Week 9: Minnesota Vikings At Seattle Seahawks
- QuarterbackEvery year there are some teams that shock the football world because they get off to excellent starts and surprise the experts. However, those hot starts are often difficult to sustain. The Vikings are learning that and so is quarterback Christian Ponder. Earlier in the season he was keeping it clean and avoiding mistakes, but that’s no longer the case.Russell Wilson is a warrior for Pete Carroll and the Seahawks. He may not have the same pedigree or talent level as Andrew Luck or RGIII, but Wilson is simply going to find a way to beat you when he’s involved in a close game at home. Wilson should continue to get better each week and find a way to make key throws even though his numbers may not be spectacular.
- OffenseThe Vikings have the kind of weapons that can be difficult to contain in certain games. Adrian Peterson is a powerful and explosive running back who can punish opposing tacklers. Percy Harvin is an athletic and tough receiver who can break any game open with his bold moves. Michael Jenkins is a solid complementary receiver.The Seahawks believe in Marshawn Lynch and his punishing style. He has been quite solid this year and he is coming off a 105-yard game against Detroit in which he had a 77-yard TD run in the second quarter. Sidney Rice is a big-play receiver who should be extra motivated to have a special game against his former team.
- DefenseThe Vikings are loaded with talent on the defensive side of the field. Jared Allen returns a speedy, nasty pass rushing defensive end. Chad Greenway is a discipline and effective linebacker who will always get himself in the proper position and make tackles. Free safety Harrison Smith is coming off a 13-tackle effort against the Bucs.The Seahawks are going to come after Ponder with a powerful pass rush. Defensive end Chris Clemons did not have a solid game against Detroit, but he is a top-ranked pass rusher who has 7.0 sacks this season. He is going to have to get after Ponder in a big way. Outside linebacker K.J. Wright had 11 tackles against Detroit and leads the team with 65 stops.
- Special TeamsHarvin can give the Vikings explosive plays as a returner. His explosive speed and superlative instincts allows him to find the weak spots on the opposing coverage teams and make big plays. Blair Walsh has had an amazing year, making 17-of-18 field goal attempts.Leon Washington does not have to take a back seat to anyone as a returner. While he is not as fast as he once was, he is still quick enough and he makes up for his loss of a half-step with greater knowledge, technique and elusiveness.
While the edges are split, Wilson is getting better at the quarterback position while Ponder is struggling right now and he may be going through more difficult times before he picks it back up. While Minnesota has an edge on special teams, it’s a narrow one and Washington could hit a big one when the game is on the line.