The Seahawks (9-1) have several players returning from injury, including Percy Harvin. Getting ahead early against the Vikings may help spread playing time ahead of the bye week.
GAME: Minnesota Vikings (2-7 overall, 4th, NFC North) at Seattle Seahawks (9-1, 1st, NFC West). TYPE. Regular season. WEEK: 11. WHEN: Sunday, 1:25 p.m., CenturyLink Field. MEETING: 13th (Seahawks lead 7-5). STREAKS: Seahawks W 5, Vikings W 1. HEAD COACHES: Leslie Frazier, Minnesota; Pete Carroll, Seattle. LINE: Seahawks by 13. TV: FOX. RADIO: ESPN 710 AM, KIRO 97.3 FM.
The Seahawks rang the bell loudly last week in Atlanta (won 33-10) after enduring weeks of criticism for not winning convincingly enough. Next task: Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings, who are 2-7 and feature the NFL’s 30th-ranked defense, but are coming off a 34-27 victory over Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins.
Off to the best start in franchise history at 9-1, the Seahawks will be seeking a sixth consecutive victory, their 13th in a row at CenturyLink Field and their 16th in 18 games. Seattle throttled the Vikings 30-20 one year ago at the Clink despite Peterson’s 182 yards and two touchdowns.
In addition to the positive numbers, the Seahawks are getting close to maximum strength. Offensive tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini returned to practice this week and so did Pro Bowl center Max Unger and DE Red Bryant, both of whom missed last week’s game with concussions.
Okung was activated Saturday and third-string quarterback B.J. Daniels was cut. Daniels’ departure suggests that the Seahawks think CB Brandon Browner, who strained a groin muscle against Atlanta, may not have a season-ending injury.
Regarding the game, the Seahawks have another consideration: With a bye week next week, the Seahawks could elect to hold out their injury returnees Sunday, or play them on a limited basis, giving them additional time to heal.
“It’s two weeks that we could buy. We have that in mind,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We’re going to take the information and evaluate each guy and figure out what it means, knowing that we’re OK. We’re OK where we are, so we’re not pressed into making a decision hastily.”
WR Percy Harvin also practiced and figures to work his way into the game Sunday. Harvin said Friday he’s ready to go. His former coach at Minnesota, Leslie Frazier, offered a preview.
“He’s such an explosive player and has the ability to play multiple positions,” Frazier said of Harvin, who spent his first four pro seasons in Minnesota. “We’d line him up, not only as an outside receiver, we’d put him up in the slot. He’d line up in the backfield. Once he touched the ball, he was a threat to score every time.”
Even with that good news, and the Seahawks coming off what he described as “our best overall performance of the season” against Atlanta last week, Carroll said his team won’t look past the Vikings.
“I think there was a great lesson in underestimating a team, based on record, with what happened to us against Tampa Bay — they played great against us,” said Carroll. “Minnesota is a good football team. They just have not been on the right side of the scores. These guys played us tough last year. We respect the heck out of this group. So we shouldn’t fall into thinking that they can’t play really good ball. We’re not doing that.”
Peterson always gives the Vikings a chance. His 786 rushing yards rank fourth in the NFL, his nine TDs are first and his 87.3 yards per game rank third.
The Vikings feature two other game breakers. Cordarrelle Patterson leads the NFL with 35.2 yards per kick return (had a 109-yard return vs. Green Bay Oct. 27) while PR Marcus Sherels leads the league, averaging 16.3 yards per punt return.
“They’re amazing,” Carroll said, adding, “35 yards is the average for Cordarrelle Patterson, which is extraordinary, and he is a fantastic returner. I’ve watched every one he’s had, and he attacks and flies up in there. He’s hard to get on the ground. He’s a big guy with great speed.
“Marcus Sherels is really fast, and it’s obvious now that he’s a big deal. We have a good kickoff coverage unit, we have a really good punt coverage unit, and we take a lot of pride in doing that right. It’s a great matchup, and we’ll find out where we stack up against the best guys in the league.”
“I think our special teams coach, Mike Priefer, has done a great job putting together some great schemes for our returners,” said Frazier. “When Marcus (Sherels) touches the ball, there’s a chance to score. Every time Cordarrelle (Patterson) returns the kickoff, there’s a chance to score.”
Former Seahawks tight end John Carlson, Seattle’s second-round pick in 2008, has suddenly become a big part of Minnesota’s offense and is coming off a seven-catch, 98-yard effort (both personal bests) against the Washington Redskins.
The Seahawks haven’t won six straight in a season since a franchise-record 11-game winning streak in 2005.
“We’ve got more games we have to win and we have a lot of work to finish it out,” Carroll said. “We have a chance to do something special in this division, and we need to take advantage of every opportunity.”
SERIES: Dates to Nov. 14, 1976, when the Vikings recorded a 27-21 victory at Metropolitan Stadium in Minneapolis. For Seattle, the big play of the game was Jim Zorn’s 80-yard touchdown pass to Steve Raible. The teams have split their past four meetings, Seattle taking the latest 30-20 Nov. 4, 2012. Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes.
Seahawks: Scored 265 points (26.5 per game), ranking 6th; allowed 159 points (15.9 per game), 3rd; differential of +106 points ranks 5th. Vikings: Scored 220 points (24.4), ranked 13th; allowed 279 (31.0), 30th; differential of -59 points ranks 26th.
SEAHAWKS HEAD COACH: Pete Carroll (67-55 career, 34-24 Seattle) is in his fourth season. In 2010, he directed Seattle to the NFC West title, the Seahawks becoming the first team in NFL history to win a division with a losing (7-9) record. Prior to joining the Seahawks, Carroll served as head coach at Southern California, where his Trojans won seven Pac-10 titles.
SEAHAWKS QUARTERBACKS: Russell Wilson vs. Carolina, 25 of 33, 320 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 115.7 passer rating; vs. San Francisco, 8 of 19, 142 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 63.9 passer rating; vs. Jacksonville, 14 of 21, 202 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT, 117.5 passer rating; vs. Houston, 12 of 23, 123 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT, 48.7 passer rating; vs. Indianapolis, 15 of 31, 210 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT78.7 passer rating; season, 91.2; vs. Tennessee, 23 of 31, 257 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 98.5 passer rating; vs. Arizona, 18 of 28, 235 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, 122.1 passer rating; vs. St. Louis, 10 of 18, 139 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 117.6 passer rating; vs. Tampa Bay, 19 of 26, 217 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, 91.3 passer rating; vs. Atlanta, 19 of 26 for 287 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 134.6 passer rating. Tarvaris Jackson vs. Jacksonville, 7 of 8, 129 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 158.3 passer rating.
SEAHAWKS STATS / NOTES
SEAHAWKS 2013 OFFENSIVE LEADERS
SEAHAWKS 2013 DEFENSIVE LEADERS
|Tackles||Thomas 70, Wright 62, Wagner 60|
|Sacks||Bennett 6.5, Clemons 5.5, McDonald 3.5|
|Quarterback Hits||Bennett 16, Clemons 10, Mcdonald 8|
|Interceptions||Thomas 4, Sherman 4, Chancellor 2|
|Passes Defensed||Sherman 11, Browner 10, Thomas 7|
|Forced Fumbles||Thomas, Avril 2|
|Fumbles Recovered||Chancellor, Mebane, McDaniel, Wright 1|
VIKINGS NOTES: The Vikings defeated Pittsburgh (34-27) and Washington (34-27) and lost to Detroit (34-24), Chicago (31-30), Cleveland (31-27), Carolina (35-10), New York Giants (23-7), Green Bay (44-31) and Dallas (27-23) . . . Vikings rank 13th in scoring offense (24.4), 28th in total offense (315.7), 17th in rushing offense (109.2), 25th in passing offense (206.4), 30th in total defense (399.3), 17th in rushing defense (113.7), 29th in pass defense (285.7) and 30th in scoring defense (31.0) . . . Adrian Peterson leads Minnesota with 786 rushing yards and nine TDs . . . Greg Jennings is the club’s leading receiver with 34 catches for 410 yards and two touchdowns. Jerome Simpson has 33 catches for 491 yards . . . Leslie Frazier is in his fourth year as head coach and will enter Sunday with a career mark of 18-29. Frazier has also worked as an assistant with Philadelphia (1999-02), Cincinnati (2003-4) and Indianapolis (2005-06) . . . Former Seahawks TD John Carlson has started four of Minnesota’s nine games. He has 18 catches for 159 yards and one TD . . . Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll served as Minnesota’s DL coach from 1985-1989 under Bud Grant and Jerry Burns. Carroll also coached four current Vikings (M. Cassel, R. Ellison, E. Griffen, M. Kalil) while he was the head coach at Southern California.
VIKINGS QUARTERBACKS: Christian Ponder has completed 115 of 179 for 1,246 yards, 5 TDs and 7 interceptions for a passer rating of 77.6 . . . Matt Cassel has completed 52 of 75 for 536 yards, 3 TDs and 2 INTs for a passer rating of 91.9 . . . Josh Freeman has completed 20 of 53 for 180 yards, 0 TDs and 1 INT for a rating of 40.6.
2013-14 KEY DATES: Jan. 4-5, 2014 — Wild-card playoff games; Jan. 11-12 — Divisional playoff games; Jan. 19, 2014 — AFC and NFC Championship games; Jan. 26, 2014 — AFC-NFC Pro Bowl, Honolulu; Feb. 2, 2014 — Super Bowl XLVIII, MetLife Stadium, New York; Feb. 18-25, 2012 — Scouting combine, Indianapolis; March 11, 2014 — Free agency begins; May 8-10, 2014 — NFL draft.
NFC West Standings
|Seattle||9-1-0||3-0-0||Sun, vs. Minnesota|
|S. Francisco||6-3-0||2-1-0||Sun, at New Orleans|
|Cardinals||5-4-0||0-3-0||Sun, at Jacksonville|
|St. Louis||4-6-0||1-2-0||BYE Week|
2013 Seahawks Preseason Schedule
|8/8/13||at San Diego||7 p.m.||NFLN||W||31-10||1-0|
|8/17/13||vs. Denver||7 p.m.||NFLN||W||40-10||2-0|
|8/23/13||at Green Bay||5 p.m.||CBS||W||17-10||3-0|
|8/29/13||vs. Oakland||7 p.m.||Fox||W||22-6||4-0|
2013 Seahawks Regular-Season Schedule
|9/8/13||at Carolina||10 a.m.||FOX||W||12-7||1-0|
|9/15/13||vs. SF||5:30 p.m.||NBC||W||29-3||2-0|
|9/22/13||vs. JAX||1:25 p.m.||CBS||W||45-17||3-0|
|9/29/13||at Texans||10 a.m.||FOX||W||23-20||4-0|
|10/6/13||at Indy||10 a.m.||FOX||L||34-28||4-1|
|10/13/13||vs. Tenn||1:05 p.m.||CBS||W||20-13||5-1|
|10/17/13||at Arizona||5:25 p.m.||NFLN||W||34-22||6-1|
|10/28/12||at StL||5:40 p.m.||ESPN||W||14-9||7-1|
|11/3/13||vs. Tampa||1:05 p.m.||FOX||W||27-24||8-1|
|11/10/13||at Atlanta||10 a.m.||FOX||W||33-10||9-1|
|11/17/13||vs. Minn||1:25 p.m.||FOX||—||—–||—|
|12/2/13||VS. NO||5:40 p.m.||ESPN||—||——||—|
|12/8/12||at SF||1:25 p.m.||FOX||—||——||—|
|12/15/13||at NYG||10 a.m.||FOX||—||——||—|
|12/22/13||vs. Ariz||1:05 p.m.||FOX||—||——||—|
|12/29/13||vs. STL||1:25 p.m.||FOX||—||——||—|