The Seattle Seahawks have been among the NFL’s top teams over the past decade or so, they play in a lot of prime time games for that reason and the Vikings have matched up with them in four of the past five seasons. So, Vikings fans feel like they know the Seahawks quite well.
From the 10,000-foot view, Vikings fans are probably correct and do have a legitmate sense of familiarity with this particular foe. But every year is a new year and every team is different from season-to-season. As such, here’s a quick but thorough rundown of the 2020 Seahawks, the Vikings next opponent.
All Wins, No Losses
There are six undefeated teams in the NFL, and the Seahawks are one of them. Granted, the caliber of opponent hasn’t been great, as Seattle’s four opponents have a combined record of 4-12. Even so, the Seahawks have looked impressive in each of their victories. They won on the road in Atlanta to open the season, they held off the New England Patriots in prime time at home in Week 2 and last week they made the longest road trip in the League and defeated the Miami Dolphins. Seattle has scored 30+ points in all four of their games so far this season.
Russell Wilson is a MVP Candidate
It’s only Week 4 of the NFL season, so it’s far too early to seriously speculate on who will win the MVP award. But we’ve seen enough to know with some degree of certainty that Seattle QB Russell Wilson will be in the conversation at season’s end. Wilson has been a winner since he stepped foot in the NFL and that hasn’t changed in 2020. He leads the NFL in TD passes (16), completion percentage (75.2) and passer rating (136.7). He’s also No. 3 in yards with 1,285 despite throwing only 103 passes, which is just 17th in the NFL. Wilson has been sacked 11 times in four games, so the Vikings should look at how his opponents have generated pressure to see if that is something they can exploit.
Seattle’s Defense is a Bit Banged Up
Injury issues aren’t a unique problem in the NFL, especially this season. The Vikings haven’t been an exception, and neither is Seattle. The Seahawks made a splashy trade for one of the best safeties in the NFL – Jamal Adams – but he has missed time with a groin injury and will be unlikely to play against the Vikings. Seattle also lost star pass rusher Bruce Irvin earlier this season. It also looks like starting CB Quinton Dunbar will be out for this week. For these players and any others dealing with injuries, sitting out becomes an even more likely outcome because Seattle has a bye next week, meaning resting this week means an automatic two additional weeks off, which will help them be fresh and ready to go once Week 6 rolls around.
Seattle’s Defense is a Tricky Figure
Despite the injuries to some key players, Seattle’s defense has done enough to help attain four wins. The group is permitting 27.3 points per game, which is not good enough. In fairness, the Falcons and Dolphins both put up some “garbage time” points that have inflated this statistic unfavorably for Seattle, but the point remains that this, at least for now, is not a defense in Legion of Boom category. With that said, it’s a group that is tied for second in takeaways and has as many INTs (six) as passing TDs allowed. It’s also a group that includes some outstanding players, such as DT Puna Ford, S Quandre Diggs and LBs Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright. The most interesting facet of the Seattle defense vs. Vikings offense matchup will be the running game. The Vikings boast one of the NFL’s best RBs in Dalvin Cook while the Seahawks have been stout versus the run in 2020, surrendering only 3.4 yards per carry and 75.8 rushing yards per game, both good for No. 3 rankings in the NFL. The rub here is that teams just haven’t run very much against the Seahawks. No defense has faced more passing attempts than Seattle and only three teams have faced fewer rushing attempts than Seattle.
RB Chris Carson is a Beast
The Vikings aren’t the only team in this matchup with a good RB. Seattle has a big, bruising, tough runner in Chris Carson. He’s in a contract year and he’s fighting like a player looking for an extension. He has battled through injuries so far this season and keeps answering the bell. Despite injuring his knee two weeks ago against Dallas, Carson played in Miami last week and carried the water for the running game. He’s averaging 4.5 yards per carry and is rarely taken down behind the line of scrimmage or by the first defender he encounters.
Seattle’s WRs are a handful
Wilson is having a MVP-caliber season so far and his WRs are both the beneficiary of that output as well as a significant reason for it. DK Metcalf has come on strong in Year 2. The 6-4, 229-pound matchup problem is tied for 1st in the NFL with 403 receiving yards and he leads the League with a per-catch average of 25.2. No. 3 receiver David Moore is averaging 17.3 yards per catch and the team’s best pass catcher, Tyler Lockett, is tied for 3rd this season with four receiving TDs. Metcalf and Lockett would be problematic enough for an entire defense on their own, but put them in concert with one another and provide them with a MVP-caliber QB, and you’ve got a serious issue on your hands. It will be a good test for the Vikings young group of CBs.