybe the Seahawks only win by 16 this time.
Seahawks 30, Vikings 14--Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk
7 of 8 experts picked the Seahawks--FOX Sports