Vikings still dealing with defeat despite strides by young D
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Russell Wilson's fourth and tenth passes floated in the air as Minnesota rookie cornerback Cameron Dantzler made the 39-yard pass for D.K. Metcalf and allowed Seattle's winning ride to stay alive.
When Wilson added another layer to his late game aura as he took the Seahawks to a 27:26 win, the Vikings paid their most devastating price yet for growing young in defense. After a stellar performance that included four sacks in the first half, a crucial interception in the fourth quarter, and just 220 yards in the first 58 minutes, the Vikings (1-4) withered in the two most important games. Metcalf's second, fourth relegation came in the end zone with a 15 second lead.
Dantzler and his rookie cornerback colleague Jeff Gladney made every quick, valuable experience that offered little comfort after the wet episodes in Seattle.
"They are disappointed. They fought their back ends tonight and we didn't get what we needed to get there. We'll just keep fighting and getting better," said coach Mike Zimmer, who is four at times Newcomers to the field who currently only had three starters in the same positions in the line-up that they had finished last season.
The Vikings kept the Seahawks goalless in the first half, only for the sixth time in nine seasons that has happened to Wilson at the quarterback. In the end, they still winced at some loose cover.
Despite the success they had on the offensive - even after Dalvin Cook left with a groin injury in the first moment of the second half - the Vikings shook their heads. Kirk Cousins had a fumble and an interception that set off a 21-0 rise for the Seahawks in just 1:53. A failed 2-point switch attempt later in the third quarter when a tie was foiled by cousins loomed. Alexander Mattison's no-gain run down the Seattle 6-yard line at 4 inches after the two-minute warning gave the ball back to the Seahawks.
If the Vikings had kicked that earlier extra point and then settled for the simple field goal, they would have led with nine.
“To be honest, the message in the locker room is that we can be a damn good football team. We saw it tonight. We have seen it in the last few weeks, ”said broad recipient Adam Thielen. "We just have to finish. Another piece."
Can Minnesota keep a thriving floor game if Cook misses the time? But Mattison's performance allayed some concerns. He finished the race 20 runs for 112 yards, which nearly doubled his career, and got three passes for 24 yards.
The Vikings lead the NFC with 160.6 rushing yards per game, with offensive line coach / running game coordinator Rick Dennison doing significant work on the scheme and technology behind the scenes.
WHAT NEEDS HELP?
Pass protection is a whole different story for the offensive line, and right guard Dru Samia's vulnerability was evident in his fourth game for Pat Elflein. Samia was consistently overwhelmed by DT Jarran Reed and punished three times for holding and twice for passing.
Eric Wilson has been one of the team's most valued role players since establishing himself as an unoccupied rookie in 2017. Since an unrestricted free agency is waiting for him next spring, he is even more than an outstanding outstanding team and injury fill-in / situation contribution at Linebacker.
The torn pectoral muscle for Anthony Barr at the end of the season gave Wilson his most important task yet. He produced the best game of his career in Seattle: two of his six tackles to loss, a sack, three quarterback hits, a defended pass and an interception that nearly sealed a win. Wilson has two of Minnesota's three interceptions and is second on the team with two sacks.
"I feel like I'm getting better with every game. Especially with a big game like this, Sunday night football against a good team, it's great to play big," said Wilson. "But it's even better to win, so we have to put it all together. "
Tight end Kyle Rudolph continued to play an important blocking role, but the tenth year veteran was only geared for 10 passes in five games for seven receptions and 76 yards. Cousins made a concerted effort to get Irv Smith Jr. more involved, bonding with the sophomore four times for 64 yards.
Mattison and Mike Boone are temporarily giving the Vikings viable fill-ins for Cook, who has missed 21 of 57 games, including the playoffs due to career injuries.
Holton Hill (foot) and Kris Boyd (thigh) were inactive; 23-year-old Mike Hughes was the only healthy cornerback who isn't a rookie. The Vikings have played well enough in defense lately to minimize Barr's absence and end Danielle Hunter. The loss of Elflein, their other starter who remains in the injured reserve, has become a bigger problem. He has a thumb injury that is not meant to be long term.
9 - Sales of the Vikings tied for the third highest in the NFL. Their only game without a giveaway was the win in Houston. Cousins have eight sales after just 11 in 15 competitions last season.
Getting Cook's groin back to full strength will be the top priority in sustaining an offense that averaged 441 yards and 29 points over the last three games. After comfortably waiting after visiting winless Atlanta, the Vikings were able to give Cook three weeks to rest before the game at Green Bay on November 1st.
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