One man's prediction: Sure looks like a ground-and-pound cage match on paper. And that means the game will probably turn into a shootout. Right now, the Vikings offense needs a lot more from its passing game -- and it's hard to see it getting it against a top-five defense in a raucous road venue. Seattle is unbeaten at home. Seattle 23, Vikings 16
Up in the air
Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch are the headliners, with both likely to see a heavy workload. But the final result may hinge on which young QB settles in quicker. For the Vikings, Christian Ponder is hoping to rebound after an October slump in which he committed eight turnovers and was sacked 11 times. Seattle's defense (11 takeaways, 21 sacks) will further test Ponder's resilience. Seahawks rookie Russell Wilson, meanwhile, is another poised, dual-threat rookie looking to mirror the success Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III had against the Vikings.
We meet again
Fifteen months after departing the Twin Cities, Sidney Rice seems to be coming on strong for Seattle. Rice's 46-yard TD grab with 1:18 left beat the Patriots in Week 6. Last Sunday, he had a season-best six catches for 55 yards. Hip and shoulder injuries plus concussion issues cost Rice 17 games in 2009 and 2010. Now he's feeling spry. "The best I've felt in a while," he said. Seattle doesn't take many shots in the passing game. But when it does, Rice is the top target. Said coach Pete Carroll: "We're seeing him at full-tilt, and it's great."
A short cut?
Seattle's vaunted defense may have at least some vulnerability against shorter passes. Last week, Detroit's Titus Young darted around for nine catches, 100 yards and two touchdowns. And last we checked, Percy Harvin was consistently more explosive than Young. With as big and physical as Seahawks cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner are, Harvin's ability to move around and be slippery underneath could give the Vikings a needed edge.
1,532 Rushing yards gained by running backs Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch through the season's first eight weeks. Peterson (775) and Lynch (757) are the rushing leaders in the NFL right now and have combined for seven touchdowns.
Chris Clemons, Seahawks: Clemons, with seven sacks this year and 29 in his 40 games with the Seahawks, energizes Seattle's aggressive defensive front. He might give Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil all he can handle.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Vikings receiver Jerome Simpson vs. Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman
About Simpson (left)
Still struggling to get on track. Has just seven catches, 95 yards and zero touchdowns in four games.
Second-year standout has three interceptions and 11 passes defensed this season.
Who has the edge?
You can bet the farm that this matchup will produce the most trash talk. Sherman's physicality and fluidity in coverage, however, seems to outweigh Simpson's speed.