12th Men: Ask a Vikings Fan

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Hey there, Seahawks fans and nefarious entities alien to the fanbase. I'm sure Chris, the Fearless Leader at the Daily Norseman, will get a good post up at the Daily Norseman and here answering five big questions that Danny will have for him about the Vikings, but until then you can ask me about the team all you like!

I promise I won't be as morose as I usually am when referring to my beloved Purple and Gold although I may not take "minor league/farm system" references all too well.

As a blogger for the Daily Norseman and an avid fan of the NFL, I hope I can answer almost any question you have about the team and add speculation of my own.

Bovada finds the Seahawks to be a two-touchdown favorite at the point of this posting, and while many might find that low (my own efficiency metrics, for example, find this to be embarrassingly low) I have watched as many Seahawks games as you have (although perhaps with not the same passion) and know about your issues closing the door against weaker teams.

I'm not saying I would bet on the Vikings to cover, but at the same time, not much can be taken for granted despite being 9-1.

At the same time, y'all have had the 6th-best point-differential when averaged out through every second of play, adjusted for strength-of-schedule. So some of you need to calm down about "playing down to your opponent's level".

Naturally, this game will involve two teams similar not just in personnel (ahem) but approach. While the Vikings do not emphasize the "explosive play" as much as Carroll does (preferring to run all of their playcalling through a philosophy of field position), they do attempt to emphasize the run as a means of controlling the ball, winning the turnover battle, leveraging differential advantage and reducing possessions.

They, like the Seahawks, have a multiple run game that implements elements from different base schemes and intelligent offensive linemen in order to attack specific or particular weaknesses and confuse opponents. It has not been as successful as you might hope, but at least the raw yards per carry is up (4.7 yards per carry, 5th in the league—even after adjusting for opponents).

The passing attack has been a smorgasbord of quarterbacks and ranking 23rd in net yards per passing attempt doesn't do them justice. Ranking 29th in defense-adjusted passing by Football Outsiders makes a lot more sense. Ranking by specific quarterback may help, where Ponder ranks 26th, Cassel 18th (?) and Freeman 38th.

On defense, the Vikings have a slew of injuries (more than a typical team, that is), although using that as an explanation misses the larger point of missing talent. Here, I broke down the Vikings defensive failures. I identified several problems, but they boil down to missing both talent and coaching. Since then, more injuries have moved the best players in the secondary off the roster.

The Vikings rank 25th in defensive DVOA, and 31st in in defensive success rate (a measure of how many first downs a defense gives up per first down opportunity), a critique of situational football if nothing else.

I like to think that I know quite a bit about the Vikings scheme, both offensively and defensively, so fire away!

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