Up next: Minnesota Vikings

Posted Nov 12, 2013

The Seahawks put their best-in-the-NFC record of 9-1 on the line Sunday when they host the Minnesota Vikings and reigning league MVP Adrian Peterson at CenturyLink Field.

A look at the 2-7 Minnesota Vikings, the Seahawks’ Week 11 opponent:

When: Sunday, 1:25 p.m., CenturyLink Field

Record: 2-7 after a 34-27 victory over the Washington Redskins last Thursday night, which snapped a four-game losing streak

Where they rank: No. 28 on offense (17th rushing, 25th passing); No. 30 on defense (17th rushing, 29th passing)

TV: FOX (Q/13 in Seattle), with Chris Myers, Tim Ryan and Jennifer Hale

Series: Seahawks lead 7-5, including a 30-20 victory at CenturyLink Field on Nov. 4 last season

Star power: A.P. The fact that everyone knows you’re talking about Adrian Peterson when only his initials are used pretty much says it all. And if that’s not enough, there’s his 2,097-yard rushing performance last season, when he was coming off reconstructive knee surgery to repair ligaments he tore on Christmas Eve 2011, which made him the obvious choice for league MVP. The Seahawks were part of Peterson’s near-record season as he ran for 182 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries in a Week 9 at CenturyLink Field. “He’s an angry runner,” is the way former defensive coordinator Gus Bradley described Peterson last season. “I think if you watch the tape that what you would look at. Every one of (his carries), he looks like he’s trying to break a long one.” This season, Peterson is fourth in the league in rushing yards (786), seventh in total yards (949) and tied for the NFL lead in scoring (60 points) among non-kickers. Oh, and he’s also converted eight of nine attempts on third-and-1 rushes. Even with the Vikings struggling, Peterson has the ability to ruin the Seahawks’ coming-home party on Sunday.

Unsung hero: Kevin Williams. With Letroy Guion and Fred Evans inactive against the Redskins, the Vikings had a gaping hole in the middle of their defensive line. Until Williams slid over from his spot as the three-technique tackle to fill it, and then some. In his first start at nose tackle, the 6-foot-5, 311-pound Williams had 2.5 sacks among his seven tackles and also hit the Redskins’ Robert Griffin III two other times. Williams moving to the nose also allowed the Vikings to start first-round draft choice Sharrif Floyd, Williams’ backup, at the three-technique spot. “I hope that’s the Fountain of Youth he’s found and we’re going to see it the rest of the season,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said after the game when asked about Williams, “because we definitely need an inside pass rush and we’ve been lacking that, so we need that in a big way for us to be able to do what we want on defense where we rely so much on our front four being able to rush the passer without having to pressure (blitz) all the time.”

On the spot: The Seahawks’ coverage units. Or, the Vikings’ Cordarrelle Patterson and Marcus Sherels, depending on how these intriguing matchups unfold. The Seahawks have allowed a league-low 15 punt return yards all season, while Sherels is averaging a league-best 16.3 yards returning punts. The Seahawks are allowing opponent drives to start at the 20.1 yard-line off Steven Hauschka’s kickoffs, fifth-best in the league; but Patterson leads the league with a 35.2-yard average and has two scoring returns – including a 109-yarder. In fact, Paterson was the NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for September.

Burning question: Which Vikings defense shows up? The one that allowed 288 yards and 24 points in the first half against the Redskins, who converted 7 of 8 third-down situations and had 18 first downs as RGIII was completing 16 of 21 passes for 179 yards and three touchdowns? Or the one that held RGIII to an 8-of-16, 102-yard, no-TD pass performance in the second half while limiting the Redskins to three points?

Numbers to know: 1, rushing touchdown needed by Peterson to give him 10 this season, and for the seventh consecutive season. … 2009, the last time Williams had a multiple-sack game. … 6, kickoff and punt returns for touchdowns by the Vikings since 2011. … 800, regular-season games in Vikings’ history when they take the field Sunday.

Familiar faces: TE John Carlson was the Seahawks’ second-round draft choice in 2008 and voted to the franchise’s 35th Anniversary team. With starter Kyle Rudolph out with a foot injury, Carlson had seven catches for 98 yards and his first TD catch as a Viking against the Redskins.

The last word: “The thing with this injury is, it’s not really going to hinder anything. It’s not hindering my throwing motion or anything. It’s just going to be taking a hit or something, and we don’t have fear that it’s going to get worse. It’s just being able to handle the pain. And if I can do it, then I’ll play.” – QB Christian Ponder, who dislocated his left shoulder against the Redskins