When: Sunday, 1:05 p.m., CenturyLink Field
Record: 5-3 after their 36-17 loss to the Buccaneers on Thursday
Where they rank: No. 22 on offense (7th rushing, 27th passing); No. 11 on defense (16th rushing, 12th passing)
TV: Fox (KCPQ/13 in the greater Seattle area), with Chris Myers, Tim Ryan and Jaime Maggio
Series: Seahawks lead 6-5, but the Vikings have won the past two games – 35-9 at the Metrodome in 2009 and 31-13 in Seattle in 2006
Star power: Adrian Peterson. Remember all the handwringing about when the Vikings’ Pro Bowl running back might be fully recovered from tearing the ACL and MCL in his left knee on Christmas Eve and if he’d still be the same back? Peterson is answering those concerns. Emphatically. He leads the NFL in rushing (775 yards) and total yards (914). He is averaging 5.1 per carry. He has caught 23 passes. He is tied for fifth in first downs produced (39). Obviously, Peterson isn’t just another back. Says wide receiver Sidney Rice, who played four seasons with the Peterson in Minnesota before signing with the Seahawks last year, “He’s special. You make your block, and you know he’s going to do something with it. And if you don’t, he’s still going to do something with it.”
Unsung hero: Percy Harvin. “Unsung” is not the proper term to use with the multitalented Harvin. Perhaps “turning up the volume in singing his praise” would be more fitting. Just look at what this guy has done in the Vikings’ first eight games: 60 receptions, to share the league lead, for 667 yards and three touchdowns; 18 runs for 72 yards and another touchdown; 15 kickoff returns for a 35.7-yard average that ranks second in the league, including a 105-yard TD. But wait, there’s more. Harvin is fourth in the league in first downs produced (41), seventh in third-down receptions (15) and ninth in the league in total yards (739).
On the spot: Matt Kalil. The Vikings made the former USC left tackle the No. 4 pick in April’s NFL Draft – the first time they’ve used a first-round pick on a lineman since 2002. And the rookie spent training camp working against Jared Allen, who led the league with 22 sacks last year and has seven this season. But this will be his first encounter with the C&C factor – going against Seahawks’ “Leo” end Chris Clemons in the noise factory that is CenturyLink Field. Clemons also has seven sacks, but he and rush-end Bruce Irvin are coming off back-to-back road games against the 49ers and Lions where neither produced a sack. So they’ll be coming after second-year QB Christian Ponder on Sunday with a little more juice.
Burning question: What’s up with John Carlson? The Seahawks’ former second-round draft choice, and franchise single-season record-holder for receptions (55 in 2008), receiving yards (627 in 2008) and touchdown catches (seven in 2009) by a tight end, signed with the Vikings in free agency this offseason. But Carlson missed the Vikings’ last game against Tampa Bay because of concussion-like symptoms and has yet to be cleared to return to practice. In his absence, Kyle Rudolph has 27 receptions and five touchdown catches.
Numbers to know: 94.5, Ponder’s passer rating in the fourth quarter, which ranks ninth in the league. … 66.4, Ponder’s third-down passer rating, which ranks No. 28 in the league. … Minus-4, the Vikings turnover differential, which ties them for 24th in the league. … 56 and 55, the number of points the Vikings have allowed in the second and fourth quarters. … Seven, the number of times the Vikings have scored at least 20 points in their first eight games.
Familiar faces: In addition to Carlson, punter Chris Kluwe went to training camp with the Seahawks in 2005 and was claimed by the Vikings after being released that summer.
The last word: “We’ve moved on. We’ve moved on to Seattle. That is the most important thing right now and that’s what I told our team. That’s where our focus and energy has to be. They can’t look back; we have to look forward and forward for us means Seattle.” – coach Leslie Frazier when asked on Monday about the loss to the Bucs last Thursday
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