The Seahawks are back on the road again for three of their next four games. And considering their recent history, maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
The Seahawks, coming off a demoralizing overtime loss to Tennessee in their home opener, head to Minnesota this weekend for their second of nine road games this season.
Since the start of the 2019 season, the Seahawks are 13-4 on the road. They set a franchise record with seven road wins in 2019, and then went 5-3 on the road last season.
They won their Sept. 12 season opener in Indianapolis, 28-16. And now they head to Minnesota to play a Vikings team they haven’t lost to since 2009.
Three things to know about the Vikings this week:
They’re 0-2 … but could be 2-0
Those are Mike Zimmer’s words.
“We’re probably two plays away from being 2-0,” the Vikings coach said Sunday.
He said that in the immediate aftermath of the Vikings’ 34-33 loss to the Cardinals in Arizona on Sunday.
You’ve seen, by now, how that one finished — with kicker Greg Joseph missing a 37-yard field goal as time expired.
The Vikings lost their Week 1 game in Cincinnati after star running back Dalvin Cook lost a fumble in overtime.
Two games, two gut-wrenching losses.
“We’re probably two plays away from being 2-0 on the road,” Zimmer repeated Monday, via the Star Tribune, “but it’ll be good to get back to U.S. Bank Stadium in front of our fans this week.”
This Sunday’s game against the Seahawks will be the Vikings’ home opener. It will also be the Seahawks’ first regular-season game played at U.S. Bank Stadium, which opened in 2016 (though the Seahawks did play preseason games there in 2018 and ’19).
As the Seahawks coach, Pete Carroll is 7-0 against Vikings (including playoffs).
Zimmer is 0-5 against Seattle.
Their offense? Pretty good
Cook remains one of the NFL’s top running backs.
He had 148 yards from scrimmage against Arizona on Sunday, but he left the game in the fourth quarter after being tackled by Arizona’s J.J. Watt.
“He just got a little ankle sprain,” Zimmer said afterward.
Cook has been banged up during matchups against the Seahawks the past several years.
He exited last year’s game in Seattle with a groin injury. He exited the 2019 game in Seattle with a shoulder injury.
He is the centerpiece of the Vikings offense. He insisted on returning to the game after injuring his ankle on Sunday, the Star Tribune reported, but he eventually had to leave the game for good because of the injury.
“There are moments where you don’t know if you have him for the rest of the game and then he’s back in,” veteran QB Kirk Cousins said. “Just did a great job coming back and being tough and playing hard, running hard. We ask a lot of him. He’s a warrior.”
The Vikings still have two talented receivers in Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. And they still have Cousins running the show.
In this space a year ago, we noted Cousins defined mediocrity as an NFL QB. That remains true, but that’s not to suggest he’s incapable of beating good defenses. Because he is capable, and he might be particularly capable against a Seattle defense that just surrendered 532 yards to Tennessee.
Cousins was 22 for 32 for 244 yards with three touchdowns and no turnovers against Arizona. He has six TDs and no interceptions through two games.
This is a good Vikings offense, and Cousins is a good-enough QB for a desperate 0-2 team.
Their defense? It’s a work in progress
Statistically, the Vikings have one of the worst defenses in the league through two games.
They’ve allowed 61 points and they’re giving up 6.6 yards per play (the Seahawks, by comparison, are allowing 5.6 yards per play).
But there were signs of a turnaround for the Vikings in the second half Sunday. They intercepted Kyler Murray twice, and forced a three-and-out with 2:21 left to give the ball back to Minnesota’s offense.
Danielle Hunter leads the Vikings with four sacks this season, and three of those came in Arizona.
“Well, I think today was encouraging, honestly, with the heart that we played with today, and the fight that we played with today,” Zimmer said, via The Athletic. “If we play like that, we’ll win a lot of games.”