The Vikings are the No. 3 seed in the NFC thanks to a victory at Green Bay Sunday that ended the Packers' four-year grip on the NFC North. But a game against the Seahawks is hardly a reward for their first division title since 2009.
Of course, the Vikings are more than happy to be at home, getting another chance to be an outdoor team before they move under a new roof next summer. The early forecasts are calling for a cold afternoon, with a temperature barely in the double-digits, conditions that ought to benefit a Vikings team built around NFL rushing leader Adrian Peterson and a stout defense that racked up 14 sacks over a season-finishing three-game winning streak.
The Seahawks are the two-time defending NFC champions who were one play away last February from back-to-back Super Bowl titles. They finished strong, with six wins in their last seven games despite the loss of running back Marshawn Lynch and then his rookie lookalike Thomas Rawls. Russell Wilson took his performance to a new level, becoming the first player in NFL history to finish a season with at least 4,000 yards passing, 30 touchdown passes and 500 yards rushing. Along the way, he engineered a 38-7 victory over the Vikings in Minnesota on Dec. 6.
The Seahawks haven't lost their swagger, with a defense that gave up the fewest points per game in the league and ranked second in yardage. The Legion of Boom would like nothing more than to show the NFL they can reach another Super Bowl without that vaunted home-field advantage.