The 3 things the Seahawks need to do to beat the Vikings

SEATTLE - The win last week against Pittsburgh really vaulted Seattle back into playoff position for the first time this season. A team that started 0-2 above the year is now above .500.

So what do the Seahawks need to get a win in their latest critical matchup? Here are three keys to the game:

Simple: Stop A.P.

For the Seahawks to win this football game, it’s as Pete Carroll said – they have to stop running back Adrian Peterson.

“Adrian is a fantastic football player,” Carroll said last week. “He’s always been an explosive, dynamic, physical come-through guy, big-play guy – everything. They know it and they feature him exactly like you they should. They come at you, and you better get the line of scrimmage right.

“The whole for us defensively starts there.”

He’s not kidding. There’s no player in the NFL right now who’s quite like Peterson. He’s got the power, he’s got the speed, and he’s big – 6-foot or taller.

Strength vs. strength

We’re going to see Seattle and Minnesota matching up at what they do best: It’s Minnesota’s No. 1 ranked rushing offense vs. Seattle’s No. 5 ranked rush defense.

That rush defense is on a heck of a roll right now – it hasn’t allowed a running back to rush for more than 100 yards in 17 games. (In case you were wondering, that was Jamal Charles’ 178 yard game on Nov. 16, 2014.)

Seattle’s red-zone offense

It sure seemed like the Hawks’ red-zone offense woke up last week, but it actually happened three weeks ago. Seattle’s scored eight touchdowns in 10 trips to the red zone its last three games – and it’s scored 13 offensive touchdowns overall in that same span.

To put that in perspective, the Seahawks scored 12 offensive touchdowns in the EIGHT games before that stretch.

Lots of things factor in to the improvement, but a big chunk of the credit goes to offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and the improved play of quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson’s work through the air last week won the game for the Hawks.