EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. –There's no denying it: the Seattle Seahawks are a good team in all three phases of football, and they're peaking at a good time in the season. In his press conference with the media Wednesday, Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer acknowledged what his team is up against on Sunday in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.
Defensively, Zimmer observed that the Seahawks have success without having to do anything "too fancy." They simply embrace the style of football they play and execute it well.
"They're physical, they play great in coverage, they play great in a run," Zimmer said. "To me, that's impressive – when you don't have to trick people all the time and things like that. You can just play your base defense and get after people. They can do that."
The Vikings managed a very skilled quarterback in Aaron Rodgers Week 17, and they will be facing another proven player in Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
"Wilson can really scramble – he's 'Fran Tarkenton-ish.' He's throwing the ball extremely well – he's been extremely accurate on the move," Zimmer said. "He sees things, he's got great vision, and he's been playing at an extremely high level."
When asked about Seattle's success in recent years and its players having more playoff practice, Zimmer said it's less about experience in the postseason and more about the way the team functions. In the first Vikings-Seahawks matchup this season, the Seahawks outplayed Minnesota. However, Zimmer knows the team is capable of much more than that.
"They beat us pretty bad the last time we played them," Zimmer said. "It wasn't close. They got after us in every phase, so we have to perform extremely well for us to play good in that game. We have to do things right … I think we've been in a lot of tight ball games and we've made some strides in those, we've had those opportunities, but we have to get it to that point."
Here are some other thoughts from the podium:
Zimmer on the Seahawks ability to stop the run:
"A lot of times they've got an extra guy in there. They do a great job of having an extra guy in the box for the run and playing coverage with it. The corners on the outside do a good job. Earl Thomas in the middle, he kind of is a window-wiper back there – he's got great range and toughness. I think they do a great job with their linebackers in coverage, as well."
Zimmer on DE Everson Griffen being named NFC Defensive Player of the Week:
"Everson [Griffen] is a good player, a great person. He's got a great attitude. I think it's impressive that the team voted him as a captain coming in here because of the way he works and the way he does things and tries to be a great teammate. He played great the other night, he had some unbelievable effort plays. Obviously, he's a talented athlete that gives you a full day's work. When he plays like that, he's tough to handle."
Zimmer on Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch enhancing the offense: "He's going to enhance it a lot because he's a load. Obviously he's a great back, physical, I think he does a lot of good things well, not just running the football – I think he's good in protection, I think he's good at catching the ball. That's another factor that we didn't have to face when they thumped us the last time, so we're going to have to be extra good."
Zimmer on Seattle's offense:
"They do so many good things. They've got the zone read [option] game in the running game and then they've got the run game with the boots and the play actions and they've got the deep shots to [Tyler] Lockett, and they hit [Jermaine] Kearse on some balls, Wilson on some play actions, so yes, it makes it really difficult. They do a number of things. I think [Darrell] Bevell does a great job and the things they do, they make it difficult for you, the concepts. Tom Cable, the offensive line coach, I think he does a terrific job. The whole gamut of things they do make it difficult."