Run The Ball, Make No Mistakes

With all the changes the Vikings have made on offense and defense, keeping the Seattle offense off the field is Job One today as the Vikings look to take a big step to solidify a playoff berth.

The word has reached Seattle -- Minnesota is desperate. With changes on the defensive front -- rookie Kevin Williams moving to nose tackle -- and the linebacker corps -- rookie E.J. Henderson moving into the MLB spot and second-year man Nick Rogers taking over for veteran Henri Crockett -- the Vikings have the look to an outsider as a team desperate to change its numerous problems on defense.

While there may be some accuracy to those statements, the key for the Vikings today will be on offense, where Michael Bennett and Moe Williams will hold the key.

The national media still views the Vikings as a high-octane offense capable of putting up points at any time. That isn't the case. The Vikings have become a more balanced offense that prefers to run first. In fact, they have been for the last two years. But, 15-play drives don't make the highlight films; bombs to Randy Moss do.

If the Vikings are to win today, they will need Bennett and Moe to carry the ball 30 to 40 times, sustaining drives, moving the clock and keeping Seattle's potent offense off the field.

If the Vikings get one-dimensional again, mistakes will follow. The team can't afford that right now.

* The changes aren't restricted to just the defense today. Lewis Kelly is going to be sharing time with David Dixon and D'Wayne Bates is expected to get the start at wide receiver.
* One of the Vikings problems on offense has been production from the No. 2 wide receiver spot. After Moss, who has 82 receptions, the next two highest receivers are RB Moe Williams with 54 and TE Jim Kleinsasser with 36. Aside from Moss, the entire rest of the wide receiver corps has caught 50 passes -- an average of just four per game and six less than Moe by himself.
* Through 12 games, kicker Aaron Elling has attempted just 18 field goals. Of those, he has missed five.
* When the Seahawks drafted Koren Robinson, the hope was the he would become the go-to deep threat like Moss or Marvin Harrison. Instead, he's remained a No. 2 target. Darrell Jackson has just six more receptions than Robinson, but has gained almost 200 more yards and could go over 1,000 yards receiving today. In addition, Robinson has just three TD receptions, leaving him behind Jackson (8), Bobby Engram (5) and even TE Itulu Mili (4).
* Shaun Alexander has nine rushing touchdowns, which isn't good news for the Vikings, who have allowed 17 rushing TDs this season and a league-worst 5.1 yards per carry.
* The Vikings have allowed more rushing touchdowns (17) than passing TDs (15).
* With all their problems on defense stopping the run, the Vikings have rushed for more yards (1,599) than they have allowed (1,567). * Culpepper remains tied for the team lead in rushing touchdowns with Moe at four each.
* The top four rushers for the Vikings are all averaging 4.3 yards a carry or more this season.

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