In my pre-season predictions, I don’t think I could’ve been more off-base than I was about how good I thought the Vikings would be. I have no idea how I could’ve been so wrong! Well, other than the whole “doing zero research” thing, that might’ve played a part in it. But, it just seemed like they’d finally built the perfect Mike Zimmer-type team. They’ve arranged the offense around one of the best running backs in the game, Dalvin Cook. They have a quarterback who’s more than willing to buy into that scheme, while still being competent enough to hit on some play-action deep passes. They have a top receiver in Adam Thielen to be a security blanket, they have good tight ends for red zone production, and I really thought Stefon Diggs going to the Bills would be addition-by-subtraction (since he was clearly disgruntled in his tenure there). And, as a Mike Zimmer-coached team, they’ve ALWAYS had a good defense (on top of trading for that elite pass rusher from the Jags for practically nothing). With the foundation of a 10-6 wild card team from a season ago – combined with the fool’s gold that was the 2019 Packers season (with their unsustainable injury luck and easy schedule) – I thought this was a perfect opportunity for the Vikings to re-take the NFC North and coast to the Super Bowl.
Instead, it looks like they might be in the running for a Top 10 draft pick next year.
You have to start with the defense, which is truly dreadful. They’ve given up the fourth-most yards per game (fourth-most in passing, and ninth-most in rushing), as well as the seventh-most points per game. Now, you may be saying, “Okay, but the Seahawks are pretty bad in those categories too, and they’re still winning games!” True, but the Vikings don’t have Russell Wilson.
It’s easy to overrate Kirk Cousins, I think. He’s still the only guy who has totally bet on himself and successfully earned a 100% fully-guaranteed multi-year contract. That’s impressive! In hindsight, though, it seems like money poorly spent. I won’t get into all the numbers, but they’re bad. He’s 26th in passer rating, behind guys like Nick Mullens and Mitch Trubisky (a.k.a. guys who have been benched mid-game for their ineffectiveness). To my knowledge, Kirk Cousins has yet to be benched this year, which probably means the Vikings don’t have any better options. That’s a bad sign.
The one bright spot Vikings fans seem to be hanging their hats on is the running game. Dalvin Cook is as advertised. Of course, that’s going to run right into the part of the Seahawks defense that’s actually functioning at a high level this year (further bolstered by the signing of Damon “Snacks” Harrison), so … *Conceited Reaction Meme*
It’s hard not to make this a carbon copy of last week’s pre-Miami post. I mean, I guess the Vikings are slightly better than the Dolphins, but is that cause to worry? I don’t think Cousins is better than Fitzpatrick, so that’s something. The weapons around him might be better, but I think the Vikings’ defense is considerably worse.
It feels like the Seahawks have stumbled upon a defensive scheme that can work against most teams: hang back, don’t give up any deep plays, and wait for opposing quarterbacks to make mistakes. This is likelier to come up the more mediocre the quarterbacks are (obviously, the elite ones will just pick us apart, but we have to deal with those issues as they arise).
In a vacuum, I’d say the Seahawks’ offense should have an easier time scoring this week than they did in Miami. The Vikings are that bad, particularly in the secondary; they should be shredded accordingly. My biggest cause for worry, honestly, is the weather! It’s supposed to rain on Sunday – potentially leading to thunderstorms – and we’ve seen how this team has performed in that type of weather in the past. Not well! In that vacuum, with perfect weather, I could see the Seahawks putting up 50 points, with the over/under of 56.5 easily being eclipsed! But, in a torrential downpour, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the under hit and lead to big winnings for the Vegas sportsbooks.
This game really shouldn’t be close, but I fear it might be due to weather alone. Nevertheless, we’re witnessing two teams going in drastically different directions. The Vikings just aren’t in our league! On top of which, we’re looking at a primetime, nationally-televised game, and you know how the Seahawks love to perform in front of a huge audience! So, it’s really hard for me to see us losing this one.
My official prediction is 27-20 Seahawks. But, I’ll be curious to see if the offense can continue to beat expectations. While we’ve seen plenty of occasions where the Seahawks have struggled to move the football in crazy weather situations, we’ve never seen the Seahawks in those crazy weather situatons while employing a Russ who cooks!
We’ve got this game, then a BYE week, then we’re not in primetime again until mid-to-late November. Russell Wilson is in the driver’s seat as far as the MVP race is concerned, but you know he’s going to want to make a lasting impression as we head into this national exposure dry spell. So, while I won’t say I’m banking on a huge offensive explosion, it wouldn’t shock me if it still happened, and the Seahawks ended up putting this game to bed relatively early.
We really lucked out with how this has shaken out, all things considered. With the Dolphins and now the Vikings, it’s been a pretty soft landing to our BYE week. These extra weeks for our injured guys to rest will hopefully prove pivotal in allowing them to return well-rested and able to finish the bulk of the season on the field.