EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – In a contest that came down to the final seconds, Minnesota defeated Green Bay 20-13 Sunday night to finish its regular season 11-5 and take control of the NFC North division title. As a result of the win, the Vikings secured the No. 3 seed and will now host Seattle next Sunday for the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Kickoff is set for noon (CT) at TCF Bank Stadium.
Both teams have a lot of momentum heading into the game, Minnesota with a three-game win streak and Seattle having won four of its past five games. A win would keep the Vikings drive alive and would pit them against Arizona in the Divisional round. If the Vikings lose, they will be knocked out of the playoffs. Here are some things to consider in our glance ahead:
**After an impressive performance over the month of December, Vikings quarterback Stefon Diggs passed for just 99 yards against Green Bay Sunday night, finishing with a 52.6 completion percentage. Bridgewater's single interception was the first he's thrown since his first matchup this season with Seattle. Prior to Sunday, Bridgewater was averaging 244.7 passing yards over three games. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had a rocky start to the season, but he has since peaked at an opportune time, leading Seattle to a final regular season record of 10-6. Over the past six games, Wilson averaged 244.3 passing yards per game and threw for 21 touchdowns.
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson locked down the 2015 rushing yard title before even playing his final regular season game. Peterson finished the season with 1,485 rushing yards, 83 yards in front of Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin. Peterson has averaged 86.75 yards over four career games against the Seahawks, his best game being 182 yards on Nov. 4, 2012. Seattle's ground game has been a bit unpredictable lately, as starting running back Marshawn Lynch underwent abdominal surgery and has not played since Nov. 15. However, Lynch is expected to return to action this week. Running back Thomas Rawls stepped in and performed well before suffering a fractured ankle against Baltimore Dec. 13. Seattle also has Fred Jackson and Christine Michael. Michael, a second-round pick by Seattle in 2013, re-joined the Seahawks midseason (originally with Dallas). Michael rushed for 102 yards in Seattle's final regular season game against Arizona. Finally, it's hard to ignore Wilson's running ability; the quarterback recorded 553 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown this season.
Minnesota has been using a variety of receivers over the past few games. Against the Packers Sunday, running back Jerick McKinnon and wide receiver Mike Wallace led the team in receiving yards with 33 and 22, respectively. Wide receiver Jarius Wright also continues to be an option for Bridgewater. Tight end Kyle Rudolph, who was a more common target in the second half of the season, did not receive a pass Sunday. Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin finished the season ranked No. 21 in the NFL for receiving yards (1,069) and tied for the NFL lead with 14 touchdowns.
**Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka is having quite the season, making 29 field goals and only missing two attempts. One occurred against Arizona in Week 17. Vikings kicker Kevin McDermott was 2-for-2 against Green Bay Sunday, bringing his total successful field goals to 34, a league high. Over the past four games, Walsh is 10-for-10 on field goal attempts with one missed PAT. Rookie wide receiver Tyler Lockett has had quite the season for Seattle. Against the Cardinals, Lockett set a franchise single-game record with 139 yards on four punt returns.
Seattle finished the regular season second overall in team defense, compared to Minnesota at No. 13 overall. However, the Vikings held their opponents to an average of 18.9 points per game this season. Seahawks safety Earl Thomas recorded five interceptions this season. Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen has 10.5 sacks this season, tied for No. 12 in the league. Griffen recorded 2.0 sacks against the Packers Sunday night. Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks became the first Vikings rookie to lead the team in tackles (105) since Rip Hawkins in 1961.
Over the Years:
Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Seahawks.
**Seattle and Minnesota have only played each other 14 times in franchise history, and the Seahawks lead the overall series 9-5. The Vikings have played eight of the 14 games in Seattle, only winning two of the road games.
The Vikings have scored at least 20 points in all but three contests with the Seahawks.
Several connections exist between the two teams. Former Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is currently Seattle's backup quarterback. Jackson replaced Wilson for the final four minutes of Minnesota's first matchup with Seattle this season. Other former Vikings have spent time in Seattle as well, including Carl Eller, John Randle, John Carlson, Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin. On the personnel side, Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll served as the Vikings defensive backs coach from 1985-89 and coached left tackle Riley Reiff, defensive end Everson Griffen and tight end Nick Easton at Southern California.
Last Meeting: Seahawks 38, Vikings 7; Dec. 6, 2015, in Minneapolis
In their first matchup with Seattle this season, the Vikings lost just their second home game of the year. Wilson threw for three touchdowns and rushed for a fourth. Rawls recorded 101 rushing yards and added a fifth Seahawks touchdown, while Seattle held Peterson to just 18 rushing yards on eight attempts. Wallace led the Vikings with 43 receiving yards, and Cordarrelle Patterson returned a kick 101 yards for Minnesota's only touchdown. Patterson finished the game with 198 yards, the most in any NFL game this season, on five returns.