Found November 03, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. Trying to rebound from their most disappointing loss of the season, the Minnesota Vikings know a challenge awaits this weekend in Seattle.Many of the improvements Minnesota (5-3) has said it focused on this week will be tested specifically against the Seattle Seahawks (4-4). The strengths for Seattle align with many of the issues the Vikings are trying to correct.And Seattle has one of the best home-field advantages in the entire league at Century Link Field, perhaps the loudest outdoor stadium in the NFL. The "12th man" for the Seahawks, the boisterous crowd, has forced opponents into a league-high 113 false start penalties since 2005 and Seattle is 3-0 at home this season.Here are five things to watch Sunday as Minnesota tries overcome many obstacles in Seattle: 1. Can the Vikings cage the beast?Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, known as Beast Mode, is one of the league's toughest running backs. The Vikings' Adrian Peterson and Lynch rank 1-2 in the league in rushing. Peterson has 775 yards this season and Lynch has tallied 757 yards. Minnesota has allowed two straight opponent's running backs to eclipse the 100-yard mark and has talked all week about the need for getting back to being one of the league's top run defenses.The Vikings have slipped to 16th against the run, yielding 107.6 yards per game, and say the issue has been losing gap control. Defenders haven't been in their assigned gap and have "tried to do too much" causing a domino effect on run defense. The past two opponents have punished Minnesota's defense for being out of its gaps with small, quick and elusive backs. Lynch is no small (5-foot-11, 215) back and is known for his punishing running style. But he also broke a 77-yard touchdown run last week. Lynch will be a good test to see if the Vikings have solved their run defense woes. 2. Can Minnesota's receivers break free from Optimus Prime and friends?Playing against the Detroit Lions last week and Detroit receiver Calvin Johnson, nicknamed Megatron, Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman offered a bit of trash talk and nicknamed himself Optimus Prime. Sherman and fellow cornerback Brandon Browner have backed up any brash talk this season as perhaps the most physical duo at corner in the NFL. Sherman (6-foot-3, 195) and Browner (6-foot-4, 221) are aggressive at the line of scrimmage and want to disrupt opponents' timing by jamming receivers and being physical.The Vikings have talked about their receivers needing more separation from defensive backs, a tricky task this week against Sherman and Browner. Minnesota focused on route running this week and improving the timing between receivers and quarterback Christian Ponder. The speed for receivers Percy Harvin and Jerome Simpson will be important as they try to release quickly from Sherman and Browner and not get knocked off their timing and routes. Seattle also has talented, tough safeties in Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. The Vikings' passing game has struggled and faces another stiff test against the Seahawks. 3. The other side of the passing game.Minnesota has talked about all phases of the passing offense needing to come together, and the offensive line needs to improve as well. Facing blitz-heavy schemes from opponents in recent weeks, the Vikings have allowed Ponder to be sacked 10 times in the past three games. Seattle might not throw many blitzes in Minnesota's direction, partially because they haven't needed to blitz to cause pressure.Seahawks defensive ends Chris Clemons and Bruce Irvin have actually tallied more sacks this season than Minnesota's duo of Jared Allen and Brian Robison. Clemons is tied with Allen for seventh in the league with seven sacks. Irvin, a rookie who was considered a reach when Seattle selected him in the first round of this year's draft, has 4.5 sacks and has offered a good compliment on the other side of Clemons. Minnesota's own first-round pick, left tackle Matt Kalil, will have his hands full against Clemons. Right tackle Phil Loadholt will see starter Red Bryant in early downs, but Irvin comesin onpass-rushing situations and will test Loadholt with his speed moves. 4. Does familiarity breed containment?The Vikings know two big aspects of Seattle's offense very well. Top receiver Sidney Rice spent his first four NFL seasons in Minnesota and made the move to the Seahawks last offseason along with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. Bevell's offense with Seattle looks similar to many of his years with the Vikings. The Seahawks have a strong running game and an inconsistent passing attack. Bevell might have a few new tricks up his sleeve, but Minnesota largely knows what to expect. The question is stopping it. Seattle has the 31st ranked passing game in the NFL, but Lynch and the running game is ranked eighth.Rice is finally healthy again and putting together his best season since his big Pro Bowl season in 2009 for the Vikings. Rice is once again becoming a big-play weapon and Minnesota will have to contain the 6-foot-4 receiver without the services of tall, physical cornerback Chris Cook, who broke his arm last week. Cook played a big role in shutting down opponents' taller receivers like Johnson and Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald this season. Without Cook, Minnesota will start either rookie Josh Robison (5-foot-10) or A.J. Jefferson (6-foot-1). Coach Leslie Frazier was strategically withholding his decision on who would start, but said it was "pretty clear" in his mind. Robinson has spent the season as the third cornerback in the nickel role, but maybe Jefferson's size will come into play against Rice. 5. Another rookie quarterback.The first two losses this season for the Vikings came against the top two picks in this year's draft, Indianapolis' Andrew Luck and Washington's Robert Griffin III. This week they see another of the five rookie quarterbacks starting for their teams this season, in Seattle's Russell Wilson, a third-round pick out of Wisconsin. Wilson isn't wowing with the big numbers being put up by Luck or Griffin, but he's come through in many clutch situations for the Seahawks. He has an 82.4 quarterback rating, has completed 61.4 percent of his passes and thrown 10 touchdowns to eight interceptions.Wilson has come up with big plays at key times, but he's also been inconsistent. He has struggled when pressured, so Allen and Robison will play a big role. For all his athleticism, Wilson is only 5-foot-11. He's only had four passes batted down this season, tied for 12th in the league, according to Pro Football Focus. But if Minnesota can create pressure on Wilson and get in his face, it might be able toforce him into mistakes. Mistakes could mean the Vikings might beat their first rookie quarterback of the season. Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES
ENJOY THE FLIGHT?

Golden Tate helicopters into the end zone

Video:  Golden Tate gets crazy air.

Seahawks show they can and throw

Marshawn Lynch ran for 124 yards and a touchdown, rookie QB Russell Wilson threw three first-half touchdowns, and the Seattle Seahawks overcame 182 yards rushing by Adrian Peterson in a 30-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. The matchup between the top two rushers in the NFL - Peterson and Lynch - didn't disappoint with Peterson having his best game since 2008. Lynch...

Adrian Peterson Runs Wild Against Seahawks

Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson racked up an amazing 182 yards rushing Sunday against the Seahawks.Fantasy Spin:With his two touchdowns on Sunday Peterson now has six scores for the season. Over his last three games, he's piled up 458 yards for an average of 153 rushing yards per contest.

By the numbers: Peterson’s HOF standing

Adrian Peterson leads the league in rushing yards less than a year after ACL surgery, but his career statistics are just as impressive as his 2012 stats. Where does he stand currently in comparison to Hall of Fame running backs? Plus, a look at the numbers and rankings between the Vikings and Seahawks.

Lynch, Wilson help Seahawks race past Vikings

SEATTLE -- The feet of Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch were enough to overcome those of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. Wilson's scrambling and Lynch's rumbling helped Seattle take a 30-20 win over the Vikings on a clear and unseasonably warm afternoon Sunday at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks (5-4) snapped a...

James Carpenter, Jason Jones out for Seattle

Starting left guard James Carpenter and reserve defensive tackle Jason Jones are inactive for the Seattle Seahawks, while the Minnesota Vikings are without starting strong safety Mistral Raymond on Sunday. Carpenter was ruled out Saturday because of a concussion. He'd been listed on the injury report this week with illness. The Seahawks did not announce who would start in his...

Seahawks 30, Vikings 20

SEATTLE -- The feet of Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch were enough to outcome those of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. Wilson's scrambling and Lynch's rumbling helped Seattle take a 30-20 win over the Vikings on a clear and unseasonably warm afternoon Sunday at CenturyLink Field. Wilson completed 16 of 24 passes...

Peterson over 100 at half, Vikings trail

Despite a 144-yard rushing effort from Adrian Peterson in the first half, the Vikings trailed the Seahawks at the half, 20-17.

Vikings limited by continued passing woes

Running back Adrian Peterson was ready for the Seattle Seahawks. The rest of the Minnesota Vikings weren't in Sunday's 30-20 loss that kept Minnesota's recent slide going. Minnesota ran for 243 yards as a team, with Peterson going for a season-high 182 yards, but it wasn't enough as the Vikings (5-4) lost for the third time in four games. Many of the same issues...

The weekly Seahawks infirmary for week 9

Seahawks Place Obamanu on IR The Seattle Seahawks carry 6 wide receivers on their 53-man roster, and with the injuries piling up at the position, Doug Baldwin (Ankle) and Braylon Edwards (Knee), Seattle was forced to shut Ben Obamanu down for the rest of the season, with a broken wrist, or risk going into the Vikings game with only three receivers on the active roster. Rookie wide...

Can the Seahawks ever be road warriors?

As a lifelong Seahawks fan, that question is something I have pondered over and over again.  The answer I come up with is this:  I just do not know, but it is something that must be figured out in order for them to make the leap from pretender to contender. To be considered a legitimate contender, it simply must happen.  No team can win a Super Bowl, let alone a few playoff games...

Key matchup: Running to success

The Seahawks and the Vikings both rely on two of the best running backs. When Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch are workhorses, team success follows. The numbers show it.

Seattle Seahawks third down issues becoming a crisis in 2012

Something’s Gotta Give for “D” on 3rd Down So far this season, the Seattle Seahawks have been all about defense,  shutting down some of the top offensive powers on their way to several impressive victories. The team is among the league leaders in several of the defensive categories, including total yards allowed and total points allowed, where they rank fifth and sixth respectively...

2010 trade leads to 2012 wins

So the NFL’s trade deadline has come and gone. Did you even notice? Do you even care? I’m guessing that the answer to both of those questions is no. There have been a total of two trades since this regular season started. Both of those trades occurred this week. One involved a wide receiver, Mike Thomas being sent from Jacksonville to Detroit to be the fourth wide receiver on...
NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.