Vikings' Late Rally Falls Short in Thrilling 37-30 Loss to Seahawks
It was a riveting back-and-forth affair that featured more twists and turns and unexpected plays than a lot of feature films. It was a battle befitting the hype it had been given, a wildly entertaining clash between two of the better teams in the league on Monday Night Football.
But in the end, it was a Vikings loss.
The Seahawks ran for 218 yards and two touchdowns, the Vikings turned the ball over three times, and the final score read Seattle 37, Minnesota 30. The Vikings started strong, then imploded in horrific fashion, and then fought their way back into the game and had a chance to win it down the stretch. Ultimately, the one thing that matters most is that the Vikings didn't get it done.
Actually, what matters most is Dalvin Cook's health. The Vikings' star running back went down with a shoulder injury in the third quarter and didn't return. He seemed visibly shaken up after the play. The Vikings season is far from over with four games to play, but losing Cook for any further time would be a major blow. (Update: Cook told reporters that the injury was to his chest, not his shoulder, and that he'll "definitely be ready to go Sunday.")
As for this game, much like in Kansas City, the Vikings' loss can be attributed primarily to two things: a handful of missed opportunities on offense, and a defense that looks absolutely, positively nothing like the shutdown unit from most of Mike Zimmer's tenure.
Of the two, the defense is more concerning. The Vikings gave up 444 yards with nearly half of that coming via the run - 16 of the Seahawks' 24 first downs were gained on the ground. For a defense that has always been excellent at stopping the run under Zimmer, allowing Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny to rack up 216 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns is a head-scratcher. If the Vikings can't count on their pass defense – which had been the bigger issue coming into this game – and they can't count on their run defense, what can they count on?
The secondary had another shaky game. Xavier Rhodes had a brutal outing that included a costly roughness penalty and a blown coverage that led to an easy 60-yard touchdown. Harrison Smith struggled all game. If not for a forced fumble by Rhodes and a bizarre touchdown by Anthony Harris, this game may not have been close.
But somehow, it was.
The Vikings played a solid first half, taking a 17-10 lead into the break, thanks to the Harris touchdown. Then came a meltdown of epic proportions. Seattle scored 24 unanswered points in less than 11 minutes, aided by two Vikings turnovers and the blown coverage by Rhodes. This interception by Tre Flowers was a questionable decision by Cousins, and a poor effort from Stefon Diggs.
Once the Seahawks went up 34-17, the game felt over. Then, all of a sudden, the Vikings flipped the switch and went into comeback mode. Seattle blew a coverage of its own to give Laquon Treadwell an easy long touchdown, Rhodes forced the fumble, and Cousins led an impressive drive to get the Vikings back in it. Then the defense came up big again, with Ifeadi Odenigbo sacking Russell Wilson for a huge loss that led to a punt.
The Vikings had their opportunity. Cousins, specifically, had an opportunity to silence his critics and lead his team to a massive victory.
It didn't happen. Facing third and three near midfield, Cousins threw two straight incomplete passes and the game was effectively over.
The Vikings return home next week to take on the Lions. They're now just one game up on the final wild card spot in the NFC, and no longer control their own destiny in the NFC North.