When: Sunday, 10 a.m., Mall of America Field, Minneapolis
Record: 8-1 after beating the Lions 27-10 on Sunday
Where they rank: No. 7 on offense (10th rushing, 12th passing); No. 15 on defense (6th rushing, 23rd passing)
Series: Seahawks lead 6-4, but the Vikings have won two of the past three games
Star power: Brett Favre. It’s not like there’s no competition here from Favre’s third team in the past three seasons – from NFC rushing leader Adrian Peterson, to double-threat rookie receiver/returner Percy Harvin, to NFC sack leader Jared Allen. But, as it is turning out, Favre really was the missing piece for this previously puzzling team.
At 40 and in his 19th NFL season, Favre is the league’s top-rated passer (107.5). He’s completing 68.1 percent of his passes and has thrown 17 touchdown passes compared to only three interceptions (he had 22 of each for the Jets last season). He has been even better in the fourth quarter (119.3 rating, 72.7 percent completions, three TDs, no interceptions) and almost as good on third downs (104.4 rating, 64.9 percent completions, six TDs and two interceptions).
Unsung hero: Make that heroes, and make them strong-side linebacker Chad Greenway and right cornerback Cedric Griffin. They share the lead in tackles (57) as well as interceptions (two). Several of their defensive teammates get more attention, and rightfully so – Allen, Pro Bowl cornerback Antoine Winfield and the tackle tandem of Pat and Kevin Williams. But no one has made more plays than Greenway and Griffin.
On the spot: Ray Edwards. This will happen when you’re the other defensive end opposite Allen, and playing on a line that also includes 628-pounds of run-stuffing stoutness at the tackle spots. No problem, said Edwards’ efforts Sunday, when the Lions gave Allen the double-team attention he deserves. Edwards, a fourth-round draft choice in 2006, had two sacks, four QB hurries, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Burning question: What’s gotten into Sidney Rice? He caught 15 passes for 141 yards all of last season. Sunday, he caught seven for 201, including a 56-yarder and a pair of 43-yarders. Credit the arrivals of Favre and Harvin, this year’s first-round draft choice. But also give credit where it’s due – to Rice.
“The past couple of years, all the talk has been about the receivers – how we weren’t able to produce and things like that,” Rice told reporters after his breakout performance against the Lions. “We just took it upon ourselves to do extra work to get better as receivers and make this team a more balanced team.”
Rice now leads the Vikings with 44 receptions and the NFC with 786 receiving yards – for a 17.9-yard average.
Familiar faces: All-Pro left guard Steve Hutchinson was a first-round draft choice by the Seahawks in 2001 and went to three consecutive Pro Bowls (2004-06) before signing with the Vikings as a free agent in 2006. Punter Chris Kluwe went to training camp with the Seahawks in 2005. Backup cornerback Karl Paymah and backup safeties Eric Frampton and Husain Abdullah played at Washington State.
The last word: “I actually didn’t think about it until I got back to the locker room. A couple guys were saying something about it, but it’s a great accomplishment. I owe it all to the offensive line and the receivers because those guys are really the ones that make it happen.” – Peterson, after his 133-yard performance against the Lions made him the fourth-fastest running back in NFL history to rush for 4,000 career yards