Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.

Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.

Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Behind Enemy Lines: Percy, Bevell, Winfield and more

Posted by: Mark Craig under NFC Updated: November 15, 2013 - 12:43 PM

For this week's edition of "Behind Enemy Lines," we reached out to Bob Condotta, Seahawks beat writer for the Seattle Times. Here are five questions we posed to Bob in advance of Sunday's Vikings-Seahawks game at CenturyLink Field:

1. What impact, if any, do you think Percy will have in this game, based on what you've observed as far as the progress of his health, his fit in Darrell Bevell's offense, his motivation to play his former team and any chatter you've heard about the speed with which the team is willing to move him along?

If he does play, I would expect they would ease  him in a little bit, maybe 20 plays or so. He hasn't played in any game in more than a year and hasn't obviously played for the Seahawks. So I would doubt they would give him a totally full plate right off the bat. I am sure he would be highly motivated to want to make his season debut against his former team, though as of yet we have yet to be able to speak to him about that. As far as how he will fit into the offense, Bevell has said all along that he envisions it being similar to how he was used when each of them were in Minnesota --- primarily as an inside receiver, but sometimes out of the backfield and lined up outside, as well.

2. Describe the job Bevell has done utilizing quarterback Russell Wilson's strengths, the weapons around him and whether or not he's been able to keep defenses off-balance with his play-calling. Also, from what you're hearing and from talking to Darrell, do you think he's ready to be a head coach and will he get some interest next offseason?

Bevell generally gets high marks from those who watch the team for how he has constructed an offense that takes advantage of Wilson's running, while not relying on it so much that it puts him at too much risk. This year has been a little uneven offensively at times because of all the injuries --- the starting OL has played just one game together, Sidney Rice is out for the year, Harvin has yet to play, Zach Miller has been hurt, etc. Other than the opener, they have almost always had to adjust to some injury issue somewhere. But at the moment, Wilson's passer rating is even higher --- 101.8 --- than the franchise record of 100.0 it was last season. Bevell has not publicly discussed head coaching hopes. But having never met an assistant who didn't want to be a head coach eventually, I'd be surprised if he were any different. He was rumored to be on a couple of lists last season (including Arizona's and Chicago's) but was then given an extension and raise by the Seahawks through 2014. Contracts, though, are made to be broken when it comes to getting an NFL head coaching job, and it's hard to imagine he won't be a hot candidate after this season.

3. Describe what happened in the preseason with Antoine Winfield. How poorly did he play, how much of a surprise was it that he didn't make the team and how much guaranteed money did the team have to eat when it released him?

I don't think Winfield really played all that poorly. But what's important to remember is some of the context of when he signed --- namely, that Seattle needed someone to replace Marcus Trufant and wasn't sure what they had in Walter Thurmond, a promising young player who played only eight games the past two seasons due to injury. Thurmond, though, showed during the OTAs and mini-camp that he was healthy, and that changed the dynamic greatly. Thurmond simply beat out Winfield for the job. Seattle also had other young corners it wanted to keep for the long term, so if Winfield wasn't going to be the primary nickelback this year --- which he wasn't once Thurmond proved he was good to go --- then it made sense to keep the younger, cheaper players with more long-term potential to help the team than Winfield.

4. How vulnerable are the Seahawks against the run? Which is closer to their identity against the run, giving up 200 yards in back-to-back games against St. Louis and Tampa Bay or giving up 64 against the Falcons?

That's been a really weird thing that seemingly cropped up out of the blue in the games against St. Louis and Tampa Bay. Prior to those games, Seattle was sixth in the NFL against the run, notably holding the 49ers to 100 yards in the 29-3 win in week two (with much of that yardage coming on a long Colin Kaepernick run in garbage time). Then came the Rams and Bucs games, in which both rushed for 200 or more. Seattle talked about getting back to basics against the Falcons, and it also helped that its linebacking corps was healthy and playing well again, and statistically got the job done holding Atlanta to 64. The caveat there is that Atlanta is the worst rushing team in the NFL, at 64 yards per game. So Minnesota and Adrian Peterson will be a little truer of a test.

5. If you had to describe 2-3 traits that you've noticed that explains why so many teams misjudged Russell Wilson so badly on draft day, what would they be? And how does he look this year compared to last year?

1, His height. 2, His height. 3. His height. I really think that's all there really was to not like about him. He'd proven to be a winner, tough, an accurate passer, great athlete. But teams were simply scared off by his height and the thought that he would always be limited, that he couldn't be successful as a pocket passer. Seattle GM John Schneider has ties to Wisconsin and knew a lot about Wilson and was willing to take a flyer on him when others were leery. Seattle had also just signed Matt Flynn, so at the time they weren't necessarily counting on Wilson to be their starter. I think by any objective measure Wilson has been better this season, especially in the contest of the revolving door on the offensive line. Wilson has been among the most-pressured QBs all season, making his elusiveness a more valuable trait than ever for the Seahawks. The protection was better last week against Atlanta and you saw what happened --- a season-best 134.6 passer rating.


Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Arrieta 2 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: D. Axelrod 7
NY Yankees - LP: S. Kelley 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: P. Coke 3
Colorado - LP: J. Lyles 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: Y. Petit 4
Tampa Bay 4 Bottom 5th Inning
Baltimore 4
Atlanta 3 Bottom 8th Inning
NY Mets 1
Cleveland 1 Top 4th Inning
Chicago WSox 1
Minnesota 2 Top 4th Inning
Kansas City 2
Texas 2 Top 4th Inning
Houston 0
Oakland - S. Gray 9:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Wilson
Atlanta 24 FINAL
Jacksonville 14
Detroit 17 3rd Qtr 5:00
Buffalo 0
Indianapolis 0 4th Qtr 13:59
Cincinnati 28
Kansas City 7 3rd Qtr 7:46
Green Bay 20
NY Jets 7 3rd Qtr 0:53
Philadelphia 16
St. Louis 13 4th Qtr
Miami 0
Carolina 3 3rd Qtr 13:39
Pittsburgh 0
New England 10 3rd Qtr 14:11
NY Giants 10
Washington 10 3rd Qtr 11:45
Tampa Bay 0
Baltimore 13 2nd Qtr 2:00
New Orleans 10
Chicago 13 2nd Qtr 4:54
Cleveland 14
Denver 7 2nd Qtr 3:02
Dallas 3
Minnesota 13 2nd Qtr 3:28
Tennessee 0
San Francisco 0 2nd Qtr 5:47
Houston 6
Arizona 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 9:00 PM
(21) Texas A&M 52 4th Qtr 11:30
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 3rd Qtr 4:50
Boise State 3 2nd Qtr 6:24
(18) Ole Miss 7
Tulane 14 2nd Qtr 7:11
Tulsa 7
Rutgers 9:00 PM
Washington St
Temple 9:13 PM
Weber State 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon




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