On Friday night against the Seattle Seahawks, the Minnesota Vikings showed some improvement in some areas, and took a couple of steps back in a few others. Overall, about all you could say about this one is that it was a preseason football game.
The Vikings suffered just their second preseason loss of the Mike Zimmer era, falling to the Seahawks at Centurylink Field by a final score of 20-13.
Seattle got the football first in this one, as Russell Wilson led the Seahawks’ offense out onto the field. The Seahawks picked up a couple of first downs and pushed into Minnesota territory. An incredible catch by Kasen Williams over Xavier Rhodes pushed the Seahawks into the red zone, and a pass to Doug Baldwin gave the Seahawks a first-and-goal. On third-and-goal, Wilson found Williams again for a 2-yard touchdown pass to put the Seahawks on the board first with a 7-0 lead.
Jerick McKinnon got the first crack at a kick return for the Vikings, but could only get the Vikings out to the 12-yard line for their first drive. Sam Bradford hit Michael Floyd for 12 yards on the first play from scrimmage, and two more plays netted another first down. After a third first down for the Vikings, Bradford hit Stefon Diggs for a 39-yard connection to put the Vikings into the Seattle red zone. So, naturally, there was a penalty on the Vikings for a false start, and they tacked on another penalty for delay of game on third down. That was enough to kill the drive, and Marshall Koehn was called on for a 29-yard field goal attempt. He put it through, and the Vikings cut the lead to 7-3.
Seattle started their next drive with a big connection from Wilson to Baldwin to put themselves into Minnesota territory. But the drive was quickly thwarted by a Danielle Hunter sack on the next third down. After the Seahawks punt, Dalvin Cook started to get warm, picking up 15 yards to start the drive and nine more on the second play. However, the drive stalled after they got past midfield, and the Vikings punted it away to end their second drive.
The Vikings went to mostly second-teamers on defense after that. The Seahawks kept their starting offense on the field, and it may have cost them big, as it appears they lost starting left tackle George Fant to a pretty serious knee injury. The drive ended with a 53-yard field goal attempt by Blair Walsh that was no good after hitting the crossbar. The Vikings kept most of their starting offense in the game on their next drive, and the Seahawks responded with their #1 defense. After one quick first down, the Vikings were forced to punt it away.
Seattle got another touchdown before halftime on a 22-yard pass from Wilson to Mike Davis to give the home team a 14-3 lead before the two-minute warning. Kai Forbath converted his first field goal attempt just before halftime to make it 14-6 going into the locker room.
Overall, there were plenty of positives to take from the first half for the Vikings. The offensive line looked very good, particularly the combination that started on the interior (Nick Easton at left guard, Pat Elflein at center, Joe Berger at right guard). The pass blocking was very good as well. We’ll get more into that over the next couple of days.
The Seahawks scored early in the third quarter, as Rodney Adams fumbled the opening kickoff and the Seahawks recovered inside the Vikings’ 20. But, all they got was a 52-yarder from Walsh to make it 17-6. Walsh connected for another 52-yard field goal later in the third quarter to make the score 20-6. Taylor Heinicke entered the game early in the fourth quarter and threw his second interception of the preseason on a deflected pass. He got it together later in the game, as he found rookie tight end Bucky Hodges on back-to-back big gains. The first was a 33-yarder down to the Seattle 21, and on the very next play Heinicke and Hodges connected on a 21-yard touchdown strike to cut the lead to 20-13.
Looking at the stat sheet, Sam Bradford finished his night completing 7-of-11 passes for 95 yards. Case Keenum came in as the second quarterback, and finished his night completing 12-of-18 attempts for 70 yards. Heinicke seemed to recover nicely after throwing the interception, finishing his night having completed 6-of-9 passes for 84 yards, one touchdown, and an interception.
As far as rushing, Cook finished the night with 40 yards on seven carries, and Bradford had a four-yard scramble of his own. Heinicke wound up being the team’s second-leading rusher on the night, scrambling three times for 25 yards. C.J. Ham had eight carries on three yards, and Terrell Newby gained no yards on his two carries. Jerick McKinnon had one carry on the evening that resulted in a six-yard loss.
In the receiving column, Stefon Diggs had four catches for 65 yards, including a big 39-yarder from Bradford on the Vikings’ opening drive. Hodges wound up being the Vikings’ second-leading receiver on the night with his two catches for 54 yards and a touchdown. Rodney Adams had four catches for 26 yards, and fellow rookie Stacy Coley had two grabs for 17 yards. Jarius Wright had 16 yards on three catches, while Michael Floyd had 16 yards on two catches. A host of other players had at least one reception on the evening as well.
The Vikings fall to 1-1 on the preseason, just their second preseason loss under Mike Zimmer, and will play their first home preseason game a week from Sunday. They will host the San Francisco 49ers in the “all-important” third preseason game. The Seahawks move to 2-0 on the preseason, and will host the Kansas City Chiefs next Friday.
Minnesota loses their preseason contest against the Seattle Seahawks by a final score of 20-13. Thank you for following all of this week’s action right here at The Daily Norseman, and we’ll have more on this game over the next few days.