Thursday, December 14, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Big chill expected for Seahawks-Vikings game

MINNEAPOLIS — Six weeks ago, Seattle left Minnesota with a 38-7 victory over the Vikings.

Well, the Seahawks return for a rematch, and the Vikings won't be extending a warm welcome.

The temperature at kickoff is expected to be around zero degrees.

"You've got to make it work. Just use it to your advantage. Nobody likes being cold, but you've got to be comfortable being uncomfortable," Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs said.

Yes, the Seahawks have begun their quest for a third straight Super Bowl appearance with the opportunity to avenge last year's crushing loss to New England. Sure, the Vikings have secured their first home game in the playoffs in six years. This wild-card round game is most likely to be remembered, though, for the thermometer.

"This is nothing. This is what we do. This is why we're in Minnesota in the first place," Vikings defensive tackle and former Florida standout Sharrif Floyd said.

The Vikings went 11-5 over two seasons at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium, the best winning percentage ever by an NFL team in a temporary stadium. Unless they advance to the NFC Championship Game and Washington or Green Bay beats Carolina, this will be their last game on campus.

"Not to parrot the coach, but like he's always said, if you have the right coach and the right players working the right way, you're going to be effective no matter where you are," Vikings president Mark Wilf said.

The Seahawks would endorse the same mantra. They'll be without their vaunted homefield advantage in these playoffs, but they won five of their last six road games this season.

"To be honest, I think we're a better road team than a home team this year," linebacker Bruce Irvin said. "It is funny, this road thing kind of played in our favor. We've got to take care of our business. It won't be easy."

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson finished the regular season on a historic high, with 24 touchdown passes and only one interception over the final seven games. He broke a franchise record for touchdown passes (34) and yards (4,024) in a season and led the NFL in passer rating for the season at 110.1.

The scary part for the Vikings is that Wilson in the past was only getting warmed up once he started the playoffs. In eight career postseason games, Wilson is 6-2 with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions (four came in the NFC championship game against Green Bay last year) and a 97.2 passer rating.

The Seahawks ruled running back Marshawn Lynch out. And at tight end Seattle, which lost Jimmy Graham for the season with a knee injury, will miss backup Luke Willson (concussion) as well. Safety Kam Chancellor, however, will be back from a three-game absence (pelvis/tailbone), and two offensive linemen, left tackle Russell Okung (two games, calf) and right guard J.R. Sweezy (one game, concussion), will also return.

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