In my story today, an afterthought to make the roster in 2011, Doug Baldwin led the Seahawks in receiving as a rookie undrafted free agent with 51 catches for 798 yards and four touchdowns.
Baldwin finished with 25 receptions on third down last year, which was tied for No. 7 in the league.
But the Stanford product has struggled to stay healthy this season. He’s tied for fourth on the team in receptions with 11catches for 149 yards and a touchdown.
Baldwin missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury, which affected his ability to develop timing and a rapport with rookie quarterback Russell Wilson.
Baldwin busted his front two teeth out in the final drive of a losing effort in the first game of the season at Arizona. And he sat out Seattle’s win over Dallas with a shoulder issue.
But after missing last week’s game against Detroit with a high-ankle sprain, Baldwin vowed to return early and has been ruled healthy enough to play this weekend at home against Minnesota.
“This is the second-most-frustrating season of my career in playing football,” said Baldwin, calling his junior season at Stanford during Jim Harbaugh’s tenure the most frustrating because of inconsistent playing time. “They went to Detroit, and I was stuck at home watching it on TV, and that killed me. I have to play football.”
Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com writes that on Sunday you’ll see two of the best pass rushers in the league in Seattle’s Chris Clemons and Minnesota’s Jared Allen.
Danny O’Neil of The Seattle Times provides some keys to victory for the Seahawks.
Jim Moore of 710 ESPN Seattle predicts a Seahawks victory over Minnesota in a rout, 27-10. Moore: “One of these days, I’m going to be wrong with my prediction on a Seahawks game. One of these days, it’s going to be just like the horse races I used to handicap at Longacres – whoever I pick to win will finish way up the track. But this is not one of these days. This is a day in which I extend my streak of picking against the spread on Seahawks games to 8-1. The only miss was the Green Bay game in which Golden Tate snatched a victory away from the Packers, leading to the real officials returning.”
Dave Wyman of 710 ESPN Seattle writes that he doesn’t expect Seattle’s issues on third down to continue. Wyman: “I entirely reject the notion that third down is a problem and write it off as pure happenstance. Besides, the Seahawks have enough to fear with a 4-4 record and the 49ers and Bears on the schedule to be worrying about a problem that doesn’t have one logical explanation.”
ESPN’s Mike Sando likes the Seahawks over the Vikings, 21-13. Sando: “Seattle hasn’t lost at home this season. The Vikings, though 2-2 in their last four road games, have a 3-8 road record since 2011.”
Pete Prisco of CBS Sports points to CB Richard Sherman vs. WR Percy Harvin and OT Russell Okung vs. DE Jared Allen as two of his matchups to watch this weekend.
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com has an interesting list of college prospect to watch this week. He also points to one name rising up the draft boards in the scouting community, BYU pass rusher Ezekiel Ansah. He compares the 6-foot-6, 270-pound Ansah to Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul in terms of skill set.
Everyone at NFL Playbook picks Seattle to win except for Sterling Sharpe. Check out the video link.
Seahawks fan in San Diego Rob English chimes in on the Seahawks-Vikings matchup in this video link. One word – blitz.