With their starting quarterback not taking the field on Thursday night for reasons that still aren’t entirely clear, the Minnesota Vikings still managed to emerge victorious in their second preseason game of 2016 against a team that should be one of the top contenders in the NFC.
Thanks to a late pick-six by cornerback Marcus Sherels, the Vikings defeated the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on Thursday night by a score of 18-11.
After Sherels returned the opening kickoff for the Vikings, it was backup Shaun Hill and not Teddy Bridgewater that led the Minnesota offense out onto the field. To this point, Mike Zimmer still hasn’t really clarified what caused him to sit Bridgewater for this one, other than to say that it wasn’t a disciplinary issue. Bridgewater had practiced all week, so the decision to sit Bridgewater was a bit puzzling. Perhaps Zimmer will elaborate further on it in upcoming days. . .then again, I don’t think I’d hold my breath on that.
Nobody got on the scoreboard until late in the second quarter of play, when Jerick McKinnon went over the goal line from a yard out for a Minnesota touchdown. Hill then found Matt Asiata for a two-point conversion to give the Vikings an 8-0 lead. Minnesota extended their lead at the end of the half, courtesy of a 27-yard field goal from Blair Walsh.
Yep, a 27-yarder. He made this one, because of course he did.
That gave the Vikings a lead of 11-0 going into the locker room at halftime, and the score stayed that way until the fourth quarter, when the Seahawks mounted a comeback. Running back Troymaine Pope found the end zone on a four-yard run early in the fourth quarter, and reserve quarterback Trevone Boykin ran for a two-point conversion to make the score 11-8. Seattle then tied the score with a 49-yard field goal from Steven Hauschka to tie the score, Spinal Tap-style, at 11.
Walsh missed a 47-yard field goal on the next drive that would have given Minnesota the lead, and the Seahawks took over at their own 37-yard line. Three plays later, with Seattle facing 2nd-and-11 from midfield, Sherels made the play that would seal it for Minnesota.
Boykin took a shotgun snap and dropped back to pass, looking for E.K. Nwachukwu on a short route towards the left sideline. Sherels read the quarterback’s eyes, jumped the route, and was off to the races with an interception. He went untouched for 53 yards and the go-ahead score, and Walsh’s extra point gave Minnesota the final margin of victory at 18-11.
While the Minnesota offense looked a bit ugly in the early going, the defense was anything but. The Vikings collected four sacks of Seattle starting quarterback Russell Wilson, with the takedowns being scored by defensive end Everson Griffen, nose tackle Linval Joseph, linebacker Anthony Barr, and safety Andrew Sendejo. The Minnesota defense managed to hold Wilson to just five completions on eleven attempts for 77 yards. Justin Trattou also chipped in with 1.5 sacks later on in the game, splitting one with defensive tackle Toby Johnson.
Looking at the boxscore, Hill was the Vikings’ leading passer on the evening, going 10-of-17 for 129 yards. His backup, Joel Stave, was less impressive, completing just 6-of-14 for 67 yards.
Undrafted rookie Jhurell Pressley led the Vikings in rushing on the evening, collecting 28 yards on six carries. C.J. Ham also chipped in with 25 yards on eight carries. Jerick McKinnon did not have a terribly successful night outside of his touchdown plunge, as he picked up just 15 total yards on his nine rushing attempts.
Adam Thielen continued his strong preseason, as he led the Vikings in receiving with 61 yards on four catches. Kyle Rudolph added 54 yards on just two receptions. Rookie wide receiver Laquon Treadwell did not have a catch on the evening, despite being targeted four times.
The Vikings move to 2-0 on the preseason, and will now not take the field again until 28 August, when they’ll play their first game at U.S. Bank Stadium, hosting the San Diego Chargers. The Seahawks are now 1-1, and will host the Dallas Cowboys in preseason action this coming Friday night.
Minnesota holds off Seattle in Week 2 of the preseason to win by a final score of 18-11. Thanks to everyone that came to hang out in the Open Thread for this week’s game, and we’ll have more coverage of this game and the Vikings’ next preseason contest right here at The Daily Norseman.