Seattle Times staff reporter Bob Condotta breaks down this week’s Seahawks playoff opponent, the Minnesota Vikings.
Game time: 10 a.m. Sunday.
TV: NBC (Ch. 5).
2015 record: 11-5, first in the NFC North.
By the numbers
All-time playoff losses by the Vikings, most in NFL history. Minnesota has won 19 playoff games.
Times the Vikings had fewer than 300 yards in total offense this season, including 125 against Seattle on Dec. 6.
Peterson’s rushing attempts this season, 39 more than any other NFL running back.
Coach: Mike Zimmer.
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The series: The Seahawks lead it 9-5, including a 38-7 win at Minnesota on Dec. 6. The Seahawks also have won the past three games in the series, in 2012, 2013 and this season. The teams have not met in the playoffs.
Early line: Seahawks by 5½ points.
RB Adrian Peterson: After playing just one game in 2014 due to a suspension, Peterson led the NFL in rushing this season with 1,485 yards. The 30-year-old, though, gained only 18 of those yards in the first meeting against the Seahawks, a game in which he had just eight carries. That was the third-fewest yards and tied for the fourth-fewest carries of his career. And though Peterson averaged 4.5 yards per carry for the season, he was held to 3.53 yards per carry or less in five of the past seven games and battled a back injury at the end of the season. Peterson said the back won’t prevent him from playing against the Seahawks.
QB Teddy Bridgewater: The second-year QB from Louisville hasn’t put up flashy numbers and didn’t play well in Sunday’s win at Green Bay, throwing for a season-low 99 yards. But he’s 17-11 as a starter and cut down markedly on his interceptions this season (nine in 447 attempts). He has just one interception in the past four games (though that was a rather inexplicable one, a left-handed heave under pressure).
FS Harrison Smith: Smith missed almost all of the first meeting with the Seahawks, leaving early in the game because of a sprained knee that also cost him the next three games, as well. When healthy, Smith was regarded as being among the top handful of free safeties in the NFL, and the Vikings undoubtedly will be eager to see if a defense with Smith manning the back end will do better against Seattle.
DE Everson Griffen: A former USC star who played there under Pete Carroll, Griffen is coming off one of the best games of his career with two sacks against the Packers, including one that forced an Aaron Rodgers fumble that was returned for a touchdown. Griffen typically plays on the right side and will match up with Seattle left tackle Russell Okung, assuming he’s healthy. Okung held Griffen without a sack or QB hit on Russell Wilson in the first game.
Minnesota’s keys to success: Though you might not have been able to tell from the way they played in their loss to Seattle in December, the Vikings won the NFC North this season the old-fashioned way — with a strong running game and defense. The Vikings were just 29th in total offense at 321.2 yards per game. But behind the running of Peterson they were fourth in rushing at 4.7 yards per carry and fourth in rushing touchdowns with 18, and had the third-lowest pass-to-run ratio in the NFL. The Vikings were 31st in the NFL in passing offense at 183 yards per game, and their 454 attempts were 19 fewer than any other team. The defense hardly put up glittering statistics, ranked 13th overall — 12th against the pass and 17th against the run. But the Vikings simply had a knack for getting the key stop at the key time. They ranked fifth in third-down defense, allowing teams to convert just 34.5 percent of the time, and fourth in keeping teams out of the end zone when inside the 20-yard line. Minnesota doesn’t blitz a lot, bringing pressure about 25 percent of the time, ranked in the bottom third of the NFL most of the season. Minnesota has decent special teams keyed by kickoff returner Cordarrelle Patterson, who returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, including one against the Seahawks.