The Minnesota Vikings play host to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday from U.S. Bank Stadium in an afternoon tilt between two unknowns still in the NFL landscape. The Seahawks enter 1-1 but were stunned by a Titans comeback last week to put them behind in what might end up being the toughest and most competitive division in football, in the NFL West. The Vikings on the other hand, enter at 0-2 after losses to the Bengals and Cardinals, but they're probably only a few plays going in their direction from being 2-0. Heading on the road won't be easy for Seattle and Minnesota will be itching to make it a tough environment. These two teams last met last season, with the Seahawks coming away with a one point win in one of the best games of the NFL season. The Seahawks have actually won three in a row overall and the home team in the series has won seven straight games. Both teams know how important this game is to shift the momentum of their season, even though it's only week three. With the afternoon slate being light on Sunday, expect quite a few fans to tune in for this.
Seahawks Eye Road Bounce BackThe Seahawks looked good in week one on the road against the Colts, coming away with a 12-point win, which makes last week's loss even more surprising. The Seahawks had a 24-9 lead at halftime against the Titans, only to watch them storm back and come away with an overtime win. The Seahawks looked prime to start off the season 2-0 but now entering 1-1 and having to go on the road makes things quite a bit different. Their offense will continue to be one of the best in the league but questions remain on the defensive side of things. With how well Minnesota has looked themselves on offense, a shootout seems like it could be in store for Sunday. The Seahawks have a few season-long injuries but have quite a few more questionable ones to keep an eye on. On the offensive side, Freddie Swain (back), D'Wayne Eskeridge (concussion), and Rashaad Penny (calf) are all questionable for Sunday. On the defensive side of things, Bryan Mone (elbow) and Brandon Shell (ankle) are questionable as well. While none of those players are massive pieces, the lack of depth if even a few can't go could be evident on Sunday.
Through two weeks, Seattle ranks eighth in the league in points per game and they rank first in total yards per play. One main issue though is that don't have the opportunity to run a lot of plays. They rank 26th in rushing attempts per game and 30th in passing attempts per game but need to sustain long drives. Their ability to keep the ball and keep their defense off the field will prove to be crucial over the course of the season. Russell Wilson continues t be one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the league, having gone 40 of 54 so far, tossing touchdowns and not throwing an interception yet. The good news is that he still has two of the brightest receivers in the league in Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf and the Vikings have shown no ability to stop teams through the air. Chris Carson is still the leader in the backfield and it wouldn't be a surprise to see the staff try to get him involved quite a bit more early on as they try to control the pace.
Defensively, the Seahawks appear to be a team right in the middle of the road. They rank 16th in the NFL in points allowed per game but need a complete 60-minute performance. They rank 25th in fourth-quarter scoring allowed per game and until that number improves, the threat of a comeback will always exist. With that said though, they still have one of the best linebackers in the league in Bobby Wagner, who has 33 tackles already on the season. Add in Jamal Adams at safety and this defense has the ability to play a physical brand of football on Sunday. Last week they struggled to stop Derrick Henry on the ground but given Minnesota's affinity for the air, they should be in better shape to hold strong.
Vikings Searching For First WinMinnesota has to be disappointed to come into Sunday sitting at 0-2, especially after how close the last two games have been. An overtime loss to the Bengals and a one-point loss to the Cardinals, both on the road, has this team ready to get back to the friendly confines of U.S. Bank Stadium. The offense might have a shot at being the best in the NFC North this season but the defense continues t be a work in progress. From an injury perspective, the defense is still quite a bit beaten up. Anthony Barr (knee), Bashaud Breeland (back), Christian Darrisaw (groin), Everson Griffin (concussion), Eric Kendricks (hip), and Patrick Peterson (toe) are all key defensive pieces that are questionable heading into Sunday's matchup. If even a few of those can't go, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the same issues plague the defense on Sunday as what has plagued them all season. As if that wasn't enough, Dalvin Cook (ankle) is probable but the ankle is something to keep an eye on. The offense relies heavily on Cook and without him, it might be tough to see much balance from the group.
Fan questions about the #Vikings Week 2 loss are answered in this week's Monday Morning Mailbag.— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) September 20, 2021
The Vikings haven't had a ton of issues moving the ball this season and when looking at their offensive personnel, it makes sense. Dalvin Cook has established himself as one of the best backs in the league, while Kirk Cousins remains the leader at quarterback. Cousins has five touchdowns without an interception this season and it helps to have the talent at wide receiver surrounding him. Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen remain two of the best receivers in the league, combining for four touchdowns, but it's been the emergence of K.J. Osborn that's surprised folks. He's averaging 83.5 yards per game and has a touchdown as the former Miami star establishes himself as a firm starter on the offense. Given how the Seahawks have scored this year, the Vikings will need a complete offensive effort on Sunday to come away with the road win.
Defensively, is where the concerns seem to remain for the Vikings. They're allowing 330 passing yards per game and with Wilson and his receiving core coming to town, it doesn't seem like the defense will be built to slow down Seattle. Add in the host of injuries that Minnesota continues to deal with on that side of the ball and it's uncertain exactly what the team will look like that takes the field on Sunday.
The top team trends, according to covers.com, are: - Seahawks are 1-6 ATS against a team with a losing record. - Seahawks are 1-6 ATS in their last seven road games. - Seahawks are 1-5 ATS in their last six games as a road favorite.
The top team trends, according to covers.com, are: - Home team is 6-2 ATS in their last eight meetings with the Seahawks.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Vikings record is slightly deceiving given how close those two losses have been and that both have come on the road. Now that they're back at home, they'll be excited to have the Viking faithful behind them and U.S. Bank Field is sure to be loud on Sunday afternoon. The injuries for the Vikings are a concern but the expectation is that at least a few of those key defensive pieces will be able to give it a go on Sunday, which should do a massive job bolstering the defense. For the offense, they remain one of the most dangerous groups in the league. With Cook looking ready to play, he could be in for a big game when considering how poorly the Seahawks performed against the run last week. Add in three top-end receiving threats and Seattle's defense is going to be hard-pressed to stop Minnesota. Expect a big game from Cousins and company and the pressure will be on the Seahawks to match that. Seattle will definitely score points but their inefficiencies were exposed in the second half of last week's game and having to go on the road to a tough atmosphere is going to be a price to pay as well. Expect the Vikings to score at will on Sunday and the Seahawks to have not quite enough in the tank as the home side pulls off the upset.
Full-Game Total Pick
Both these teams have struggled to stop their opponents this season, with no issues scoring themselves. Seattle put up 30 points at home last week but also allowed 33. Both teams are allowing over 400 yards of total offense and this game might be the highest scoring in the NFL this weekend. The Vikings offense, even at 0-2, has shown well on the road in two games and should only flourish coming back home. Additionally, according to covers.com, for Minnesota, the over is 5-0 in their last five games overall, is 4-0 in their last four games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game, is 6-0 in their last six games after allowing more than 30 points in their previous game, is 4-0 in their last four games after allowing more than 350 total yards in their previous game, and is 4-0 in their last four games on fieldturf.