Pete Carroll met with the media on Wednesday afternoon ahead of his team's wild-card playoff game against the NFC North champion Vikings, a meeting set for 10:05 a.m. PT this Sunday at University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium.
The two teams already squared off once this season at that same venue, a 38-7 Seahawks win in Week 13, and Carroll said there's "a tremendous amount of information" for Seattle to draw from that contest.
Here's a look at four things we learned from the Seattle head coach about that regular-season matchup and his team's upcoming tilt with a club the Seahawks have "some familiarity" with:
1. Adrian Peterson's Past Workload Isn't Indicative Of What's To Come
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who did not participate in Wednesday's practice with a low back injury, finished 2015 with the most rushing yards in the NFL.
Of his League-high 1,485 yards on the ground, just 18 of them came in his team's Week 13 meeting with the Seahawks, the third-lowest single-game total of Peterson's nine-year career. But Carroll has been quick to point out that Peterson's 18 yards came on only eight carries - five in the first half and three in the second, signaling Peterson's workload was more indicative of the lopsided score with the Vikings down 21-0 at halftime.
"I don't think we kept him in check, they weren't able to run the ball a lot," Carroll said. "There's not any misconception of what happened in that game to us at all. We think he's an incredible football player. They know how to give it to him and they're going to do that.
"That was a game that just happens once in a while. That was not an indication of anything that's going to come."
2. Seattle's Defense "Played Really Well" and Was The Difference in Week 13
Despite Carroll not endorsing the talk that his team held Peterson in check, he did say that how his defense played overall in Week 13 went a long ways in determining the favorable final score.
The Seahawks turned the ball over on their first possession of the game when running back Thomas Rawls lost a fumble in Minnesota territory, but the Seattle defense quickly forced a three-and-out on the Vikings' ensuing possession. It was one of four times Minnesota punted in the first half and a fifth possession ended with an Earl Thomas interception of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater that the Seahawks turned into points just before the half. That trend continued into the final two quarters of play, with the Vikings' only points coming on a kickoff return for a touchdown by wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. Ultimately, Minnesota's offense finished with zero points and 125 total yards, its lowest output since December 2006 (104).
"We kind of started out kind of rough," Carroll recalled of Week 13. "We turned the ball over right away, and had a couple penalties and stuff that got in our way. Then we played really well on defense is what it turned out, and we found some ways to get down the field and score a little bit. We had a good turnover in there that we took advantage of also. So we got up on them because the defense was really keeping us in position to do that. Made some really nice plays on offense, and so the score just kind of stayed out there.
"But it was I think a shaky start for us, and then the defense allowed us to kind of regain our stride and play some good football, and took off a little bit."
3. Seattle's "Counting On" Linval Joseph To Play
Linval Joseph was absent from his team's regular-season meeting with the Seahawks - the Vikings nose tackle was nursing a foot injury that forced him to miss four of his team's final five games. He didn't play in the Vikings' NFC North-clinching win over the Green Bay Packers this past Sunday, but the run stuffer was a limited participant at Wednesday's practice, and Carroll said the Seahawks are preparing as if Joseph will see the field.
"He's really a good player, he's a really good player, and allows them to do what they want to do with [Vikings defensive tackle] Sharrif [Floyd], too," Carroll said of Joseph, who despite missing four games to injury set a career-high with 42 tackles this season. "Yeah, they miss him. I don't know if he's going this week or not, I haven't heard yet. We're counting on that he is."
4. What's Different About The Vikings Since Last Time They Played
The 38 points Minnesota gave up against Seattle were a season-high. Only twice this season did the Vikings give up 30-plus points to an opponent.
Since that game against Seattle, Minnesota allowed 23 points in a three-point loss to the eventual NFC West champion and No. 2-seeded Arizona Cardinals, 17 points in blowout wins over the Chicago Bears and New York Giants, and 13 points in this past Sunday's seven-point win over the Packers to finish the regular-season with the fifth-best scoring defense in the NFL (18.9 points per game). Those defensive efforts are one of the differences Carroll has seen in the Vikings since playing them in Week 13.
"They've kept the score down throughout," Carroll said. "If you look at their numbers, 17 points, 16 points, they've been right down low. They're fifth in the league in scoring, they're only a point behind the leaders in that regard, so they're a terrific defense.
"We got a lot of points the day that we were there, and that hasn't happened in other games."
Carroll also commented on what makes Minnesota such a good team, calling attention to its ability to "play good, solid football across the board" with an offense that ranks fourth in the NFL in rushing (138.2 yards per game) and doesn't commit many mistakes, and a special teams unit that's "well-schooled" in defending the big play.
"They're just a really good football team, and you better play good on the day you play them, or they're going to get you," Carroll said. "Last week they played a very conservative game against Green Bay, and waited for their opportunities, cashed in on the turnovers, and put together a fantastic championship game. That, to me, really always concerns me a lot, because they're not giving you a lot of opportunities to do things.
"We were fortunate the day we played them, that's not how they play. I don't know that it can be like that, it's going to be much different than that I think."