There is a reason the Vikings have a better record than the Seahawks. A look at dozens of league rankings shows the Vikings dominating Seattle.
The Vikings find themselves in some pretty rarified air in terms of record this season. Only two teams – New Orleans and Indianapolis – have a better record than the Vikings' mark of 8-1, but it has been a long time since fans have seen a Vikings team get off to a start like they have through their first nine games.
With a win today over Seattle, the Vikings would be 9-1 for the first time since the 1998, when they finished 15-1, and for just the second time since 1975, when they got off to a 10-0 start in a season several players from the Purple People Eaters era consider the greatest team of all time in Vikings history.
Unfortunately for players on both of those teams, their hot starts didn't turn into a Super Bowl appearance. The 1975 Vikings lost to Dallas in the playoffs in the infamous "Hail Mary" game, while the 1998 Vikings fell to Atlanta in overtime in the NFC Championship Game to prevent them from going to the Super Bowl.
It has been a long time coming for the Vikings to get off to a start this impressive. If Seattle, which is 0-4 on the road this year, is going to change that streak, they will have to play a near-perfect game, because too many of the numbers suggest the Vikings are right to be a double-digit favorite.
VIKINGS-SEAHAWKS BY THE NUMBERS
The Vikings have the 7th-ranked offense in the league (10th rushing, 12th passing) and the 15th-ranked defense (6th rushing, 23rd passing). Seattle has the 16th-ranked offense (27th rushing, 13th passing) and the 20th-ranked defense (11th rushing, 22nd passing).
The Vikings are averaging 369.1 yards a game on offense (246.7 passing, 122.4 rushing), while Seattle is averaging 337.6 yards a game (244.2 passing, 93.3 rushing).
The Vikings defense is averaging 328.7 yards a game allowed (234.1 passing, 94.6 rushing), while the Seahawks are allowing 338 yards a game (233 passing, 105 rushing).
The Vikings are 12th in the league in red zone offense, scoring touchdowns on 22 of 39 possessions (56.4 percent). Seattle is 29th, scoring touchdowns on just 11 of 27 chances (40.7 percent). The only teams with worse red zone touchdown percentages are Cleveland, Buffalo and St. Louis.
Defensively, the Vikings are second, allowing touchdowns on just nine of 24 red zone possessions (37.5 percent). The Seahawks are 17th, allowing 16 touchdowns on 30 possessions (53.3 percent).
Only Washington has a better defensive red zone percentage than the Vikings, allowing touchdowns on only six of 19 chances (31.6 percent).
Both teams have a worse rushing average than their yardage totals would indicate. The Vikings are 16th in average gain per rush, while the Seahawks are 26th.
Both quarterbacks have been judicious with the ball. The Vikings are first in interception percentage in the league, while Seattle is ninth.
The Vikings are fifth in the league converting third downs, making good on 57 of 127 chances (44.9 percent). Seattle is 21st, converting on 50 of 130 chances (38.5 percent). The league average is 38.5 percent.
Defensively, both teams are better than the league average in not allowing third down conversions. The Vikings have allowed just 35.3 percent of third downs (42 of 119) to be converted, which is very close to the Seahawks, who have allowed 44 of 122 third-down conversions (36.1 percent).
Seattle's defensive punt coverage is last in both gross punt average and net punt average.
The Vikings are tied for sixth in giveaway/takeaway ratio at plus-4 (14 takeaways, 10 giveaways). The Seahawks are tied for 20th at minus-2 (14 takeaways, 16 giveaways).
Only three teams have fewer giveaways than the Vikings – Green Bay with eight and New England and Baltimore with nine each.
Seattle has picked up 24 first downs on penalties, the most of any team in the league.
Defensively, the Vikings have allowed just 39 first downs via the run – the second-lowest total in the league behind only Pittsburgh (29).
The Percy Harvin factor has really shown up on average start position. The league average following a kickoff is the 26.1-yard line. The Vikings are first in the league with an average starting position of the 34.6-yard line – almost five yards better than the next-closest team (Chicago, 29.7-yard line). Seattle is 23rd with an average start position of the 24.7-yard line.
Brett Favre has three 300-yard passing days, while Matt Hasselbeck has two. The Vikings have allowed two 300-yard passers, while the Seahawks have allowed just one.
Both teams have had three 100-yard receiving games. All three of the Vikings have come from Sidney Rice, while Seattle's three have come from T.J. Houshmandzadeh with two and Nate Burleson with one. Both teams have allowed two 100-yard receivers.
Adrian Peterson has three 100-yard rushing days, while Justin Forsett and Julius Jones of Seattle each have one. The Vikings haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher in more than two years. The Seahawks have allowed just one 100-yard rusher this year, but it was a big one – 207 yards from Frank Gore in September.
Favre leads the league is passer rating at 107.5, as well as being second in interceptions, touchdown percentage and interception percentage. Hasselbeck is in the bottom half of starters in most statistical categories and his passer rating of 82.2 is only good enough for 18th place.
Favre's fourth quarter passer rating of 119.3 is second in the league, trailing only Drew Brees of the Saints (124.2). Hasselbeck's dismal rating of 48.3 in 37th in the league.
Favre has a passer rating on third downs of 104.4, fourth-best in the league. Hasselbeck is 20th with a rating of 75.1 on third down.
Peterson needs just 83 yards for his third straight 1,000-yard rushing season to start his career. He is second in the league with 917 yards, but finds himself 174 yards behind Chris Johnson of Tennessee and just two yards ahead of Steven Jackson for the lead in the NFC. Jones leads the Seahawks with 392 yards rushing, good enough for just 29th place in the league.
Peterson leads the league in third-and-1 conversions with eight, making good on eight of nine attempts with one yard needed to move the chains.
The Seahawks have two players in the top 20 in receptions. Houshmandzadeh is ninth with 50 receptions and Burleson is tied for 19th with 45. Sidney Rice is closing in on the top 20. He is tied for 22nd with 44 catches.
Rice's average of 17.9 yards per catch is the highest of any of the players in the top 50 for receptions.
Rice is fourth in the league with 786 receiving yards. Houshmandzadeh (582 yards) and Burleson (562) are 22nd and 23rd, respectively.
Harvin and Houshmandzadeh are tied for ninth in the league in third-down receptions with 15. Chester Taylor is tied for 12th with 14 and Rice is tied for 15th with 13 third-down receptions.
Peterson is second in the league in touchdowns with 11, trailing only Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew (12).
Visanthe Shiancoe is tied for second among tight ends with six touchdowns. Only Vernon Davis (seven) has more.
Ryan Longwell is fourth in the league is scoring with 77 points. Seattle's Olindo Mare is tied for ninth among kickers with 67 points – only one point more than Peterson.
Mare is tied for fifth in the league with 15 touchbacks on kickoffs. Longwell is tied for 21st with four.
Peterson is third in the league in yards from scrimmage with 1,116 (917 rushing, 199 receiving). He trails Steven Jackson by 30 yards and league leader Chris Johnson by 237 yards. Rice is 15th on the total-yardage list with 786 yards – all receiving.
Peterson entered Week 11 tied with DeAngelo Williams of Carolina for the most first downs picked up with 53 – 44 rushing, nine receiving for A.D. and 41 rushing, 12 receiving for Williams. Williams played Thursday and picked up four first downs – three rushing and one receiving.
Harvin leads the NFL in kickoff return average with 30.7 yards per return and needs 111 yards Sunday to top 1,000 yards in kick returns for the season.
The Vikings have three players in the top 15 in the league in sacks – Jared Allen is second with 10.5, Kevin Williams is tied for 13th with six and Ray Edwards is tied for 15th with 5.5 sacks.
The Vikings have scored 12 rushing touchdowns, while allowing just two.
The Vikings have outscored opponents 55-19 in the first quarter, which doesn't bode for Seattle since it has been outscored 55-23 in the first quarter.
The Vikings are averaging almost exactly 30 points a game.
Five Vikings have 25 or more receptions. The only other team that has that is Indianapolis.
The Vikings have eight players with at least one catch of 25 yards or more and another (Shiancoe) with a catch of 21 yards.