Seattle Seahawks Need Strong Defense For Redemption Against Vikings

Marci NobleAnalyst IAugust 24, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 22:  Chester Taylor #29 of the Minnesota Vikings runs with the ball against the Seattle Seahawks at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on November 22, 2009 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Last time the Seahawks met the Vikings they were pummeled to the tune of 35-9 (21 of those points coming in a first half shutout).  They were instruments in the aggrandizement of Brett Favre as he logged not one, but two personal bests (88 percent completion rating, and 22nd career game with four or more touchdown passes—surpassing Dan Marino). 

In a post game interview former Seahawks head coach Jim Mora Jr. likened the game to beating his head against a wall (which he might as well have done instead of bothering to try to coach last season). 

The Seahawks failed to post any points until the Vikings started pulling starters in the fourth quarter.

So what’s to say that this weekend’s exhibition game will turn out differently?  After all, the Seahawk with the most receiving yards from that game thought the he’d be better off continuing his career with the hapless Detroit Lions (Nate Burleson, six catches, 100 yards) than staying with the Seahawks.

On the other hand, last Saturday’s matchup against the Packers was similarly ominous (last season’s meeting with Green Bay resulted in a 48-10 loss by the Seahawks) and the Seahawks were able to post competitive numbers. 

The ‘Niners were able to win a low-scoring exhibition versus these same Vikings last weekend (15-10) with their third string quarterback (although, is anyone else a little intimidated by Nate Davis?) so shouldn’t the supposedly stronger Seahawks be able to do the same?

Carroll is blaring crowd noise at practices to simulate the distraction of playing in the Metrodome and has the offense practicing in this weekend’s game colors to help the QBs get used to looking for the right receivers. 

Are these measures going to be key in helping the Seahawks win on Saturday?

The Seahawks offense is showing great promise this year. 

Whitehurst showed a QB rating of 107.0 (rivaling Drew Brees’ rating at the end of last season) after his first appearance against the Titans two weekends ago. 

Carroll’s “always compete” theme has each receiver—named starters and otherwise—working to prove himself and earn his keep.  This coupled with the speed in the backfield brought by Leon Washington and augmented by Justin Forsett and Julius Jones (who is hopefully more committed this year) should keep the Vikings from shutting the Seahawks out of the end zone.

With first round draft pick Russell Okung out nursing a fresh ankle sprain this weekend, the Seahawks will likely have to rest their hopes on Sean Locklear for left-side coverage.  He hasn’t looked good on the right side so far.  Let’s hope he’s holding back.

As for a win?  That’ll depend on the defense. 

Ironically, since Carroll comes from a defensive background, the Seahawks defense has been struggling so far in the preseason.

David Hawthorne has done a fine job filling in for Tatupu while he rests a strained hamstring, but he will have to step up as a leader for the defense if Tatupu doesn’t play again this weekend.

We’ve seen both good (an interception to cement the 20-18 win over the Titans in the first preseason game) and bad (missed coverage during the opening drive of last weekend’s game versus the Packers) moments from fifth-round safety Kam Chancellor.  A more consistent performance from him, and a more aggressive performance from first-rounder Earl Thomas, could help stifle the Viking’s formidable passing game.

A win comes down to what defensive coordinator Gus Bradley can do with his young players to keep the Vikings’ passing game in check.  If the Seahawks defense appears as disoriented as they did last weekend, we can expect Favre and the rest of the Vikings to shimmy into the end zone at will and Alex Gibbs’ capable offense will have trouble keeping up.