Seahawks, Vikings expect different game this time around

RENTON — There’s one thing the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings agree upon in advance of their wild-card playoff game Sunday in Minneapolis:

Don’t expect another 38-7.

Seattle had its way with the Vikings when the teams met during the regular season. However, the Seahawks don’t expect Sunday’s game to go quite so smoothly.

“We were fortunate the day we played them,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “That’s not how they play. I don’t know that it could be like that, it’s going to be much different than that, I think.”

It was only one month earlier that Seattle went into TCF Stadium in Minneapolis, the home of the University of Minnesota and temporary home of the Vikings, and treated Minnesota like it was an NCAA team. Seattle dominated in all facets of the game, outgaining the Vikings 433-125 and allowing no points to Minnesota’s offense — the Vikings’ lone score came on a kickoff return after the Seahawks were already leading 35-0.

It was the type of whooping any team, especially one that finished 11-5 and won a division title, won’t forget — and will do anything to prevent from happening again.

“We look at (the video) and see things, how they hurt us, the things they did against us,” Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer said. “They played very well in every phase against us in that game. Defensively, they got after us, offensively they got after us. It was a pretty good bout with them.”

Sunday’s game is back at the scene of the carnage, and there are many who expect Sunday’s contest to play out much like the Week 13 meeting did.

Just don’t count the Seahawks and Vikings among those numbers.

“Obviously every team is different from that point,” Vikings free safety Harrison Smith said. “I think we just kept getting better. We’ve still had games that we didn’t play great in, but we’ve learned from each week, and we’ve gotten a few guys back from getting banged up. We’re excited about where we are and what’s in front of us, but we have a lot of work to do before Sunday.”

One of the big differences this time around is Minnesota will be much closer to full strength defensively. In the first meeting, nose tackle Linval Joseph and strong safety Andrew Sendejo sat out because of injuries, while Smith and linebacker Anthony Barr both departed during the first quarter and did not return. Those are four of Minnesota’s best defensive players, and without them the Seahawks eviscerated a Vikings defense that came into the game ranked second in the NFL in fewest points allowed.

However, Sendejo, Barr and Smith have all since returned, and Joseph was back at practice Wednesday in a limited capacity and could play Sunday. Having those players back will make the task much more difficult for Seattle’s offense.

“When you’re missing three starters, it has an effect on any team,” Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “Those are some really solid players for them. They really missed Smith in the back end. He’s really a nice ball hawk, he searches for the ball, he has great ball skills, plays from sideline to sideline, so he makes a lot of nice plays for them. Barr is really their leader in the linebacking core, so you’re going to miss guys like those guys. It has an impact on their defense.”

The other thing that will likely look different this time around is Minnesota’s use of Adrian Peterson. Peterson just won his third NFL rushing title, finishing the season with 1,485 yards on 327 carries. However, against Seattle Peterson managed just 18 yards on eight carries as Minnesota found itself in an early hole and was forced to abandon the running game. The eight carries were Peterson’s fewest in a game this season, and the 18 yards were the third fewest in Peterson’s nine-year career.

The Seahawks are certain the Vikings won’t allow Peterson’s presence to be removed from the game so easily in the second go-around.

“I expect them to run the ball way more than they did last time,” Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “Having a guy like Adrian Peterson touch the ball eight times, I don’t think that’s going to happen twice. They’ll give him the ball more.”

The Vikings have already rebounded from the drubbing suffered at the hands of Seattle. Minnesota won its final three games, including last week’s 20-13 showdown at Green Bay which decided the NFC North title. The defense that allowed 38 points to the Seahawks five weeks ago gave up 17 or fewer in each of those victories.

“The games have been much more balanced in their ability to run the football,” Carroll said about how Minnesota’s recent games differed from the one against Seattle. “They’ve kept the score down throughout. … They’re a terrific defense. We got a lot of points the day we were there, that hasn’t happened in their other games.

“They’re just a really good football team and you better play good on the day you play them or they’re going to get you,” Carroll added. “Last week they played a very conservative game against Green Bay and waited for their opportunities, cashed in on the turnovers, and put together a fantastic championship game. That always concerns me a lot because they’re not giving you a lot of opportunities to do things.”

The Seahawks took advantage of every opportunity they had the previous time they played the Vikings. They’ll need to do the same Sunday to come out of Minnesota with another victory.

Check out Nick Patterson’s Seattle Sidelines blog at, and follow him on Twitter at @NickHPatterson.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Sports

Lakeside’s Addie Streidl hits the ball during the girls gold doubles championship match at the Snohomish Summer Smash at Snohomish High School in Snohomish, Washington on Sunday, July 21, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Wesco tennis players crowned champions at 2024 Snohomish Summer Smash

Shorewood’s Carlota Garibay Romero and Archbishop Murphy’s Cole Balen highlight the weekend with singles and doubles titles.

Boys Snohomish Little League 8-10 coach Aaron Barstad (kneeling) talks to the outfield during practice at the Snohomish Little League Complex in Snohomish, Washington on Thursday, July 18, 2024. Barstad’s team claimed the Washington District 1 Little League title, securing a spot in the 2024 Washington State 8-10 Baseball tournament held July 20-27 at the North Kitsap League Complex in Poulsbo, Washington. (Taras McCurdie / The Herald)
Baseball history in the making: Snohomish Little League 10U boys team is state bound

The 2024 District 1 champions became the first Snohomish boys team to advance.

Rays third baseman Isaac Paredes catches a pop fly in foul territory during Friday’s game against the Cleveland Guardians. (Jefferee Woo / Tribune News Service)
Ranking the best Mariners trade targets as deadline nears

Seattle needs to fill the offensive gap by July 30.

Matt Calkins: Forget the slow start, the Sounders are showing they’re title contenders

Seattle’s 2-0 win over St. Louis City FC launched it into sixth place in the Western Conference.

Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald talks with the media after practice at Under Armour Performance Center. The Seattle Seahawks hired Macdonald on January 31, 2024. (Kevin Richardson / Tribune News Service)
Seattle Seahawks roster breakdown: One thought on Geno Smith and every position group

The next phase of Mike Macdonald’s debut season as head coach of… Continue reading

Jurrangelo Cijntje pitches 2022 MLB Draft Combine held at Petco Park on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 in San Diego, CA. Cijntje, from Mississippi State, was the Mariners’ first pick in the 2024 MLB Draft. (Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Mariners lean on college players, pitchers with ‘power arms’ as MLB draft concludes

Seattle’s 20 selections include 19 college players and one high schooler.

Jurrangelo Cijntje pitches at the 2022 MLB Draft Combine held at Petco Park on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 in San Diego, CA. Cijntje, from Mississippi State, was the Mariners’ first pick in the 2024 MLB Draft. (Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Mariners go college route on second day of draft, take 2-way player Grant Knipp

Seattle chose youth and selected eight college players.

View of T-Mobile Park from the Press Club. Ben Ray / The Reporter
T-Mobile Park at 25: Mariners fans share favorite ballpark memories

The venue turned a quarter of a century on Monday

Kamiak High School’s Victor Sanchez Hernandez Jr. puts on a University of Washington football helmet. Sanchez Hernandez, a three-star defensive end who’s heading into his senior season, committed to the Huskies. (Photo courtesy of Victory Sanchez Hernandez Jr.)
High school football recruiting: Here’s how Washington’s 2025, 2026 classes are shaping up

TNT sports reporter Jon Manley spoke with national recruiting editor Brandon Huffman.

Tyler Cronk performs in the slam dunk competition during the Everett 3on3 tournament in downtown Everett, Washington on Sunday, July 14, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Recap, videos and photos: 2024 Everett 3on3 was another slam dunk

Everett alumni place second; skills contests, food trucks and vendors were also in full swing this past weekend to celebrate the basketball tournament’s third edition.

Once an MLB bust, Mill Creek’s Travis Snider now hopes to change toxic culture

When Snider made it to the big leagues in 2008 at just 20 he was one of the game’s top prospects, touted as the Blue Jays’ next great hitter.

Louisville guard Hailey Van Lith found little room between South Carolinas Destiny Littleton (11) and Laeticia Amihere. (Carlos Gonzalez / Star Tribune)
These Olympians in the 2024 Paris Games have ties to Washington state

Nineteen athletes competing in France are from The Evergreen State.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.