When: 3:25 p.m. Sunday, U.S. Bank Stadium
TV (radio):Ch. 9 (100.3-FM)
Line:Seahawks by 2
The Vikings haven't beaten the Seahawks since 2009, and they're 0-7 against Russell Wilson — but they're facing a Seattle team with a susceptible defense, and they're going to be playing with an edge after returning for their home opener following an 0-2 start. With a raucous crowd behind them, the Vikings will pull this one out late.
THREE STORY LINES
'Grand reopening' comes with high stakes
After losing twice on the road by a total of four points, the Vikings badly need a win to keep their season in decent shape. They'll try to get it while playing a regular-season game in front of fans at U.S. Bank Stadium for the first time in nearly 21 months. Fans figure to be fired up for a late-afternoon home opener, and the Vikings spent much of the week calling for as much noise as they can get with Wilson on the field.
Vikings try to beat Wilson for the first time
The Vikings have faced Wilson seven times in his first nine seasons, and lost them all — including last year's one-point defeat when Wilson drove the Seahawks 94 yards in the game's final two minutes, converting two fourth downs in the process. He's faced the Vikings just twice in Minnesota, though, and never at U.S. Bank Stadium, where the Vikings hope their pass rush will have a split-second edge (thanks to the crowd noise) on a suspect Seattle line.
Defensive struggles out, QB duels in
Both Mike Zimmer and Pete Carroll have built their careers on teams with strong defenses, but with both teams ranked near the bottom of the league defensively, the matchup could swing on the performance of two QBs who've been facing one another since their days in the Big Ten: Kirk Cousins has the league's longest active streak of passes without an interception (162), while Wilson (124) is right behind him, Both quarterbacks have dynamic receiver tandems that could be in for big days on Sunday.
TWO KEY MATCHUPS
Vikings CB Mackensie Alexander vs. Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett
Lockett has 278 receiving yards in the Seahawks' first two games; he'll spend plenty of time in the slot, where Alexander could be responsible for covering him in certain assignments. The Vikings will likely mix up their coverage looks and offer help to their corners against Lockett and DK Metcalf, but being able to take away downfield shots when Wilson is out of the pocket more effectively than they did it against Kyler Murray last week will be a key to the game.
Vikings DE Danielle Hunter vs. Seahawks T Jamarco Jones
Hunter had three sacks last week, and had a shot at one or two more against Kyler Murray; his ability to pressure Wilson will be a key to the Vikings slowing Seattle's passing game down this time. Jones is starting in place of the injured Brandon Shell; the Seahawks could offer him some help against Hunter, but the fourth-year tackle will have his hands full as Hunter returns to U.S. Bank Stadium's turf.
ONE STAT THAT MATTERS
4: Wilson touchdown passes to travel at least 20 yards in the air this season. That figure is the most in the league, according to Pro Football Focus.
THE VIKINGS WILL WIN IF …
Dalvin Cook is able to play on a sprained right ankle, and be effective enough against a Seahawks team with the league's second-worst run defense that the Vikings can build a lead and let their pass rush go after Wilson. The Vikings have been able to pressure Wilson into mistakes in their recent matchups with him; they'll look to use the crowd to their advantage this time.
THE SEAHAWKS WILL WIN IF …
Wilson can follow what Murray did last week and change the game with a number of big downfield shots; the 32-year-old quarterback doesn't run as much as he used to, but his ability to throw deep on the move is still among the best in the league. If he's able to avoid the Vikings' pass rush and attack their secondary, Seattle could score enough points to leave Minnesota with another win.
Prediction: Vikings 31, Seahawks 28