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The playoff landscape was altered, and not in a way that favored the VIkings

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Going on the road for work is hard. I did it a lot while I was in the military, and as I write this, I find myself on the road for my ‘real’ job, down in Orlando at a conference for work. Look, this is WAY better than when I deployed, don’t get me wrong, but traveling in general just sucks and stay off my lawn.

Going on the road gets old after awhile. Flying commercially is a royal pain in the ass anymore, and it’s something I damn near dread. You have to eat restaurant or fast food that may taste good but is really bad for you, (I had fish and chips for lunch and a nice steak for dinner, thanks for asking), and man, hotel beds just aren’t comfortable.

You just get out of your routine, and you kind of feel ‘off’, if you know what I mean, until you get back home, get to sleep in your own bed, and can get back into said routine.

So it’s not much of a surprise that the Vikings couldn’t get it done against Seattle, losing a tough game with a lot on the line. The Vikings know what they needed to do, and couldn’t do it. They’re a good team, but once again, they couldn’t beat another good team. They made their own mistakes, but tonight couldn’t mend the mess they made. Could they, Rush?

He’s got to make his own mistakes

And learn to mend the mess he makes

He’s old enough to know what’s right

And young enough not to choose it

He’s noble enough to win the world

But weak enough to lose it

He’s a new world man

The SMR that wonders if it can ever beat Seattle follows.

Blue Chips

Anthony Harris, S: I thought Ant Harris’ big pick six was going to be the catalyst that started a Vikings steamroll. It was not.

Kyle Rudolph, TE: The Vikings almost-comeback wouldn’t have been possible without Rudolph. He had two ridiculous catches, including his TD grab, and his fool’s gold 15 yarder on the Vikings last drive felt like ‘the play’ that got things going and ended up with the Vikings in the end zone with seconds to spare. It was not.

Solid Investments

Laquon Treadwell, WR: Credit to Treadwell here, he gave the Vikings a huge boost with his 58 yard catch and run for a TD. I thought that might have been the point where the comeback began. It was not.

CJ Ham, FB: Loved Ham’s 30 yard catch and run on Minnesota’s opening drive. I did not love his fumble on the last kick return of the game.

Kirk Cousins, QB: Hell of an effort tonight, and he ended up with 276 yards and two TD’s. But please, go ahead, tell me how you think Cousins lost this game. Because the ‘Kirk sucks and he’s the reason the Vikings lost’ crowd grotesquely fascinates me at this point.

Junk Bonds

Xavier Rhodes, CB: Quite simply, X has fallen off a cliff. Like Wile E. Coyote trying to cover the Road Runner and then fall off a cliff kind of deal. In the third quarter the Vikings had stopped Seattle on first down for one of the few times that night for a two yard loss, but Rhodes was flagged for a personal foul penalty (it was legit), and the ball went down to the Vikings 30. Then Chris Carson went for 25. Then two plays later Seattle was in the end zone, and it’s now 17-17. Could Seattle have still scored from second and 12? Maybe. But 2nd and 12 from midfield is a hell of a lot better for the defense than first and 10 at your 30. After giving up a backbreaking 60 yard touchdown pass to David Moore at the end of the third quarter, Russell Wilson was 4/4 for 99 yards and a TD throwing at him.

Harrison Smith, S: Smith had a nice pass breakup on the goal line in the first half, but other than that he was a step slow all night. On the Moore TD, I think Smith was supposed to help up top, at least Rhodes thought so, but he wasn’t there.

The defensive line. The Vikings defense got worked to the tune of 218 yards rushing, two touchdowns, and a 5.1 yards per carry average. Seattle was consistently working in a second and short situation, and the Vikings had no ability to stop their running game all night. WHen the Seahawks needed to make a first down, they usually did, and they did it on the ground.


Buy: The Vikings drive to open the game. The Vikings generally frustrate me with their slow starts to games, but the offense took the opening drive and went 83 yards on six plays and scored on a Dalvin Cook touchdown. After the Vikes defense opened the game with a stop, it was a great way to set an early tone.

Sell: The Vikings drive to open the second half. After closing the half with a field goal, an opening drive TD, or even field goal, would have been big. Yeah, three and out and Mike Zimmer had to challenge a play that was initially ruled a Kirk COusins fumble, but was correctly ruled an incomplete pass.

Buy: The Vikings drive to close the first half. It kind of felt like the VIkings didn’t know what the hell they were doing for a good chunk of that drive, but they figured it out and got a field goal to end the half.

Sell: Drive killing penalties and turnovers. Yet once again, when the offense needed to answer a score with a score, or at least a couple first downs to keep the defense off the field, they shot themselves in the foot with untimely penalties or turnovers.

Buy: Going for it on fourth down late in the game. It was the right call. There was no confidence that if the Vikes had punted the defense would have been able to stop the Seahawks, and that was proven true after the turnover on downs.

Sell: Not converting. It was only three yards, and yeah I thought there might have been some pass interference there, but that was a low percentage route and throw to begin with. Better play might have been dialed up there, I thought.

Buy: This is a playoff team. With the rest of the contenders behind them losing, the Vikings are almost assuredly getting at least the six seed in the playoffs. With a little luck, they may even catch Green Bay and win the division.

Sell: This team is going a long way in the playoffs. The chances of them catching and passing the Packers took a huge hit tonight, and in all probability they’ll be on the road for the entire postseason. It’s incredibly tough to win three playoff games on the road to get to the Super Bowl. Almost impossible. 4 teams in 30 years have done it. Do you think this team can be the fifth?

Quote of the Week

Yeah, this sucks. But it was not a lost football weekend for me. Ohio State once again put the hearts of Michigan fans through a meat grinder by going Hannibal Lecter on their team, 56-27. And my grandson Gabriel did me proud:

Notice he’s doing the Skol Chant while spelling out O-H-I-O. Kid is shamelessly pandering here, and I love him all the more for it.

Let’s get ‘em next week.