Late interception propels Vikings to 18-11 win over Seattle
SEATTLE (AP) After a difficult personal stretch, Marcus Sherels again celebrated an accomplishment on the field.
Sherels intercepted Trevone Boykin's pass and returned it 53 yards for a touchdown with 1:23 left and the Minnesota Vikings beat the Seattle Seahawks 18-11 on Thursday night.
With Boykin trying to lead a late comeback for a second straight week, Sherels stepped in front of his pass intended for E.Z. Nwachukwu and went untouched for the deciding score. Seattle had pulled even at 11-11 when Troymaine Pope scored on a 4-yard touchdown run with 12:49 left and Steven Hauschka's 49-yard field goal later in the fourth quarter.
Sherels' brother, Mike is a linebackers coach at the University of Minnesota and has been away from the team due to an undisclosed health issue. Marcus Sherels did not play in the preseason opener against Cincinnati.
''He missed last week because of some personal issues, but came back. ... He does a lot of things for us and does a nice job,'' Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer said. ''It was nice to see him be rewarded.''
Boykin got Seattle to the Minnesota 5 in the closing seconds, before taking a sack and was unable to connect with Antwan Goodley in the end zone on the final play.
Adrian Peterson was a spectator for Minnesota, as expected. So too, unexpectedly, was quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, given the night off by the choice of Zimmer. Shaun Hill started and played nearly the entire first half, leading the Vikings to their only offensive touchdown on Jerick McKinnon's 1-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter.
Blair Walsh was perfect on a 27-yard field goal, after missing from the same distance in the NFC wild-card game and costing the Vikings a playoff victory. But Walsh missed wide left from 47 yards with 2:09 left that would have given the Vikings the lead.
Seattle's overhauled offensive line struggled after a decent debut last Saturday against Kansas City. Russell Wilson played the entire first half and was sacked four times, getting pulled down awkwardly on the last sack. Wilson was 5 of 11 for 77 yards.
Carroll put the majority of the blame on Seattle's quarterbacks for holding the ball too long.
''We have to get rid of the football so we don't take the negative plays,'' Carroll said. ''Russell has to help us there when we don't get the routes cleared out like we want to and keep the rhythm the way that we want to.''
The bright spot for Seattle' starting offense was again running back Christine Michael. Projected as the No. 2 running back when the season begins, Michael finished with 55 yards on 10 carries.
''The running game is going well ... but we've got to pick up blocks better. We have to catch the ball when we get the opportunity. We all have to be complete backs,'' Michael said.
PRESEASON FOR EVERYONE
It's preseason for everyone, including the officials. Referee Ed Hochuli had a slip in the third quarter when the Vikings called timeout, but he announced, ''Time out Baltimore,'' before correcting himself.
Vikings: QB Joel Stave played the entire second half and was 6 of 14 for 67 yards.
Seahawks: DT Jarran Reed was disruptive against both the Vikings' starting offense and their reserves. Reed had three tackles, but gave Seattle a scare in the third quarter when he stayed down on the field for a few moments getting looked at by trainers. He walked off under his own power. Carroll said Reed aggravated a previous ankle injury but it wasn't serious.
Vikings: RT Andre Smith played nearly the entire first half with the starting offense in his bid to hold off T.J. Clemmings for the starting job. Smith stayed mostly out of the spotlight with the exception of a holding call that was declined.
Seahawks: Mike Morgan started at strongside linebacker. Morgan has appeared to hold the edge in the competition as the most experienced option in Seattle's system.
Vikings: CB Xavier Rhodes left the game in the first quarter with a hamstring injury.
Seahawks: RB Thomas Rawls did not play, but he did go through a full pregame warmup, the strongest sign that Rawls may be ready for the regular season. Rawls will get a full week of practice next week, Carroll said.
''You work hard throughout the week, at practice, preparing for games,'' Bridgewater said. ''So I wish I could have been out there. But, like I said, it was Coach Zimmer's decision and we'll leave it at that.''
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