RENTON – When Marshawn Lynch watches Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson from the sideline, he’ll see a mirror image of the physical way he attacks a defense.
“Probably just as far as we’re relentless,” said Lynch, when asked about the similarities between the two running backs. “So I guess you can say so in that aspect.”
Seattle receiver Sidney Rice provides a good perspective on the similar running styles of Lynch and Peterson.
He’s had an up-close look at both runners from spending his first four seasons in the NFL with Minnesota before signing with the Seahawks prior to the 2011 season.
“They have totally different running styles, but they’re the same,” Rice said. “In the sense of them being the same, both of them want contact. You’re never going to see either of them run out of bounds, and I don’t think you’re ever going to see anyone run as hard as them.
“Adrian is a real shifty guy, real quick. Marshawn has a wide base and he still manages to make people miss.”
Peterson and Lynch are the No. 1 and No. 2 rushers in the league heading into today 1 p.m. ’s matchup at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field.
Peterson, who’s bounced back impressively from anterior cruciate ligament surgery in December, leads the league with 775 yards on 151 carries for an average of 5.1 yars per carry. Peterson has four rushing touchdowns this season.
“I don’t think we doubted him,” Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen said about Peterson’s quick recovery. “We see what his work ethic is, and we know what his mentality is.
“But to see a guy who has recovered to be back at elite ability, and that what he is (is) an elite back, and though it’s the halfway point he’s at the top of the league right now, it’s phenomenal. He just continues to defy everyone else’s norm.”
Lynch is second in the league with 757 yards on 159 carries for a robust 4.8-yard per-carry average. Lynch has three rushing touchdowns this season, including a career-long, 77-yard rumble last week against Detroit. Lynch has rushed for more than 100 yards in four games this season.
“These are two great players in our league and it’ll be fun to watch them,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “I hope we see a lot more of Marshawn than we see of Adrian, but it’s going to be really hard to hold him down.”
Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has the task of figuring out a way to stop Peterson. What makes the University of Oklahoma product so tough to contain is not only that he can get outside and run by you, he’s also physical enough to run through tackles.
“They’re more of a downhill running team,” Bradley said. “If they get a little bit of space, he’ll quickly get out to the hashes, numbers and then up the sideline.
“You see him break a lot of plays, and it takes a lot of guys to get him down at times. You see him break the first tackle with two or three guys, so it’s going to take all 11 to get him.”
Allen echoed those comments in discussing how to stop Lynch. The Vikings have struggled stopping the run the past three games – giving up an average of 156 yards a contest.
“They are both physical downhill running backs who have the ability to explode through for an explosive run at any time,” Allen said. “For both of them, to stop them, you have to stop them before they start.
“We have to hit them in the backfield, and they’re both so good after contact, and that’s going to be a challenge for us which is getting him on the ground and swarming to the ball and try to get the run game out.”
MINNESOTA (5-3) AT SEATTLE (4-4)
1:05 p.m., CenturyLink Field
TV: Ch. 13. Radio: 710-AM, 97.3-FM.
The series: Seattle holds a 6-5 edge. But the Seahawks have lost the past two contests, including the last meeting – a 35-9 loss to the Vikings on Nov. 22, 2009, in Minneapolis. The Seahawks are 4-2 against the Vikings in Seattle.
What to watch: The Seahawks announced Saturday that guard James Carpenter has been ruled out of today’s game because of a concussion. There was no indication when Carpenter suffered the injury. Carpenter started five games at left guard this season, coming off anterior cruciate ligament knee surgery that cut short his 2011 season. Paul McQuistan started the first three games at left guard before sliding over to right guard to make room for Carpenter when he returned to the starting lineup. The Seahawks could move McQuistan back to left guard and replace him at right guard with second-year pro John Moffitt. Or the Seahawks could decide to let McQuistan stay put, and either start Moffitt or rookie J.R. Sweezy at left guard, which would be less of a shake-up to the starting five. Whatever decision offensive line coach Tom Cable makes, Seattle likely will be starting its fifth different offensive line combination today.
The pick: Seahawks, 24-17.
Seattle’s go-to receiver is looking forward to playing against his former team. Expect the Seahawks to get him involved early.
The WSU product will have one of the toughest matchups on the field when Seattle goes with five defensive backs and tries to keep up with receiver Percy Harvin in the slot.
The Seahawks’ cornerstone tackle will have to stop veteran Minnesota pass rusher Jared Allen.
Mebane plugging the running lanes up the middle of the defense will be critical in keeping Adrian Peterson from a big day.
Harvin has 60 catches for 667 yards with three touchdowns. He is the seventh-most-targeted receiver in the league (79).
21 Josh RobinsonCB5-10199First
He’s playing for injured starter Chris Cook. Seattle should be expected to target the rookie out of Central Florida early, often.
69 Jared AllenDE6-6270Ninth
The 30-year-old Idaho State product can still create pressure; it should be a pretty good matchup between Allen and Okung.
Minnesota’s first-round pick in this year’s draft has lived up to the hype so far, giving the Vikings a cornerstone tackle to protect Christian Ponder’s blind email@example.com Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 eric.williams@ thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks @eric_d_williams