Counting exhibition and postseason play, Seattle hasn’t matched up with any team as often as its I-90 companion
The Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings share more in common than Steve Hutchinson and Percy Harvin: Blair Walsh, Darrell Bevell, Mike Tice, Pete Carroll, shoot all the way to Jack Patera and Warren Moon. Both cities host celebrated underground music scenes and lately both squads have been blessed with striking defenses and cursed by terrible offensive lines.
Friday’s preseason partner is Minnesota, and if it seems like Vikings are getting a little familiar that may be because in the last 31 games counting playoffs and preseason this will be the fourth time they’ve played Seattle That’s more times than any other club including divisional opponents: The Seahawks faced the Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams three times since they visited Minnesota December 6, 2015, and the San Francisco 49ers only twice.
For recent frequency, it’s not quite as often as Seattle played the Carolina Panthers between October 2014 and January 2016, which was four times in just 30 contests—and all of those matchups counted for something, including two playoff affairs. It was the height of an intraconference series with the Panthers that Field Gulls readers surely also remember featured five tilts in a 47-game stretch and seven out of 88 overall from 2012-2016. These are arbitrary endpoints found to fit the maximum number of results in the smallest range, and to be strict Carolina’s is an even even more frequent streak when you don’t count preseason—but you have to to compare it to the Vikings.
The Seahawks aren’t scheduled to play Minnesota again this year, so for now like some dwindling text exchange it’s just the preseason (and Walsh) keeping this thing going. But with another playoff bout and some division titles in 2017 (they do have those defenses) maybe this stretch become another string that continues. Instead of a phase you remember with just a vague recollection of purple.
Anyway, let’s revisit the meetings from the span of this recent draugr of a rivalry (that’s the Viking word for “zombie” or “phantom”—I just looked it up) since it seems more fitting for a preseason game than any regaling of classic Seattle-Minnesota lore.
Seahawks 38 Vikings 7 — Minneapolis
This game was created the one week in 2015—between the previous season-saving win over the Pittsburgh Steelers that put the record to 6-5 and Thomas Rawls destroying his ankle the following Sunday in Baltimore—when Seattle really probably had the best chance to avenge Super Bowl XLIX with another NFL championship after starting 2-4. Rawls was sharp and efficient with runs of 7, 7, 9, 12, 19 and 20 yards and Russell Wilson joined him with 51 yards rushing on nine carries. Wilson also threw for 75 percent and three touchdowns before Tarvaris Jackson finished the game. A sweltering defense shut out the NFC North champions, as the only Minnesota score came from a Cordarelle Patterson kickoff return in the third quarter. The only way the Seahawks would have allowed fewer points would have been to stop scoring themselves. Given the point of the season, coming off a stirring late win, sparking an offensive jet engine for weeks, it was an awful lot like the Arizona game and (because it was on the road) Buffalo Bills game from 2012 rolled in one—only against a quality opponent.
Seahawks 10 Vikings 9 — Minneapolis
With Rawls in the infirmary and Marshawn Lynch bailing at the last moment, this one went exactly the same except the, ahem, polar opposite for the Seahawks on offense. Kam Chancellor punished Adrian Peterson for whipping his kid, Doug Baldwin told Wilson about the great stories, the ones that really mattered. And out of the cold and the hold of Jeff Locke, it launched the Seattle career of one Ballard Bellingham “Blair” Walsh. You remember.
Vikings 18 Seahawks 11 — Seattle
Exactly one year to the date from tonight, this preseason affair gave us early glimpses into two Hall of Fame careers: Antwan Goodley and Troymaine Pope. Goodley surprised viewers by inserting himself into Kenny Lawler-Kasen Williams-Kevin Smith debate (none of them made the team) with six catches in coordination with Trevone Boykin leading Seattle back from an 11-0 hole to transform the game into a raucous tie late, and nearly a second comeback in the final minute. Pope broke off dazzling runs including a 27-yarder and the Seahawks’ only touchdown—plus returned kicks!—but then Boykin threw a touchdown the wrong way to Marcus Sherels (who actually made the Vikings). Also, Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer showed little care for his precious moments with Teddy Bridgewater by murkily deciding to start Shaun Hill on the road.
All of which is to say, much as we may grind our teeth or toast kombucha about over the next week, how little importance most of this game has for the Seahawks in 2017.