The Minnesota Vikings still hold on to that sixth seed after the games that took place on Sunday (thankfully), but did fall two games back in the division after Chicago’s win against the Rams. Now the Vikings need to thank the football gods by putting a whooping on the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night and secure a win.
A win in Seattle isn’t going to come easy and hopefully the Vikings make it a good matchup, especially for primetime. I broke down a few things to watch for this week:
Vikings rush defense vs. Seahawks run game
Seattle’s run game has been the most efficient in the league going into week 14, according to Pro Football Reference in terms of rushing yards and attempts. The Seahawks have quite the committee in the backfield with Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny and Mike Davis.
Carson is no doubt the lead workhorse with 157 carries for 704 yards and four touchdowns. Davis and Penny have a combined 163 totes for 765 yards and five touchdowns. Seattle has only rushed for less than 150 yards in only four games this season.
With that being said, the Vikings’ rush defense should be pretty busy Monday night. The defense has averaged 99 yards a game this season and ranks 7th in league for rushing yards allowed. However, over the last three games the average has been 130 rush yards a game.
Sheldon Richardson’s return to Seattle
The last time Richardson faced Seattle in a regular season game was back in 2016 when he was with the New York Jets, he only recorded two tackles. He did spend last year as a Seahawk before making his way over to Minnesota.
Last season in 15 games he recorded 44 total tackles, two fumble recoveries, one sack and an interception. While with the Vikings, he’s racked up 41 total tackles and 3.5 sacks. He’s managed to hit the quarterback 14 times this season compared to only seven last year.
Richardson isn’t on pace for a career-high season, but he’s on pace to have a better season than last year. He’s been a significant piece for Minnesota’s defensive front. Two weeks ago he had his best game of the season finishing the day with seven total tackles and two sacks against the Green Bay Packers. He finished last week with only three tackles against the New England Patriots.
A well-balanced Vikings offense
There’s been a lot of heat thrown onto John DeFilippo about running the ball. He’s said he knows he should have ran the ball more last week. The pressure for a more balanced performance from the offense is high and I think Monday night will be the night fans will finally see a night where Dalvin Cook carries the ball more than 15 times.
Cook’s only been in one game where he’s carried the ball more than 15 times and that happened in week one when he carried the ball 16 times against the San Francisco 49ers. Other than that he’s only carried the ball 29 times over the past three weeks.
Here’s a weird nugget I dug up that stood out. Whenever the Vikings lost (and tied considering the Packer game), Cousins had thrown the ball more than 40 times. The Vikings won whenever Cousins threw the ball 40 times or less. Regardless of the outcome, I’ll be looking at that stat.
- Offense throws the ball 30 times with 20 rush attempts.
- Richardson gets a sack and three tackles.
- Vikings’ D holds Seahawks’ run game to 75 yards.
- Cousins throws three touchdowns to three different receivers.
- Vikings win 28-21.