Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:55 AM

MNF - Vikings at Seahawks

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Minnesota at Seattle (-3, 50), 8:15 pm ET, ESPN

The Rams could’ve folded up shop after last Monday night’s trouncing at the hands of the Ravens. No matter what they say publicly, you know the Vikings were hoping to see Arizona throw a final uppercut on a Sunday and knock the defending NFC champs clean out of the playoff race.

Instead, Jared Goff played one of his best games of the season, Todd Gurley put together another big day and a defense that was embarrassed on national television took its collective frustration out on rookie Kyler Murray and the Cardinals in a 34-7 rout. Minnesota (8-3 SU, 6-5 ATS) may indeed have to deal with some pressure as it attempts to lock down its third postseason appearance in six years under Mike Zimmer. After last season’s 8-7-1 disappointment, returning to the playoffs has been the first in a series of goals for this veteran group, which is looking to hang with a Packers team that also dominated on Sunday and holds a head-to-head tiebreaker courtesy of their Week 2 win at Lambeau.

Following a 2-2 start that featured disappointing losses to both primary division rivals, the Vikings have won six of seven to match last season’s win total and come off a bye perfectly placed to have them prepared for the stretch run. Guys who were banged up should return with the exception of standout receiver Adam Thielen. With three divisional home games remaining, the team is certainly in control of their own destiny as far as a return to the playoffs is concerned.

Starting tonight, we’re about to see just how good they are. Traveling to Seattle (9-2 SU, 6-5 ATS) for a primetime date at one of the league’s toughest venues to get out of with a win offers up a great proving ground. It’s not the Vikings’ fault that the Falcons have been unexpectedly terrible or that the Eagles and Cowboys have really taken a tumble, but the fact is that they no longer own a single victory over a team currently above .500, which leads to questions about just how good they are.

Dalvin Cook has looked re-energized and ranked third in the NFL in rushing behind Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey and Cleveland’s Nick Chubb entering the week, amassing 1,017 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns, so he’ll be counted on to be the driving force against a Seattle run defense that hasn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher since QB Lamar Jackson gashed them in Week 7. Chubb is the lone running back that has topped the century mark against the Seahawks, so if he’s able to get on track, Minnesota could make headway.

The expectation is that Zimmer would love for offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski to keep Kirk Cousins in manageable situations on the road, so heavy use of Cook, who has scored in nine of 11 games, and backups Alexander Mattison and Mike Boone, appears likely. The narrative that Cousins is useless in prime time has taken a hit this season since Minnesota is 2-0 under the lights.

Neither of those games have come on Monday night, where Cousins has earned his reputation for coming up short, coming in 0-7 straight up and ATS.

You’ll find plenty of people who will fade Cousins just on that, but considering the point spread here, there are plenty looking at this as a trap line since his Seahawks’ counterpart just happens to be an MVP candidate who is 25-5 in primetime games over his career.

Russell Wilson came in a 7-to-2, well behind Lamar Jackson (1/3) as far as MVP odds at the Westgate Superbook are concerned, so he’d love to serve up a reminder not to write his team off just yet. Seattle will host the 49ers on Dec. 29 to end the season and could still be in position to claim homefield advantage for the entire postseason, which is the position Jackson’s Ravens currently find themselves in. Winning here and looking good will be imperative, but Wilson’s pursuit of an MVP isn’t done yet.

The Seahawks are coming off a 17-9 road win over Philadelphia and have won 18 of 20 primetime games under head coach Pete Carroll. Although both of their losses on the season have come at Century Link Field and they’ve covered only one of five games there this season – in OT – everyone knows how difficult the 12th Man can make life on opposing quarterbacks, which makes this the perfect backdrop for Cousins to shut people up once and for all. Then again, he could sputter and continue to feed the monster, dragging the Vikings down with him since they would still be without a true signature win on the season.

A compelling duel awaits and Mother Nature is going to allow this one to go off without her usual obstacles in the Pacific Northwest. A clear night with no precipitation awaits as showery weather won’t arrive until Tuesday evening, per Accuweather. Legitimately a potential playoff preview, it’s time to see whether Wilson can continue to shine or see Cousins come into his house and leave with a much-needed win. We all like that.


The total for the Week 13 finale opened at 49 and the number has been pushed up to 50 as of Monday morning at most sportsbooks.

The Seahawks and Vikings have both watched the ‘over’ go 6-5 this season but Minnesota has been a great wager to the high side recently, watching the ‘over’ go 5-1 in its last six games. That includes a run of three straight entering this matchup.

Seattle is coming off its best defensive effort on the season in Week 12 as it held to the Eagles to nine points on the road, which helped the ‘under’ (46) connect easily.

VI’s resident totals expert Chris David provides his total thoughts each week on the Friday edition of the ”Bet and Collect” podcast and he focused on this matchup as one of his Best Bets (41:55).

Even though the number has gone up and Minnesota is rolling, he’s not buying the move or the Vikings.

“It’s crazy to realize that Seattle has allowed 29 PPG at home compared to 19.5 PPG on the road,” David said. “That effort has directly attributed to their record as hosts (3-2) and visitors (6-0) this season. Minnesota has had a nice season but its offense has watched its production go from 29 PPG at home to 23 PPG on the road. Fortunately for the Vikings, they’ve got a great defense and the unit is ranked sixth in scoring (18.6 PPG). When you look at those numbers, I believe the total is inflated and we’re going to get a grinder of a game here. Minnesota has watched the ‘under’ go 3-2 off the bye with Mike Zimmer as head coach and it could be 4-1 if it wasn’t for a bad beat last season.

“Another factor having me lean low is based on QB Kirk Cousins for the Vikings. In 20 primetime games, he’s 7-13 in his career and while the 28-24 win at the Dallas Cowboys on SNF in Week 10 was impressive (or was it), I can’t look past the fact that he’s never won on Monday Night Football,” added David. “He’s 0-7 all-time and that includes a 21-7 loss at CenturyLink Field last season in Week 14. With the Seahawks due for a great performance at home, I’ll go déjà vu and play the game ‘under’ (50) and the Vikings Team Total ‘under’ (23) too.”


Minnesota Vikings
Projected season win total: 9 (Over -125, Under +105)
Odds to win NFC North (pre-Week 1/current): 2/1 to 13/10
Odds to win NFC (pre-Week 1/current): 9/1 to 6/1
Odds to win Super Bowl (pre-Week 1/current): 20/1 to 12/1
Seattle Seahawks
Projected season win total: 9 (Over +100, Under -120)
Odds to win NFC West (pre-Week 1/current): 5/2 to 8/5
Odds to win NFC (pre-Week 1/current): 9/1 to 6/1
Odds to win Super Bowl (pre-Week 1/current): 20/1 to 12/1


Thielen was expected to be back in the fold for this contest but didn’t board the flight to Seattle and will have to wait until Sunday to try and return from a hamstring injury. The Vikes have been able to survive the past few weeks without him since this will be his fourth absence in five outings but they could have used his services against this aggressive Seahawks’ secondary. Minnesota’s biggest concerns are on defense, where star safeties Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris joined DT Linval Joseph in wearing ‘questionable’ tags. They were limited in practices but should go, while LB Ben Gedeon tried to battle back from a concussion but isn’t expected to be cleared.

The Seahawks are hoping to have DE Jadeveon Clowney back after he missed a game due to a core injury and should have DTs Jarran Reed and Al Woods back from ankle injuries, which could spell trouble for Cousins. LB Mychal Kendricks and tight end Luke Willson are expected to be game-time decisions as they look to return from hamstring injuries. Backup safety Neiko Thorpe and fullback Nick Bellore, both key special-teamers, are listed as doubtful.

(Seahawks 5-2 SU, 5-2 ATS last seven, OVER 4-3)

12/10/18 Seahawks 21-7 vs. Vikings (SEA -3, 45.5)
12/6/15 Seahawks 38-7 at Vikings (SEA -1.5, 42)
11/17/13 Seahawks 41-20 vs. Vikings (SEA -13, 45)
11/4/12 Seahawks 30-20 vs. Vikings (SEA -4, 38.5)
11/22/09 Vikings 35-9 vs. Seahawks (MIN -11, 47)
10/22/06 Vikings 31-13 at Seahawks (MIN +7, 40.5)
12/12/04 Seahawks 27-23 at Vikings (SEA +6.5, 54)


The Westgate opens its advance lines for the following week on Tuesdays and Week 14 currently has the Seahawks as a 3-point road underdog in L.A. as they try to close out the Rams’ dim playoff hopes. The Vikings would welcome some help from Seattle as they look to close in on wrapping up the No. 6 seed and will be favored at home against the Lions. No line was placed on that game yet due to question marks over the availability of QBs Matthew Stafford and Jeff Driskel. Rookie David Blough started for Detroit on Thanksgiving.

Follow Tony Mejia on Twitter at @TonyMejiaNBA

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