Defenses Will Rule as Vikings Visit Pacific Northwest Friday

Jay Pryce

Thursday, August 17, 2017 5:01 PM UTC

Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017 5:01 PM UTC

The lone NFL Week 2 preseason matchup for Friday (10 p.m. ET ) sees the Minnesota Vikings travel to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Naturally, it’s the focus of our Pick of the Day.

Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks (-3, 40)

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer is looking forward to an “in-season game atmosphere” the trip to Seattle will offer, particularly the challenges it will present to the offense, which he hopes to see “develop a rhythm.”  Quarterback Sam Bradford should play an extra series or two, after going 5-of-7 for 35 yards passing in a 17-10 win over the Bills in the opener. Case Keenum and Taylor Heinicke will get the lion’s share of snaps.

How much playing time Zimmer doles out to the first team is up in the air. The coach suggested he’s growing a bit gun-shy to injuries after watching a host of starters across the league go down last week. Plus, the squad is already missing many first-teamers. Left tackle Riley Reiff, guard Alex Boone, running back Latavius Murray and wide receiver Laquon Treadwell are all expected to sit out at Seattle.

The Vikings are 13-1 SU in the preseason under Zimmer. The coach said in his Wednesday presser earning victories is something he does not aim for but did praise the winning culture it produces: “At the end of the day, does it matter? No. But I think the competitive nature of your team, and especially if you’ve got a young team getting used to winning, I think that’s good.”

Minnesota’s first-team defense did not surrender a point vs. the Bills. The pass rush executed well, but the front yielded a pair of 15-plus-yard rushing plays. Improving against the run is the primary focus vs. the Seahawks, according to defensive coordinator George Edwards. The unit allowed 1,711 yards on the ground in 2016, 20th in the NFL.

It’s tough to grade any of Seattle’s 90-man roster performances less than above-average in the team’s 48-17 rout over the Chargers last week. Head coach Pete Carroll stated before the game this is the deepest roster he’s had in Seattle, and it showed. The offense picked up a whopping 458 total yards, though it was the defensive line that arguably played the best as a group. It dominated the trenches all night, accruing three sacks and holding San Diego to 72 yards rushing.

Carroll commented after the Chargers victory it was the first time the defense experienced “full-go tackling to the ground” since camp opened. The unit was fired up, physical, and tough. Bettors can expect similar enthusiasm against Minnesota. Carroll’s unit has yielded 18, 14, 14, 10 and 10 points in its last five Week 2 preseason matchups. The Vikings are not the kind of team to allow Seattle to get away on offense, either. Control is Zimmer’s modus operandi, and it will be the goal on both sides of the ball. Defense will rule in this meeting.

Free NFL Pick: 'Under' 40Best Line Offered: Heritage

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