The Vikings attained their first win of the season last week, defeating the Houston Texans, 31-23. Meanwhile, the Seahawks went on the road and defeated the Miami Dolphins by an identical 31-23 score.
Even Russell Wilson’s “ho-hum” games aren’t all that “ho-hum.” Wilson completed 24-of-34 passes against the Dolphins for 360 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including a pretty, back-corner, 17-yard throw to WR David Moore. Wilson did throw an interception that ended a golden scoring opportunity, resulting in a Miami field goal, instead. RB Chris Carson, originally questionable with a knee sprain, was able to play and picked up 80 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries, leading all rushers on the day. D.K. Metcalf was Wilson’s top receiver, catching four passes for 106 yards, while Moore added 95 yards on three catches, including his touchdown.
Miami would pick up 415 yards of offense against the Seattle defense. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 315 yards on the day, but had two interceptions and no touchdowns, while adding 47 rushing yards and the Dolphins’ only touchdown in the game. DeVante Parker gave the Seattle secondary all kinds of problems, picking up 110 yards on ten catches.
The Vikings did what they do best: committing to the run, then picking their spots in the passing game. Dalvin Cook had a career-best 27 carries for 130 yards and two touchdowns. In all, the Vikings ran 40 times on the day for 162 yards. Kirk Cousins had an efficient game, completing 16 of his 22 passes for 260 yards and a touchdown. The Vikings would have two receivers eclipse the 100-yard mark, as Adam Thielen had eight catches for 114 yards and a touchdown, while rookie Justin Jefferson had his second 100+ yard game, catching four passes for 103 yards.
The Vikings defense mirrored its Week 3 performance against the Titans, starting strong and then limping home in the second half. That was, in part, due to the loss of Harrison Smith, who was ejected near the end of the first half for targeting. Houston had 386 yards in net offense, most of that coming via the air. Deshaun Watson completed 20 of his 33 passes for 300 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The ground game was limited to 96 yards on 26 carries for a modest 3.7 yards per play. Will Fuller would have 108 receiving yards on eight catches, including a touchdown. The Vikings have allowed a 100-yard receiver in every one of their four games.
The Minnesota Vikings ended up on the winning end of an escape, one week after losing one.
Traveling to Seattle is never easy for Minnesota, and this should be no different.
Their best chance is to control the clock by running the football. This may be a difficult task as the Seahawks are allowing less than 67 rushing yards per game and a mere 3.0 yards per rush. Their passing defense, however, has left much to be desired. They’ve allowed 1,292 passing yards in four games. Matt Ryan and Dak Prescott have both thrown for over 450 yards against them, and Cam Newton came up just three yards shy of 400 yards passing.
It’s tempting to abandon what’s been working for the Vikings, but Gary Kubiak shouldn’t. Kirk Cousins plays better when the Vikings can establish a running game. Getting into a shootout with Russell Wilson most likely wouldn’t end well. The key will be keeping Seattle in long-yardage situations and getting a strong pass rush on Wilson. They have to contain the edges, or else Wilson will exploit the Vikings’ secondary all night long.
I see the Vikings’ good feelings being short lived. They’ll struggle in Seattle, and Wilson is a runaway train on a path to becoming league MVP.
I’m picking Seattle to win this one, 38-24, and it may not be that close.
(Featured Image Credit: Vikings.com)