The Minnesota Vikings open the second half of the season on the road in Seattle on Sunday. At 5-3, the Vikings have surpassed the expectations of people. Their back-to-back wins over the 49ers and Lions—both playoff teams from last season in Weeks 3 and 4, actually had people thinking playoffs. Now, after losing two of three games, there are some concerns as the Vikings open the tougher half of the season.
This game features the top two ground gainers in the NFL in Adrian Peterson, perhaps the story of the year coming off major reconstructive knee surgery in January, with 775 yards and Marshawn Lynch who has 757 rushing yards for the Seahawks.
It's a matchup of two teams that struggle in the passing game. The Seahawks are 31st in the league behind rookie Russell Wilson, averaging 171.1 passing yards per game. Only the Jacksonville Jaguars average fewer yards. The Vikings are not much better at 27th in the NFL with an average of 206.6 passing yards per game.
With the fifth-ranked defense in yards allowed, this will be the fifth team the Vikings have faced in the top 10 of the NFL. This bodes well for the Vikings as they are 3-1 in those games. The puzzling fact is that the Vikings are 2-2 against teams whose defense is ranked 23rd or lower, with losses to the Redskins (32) and the Buccaneers (31) in two of the last three weeks.
Here are 10 keys for the Vikings if they want to prevent their first two-game losing streak of the season.