The Vikings got the football first after the Seahawks won the toss and deferred, and they put together a lengthy opening drive, including a fourth-down conversion in Seattle territory on a handoff to C.J. Ham. Unfortunately, the drive pretty much dissolved after that, with a botched snap and Cousins having to throw one away after getting a huge rush from the Seattle defense. Kaare Vedvik handled the first punt of the evening, and did a nice job, pinning the Seahawks at their own 7-yard line.
Seattle moved the ball with ease to start their first drive, as Russell Wilson found both Tyler Lockett and Jaron Brown for big gains to quickly get the Seahawks to midfield. However, the Seahawks were called for a false start, and Wilson’s pass to Brown on the next third down fell incomplete, forcing a Seattle punt. Michael Dickson did what Michael Dickson does, as Chad Beebe called for a fair catch at the Minnesota 9.
Minnesota dodged a bullet on their second possession, as the officials ruled that Alexander Mattison’s forward progress was stopped before a fumble that would have given the Seahawks the ball inside the 5-yard line. Cousins then connected on a long pass to Adam Thielen for a 34-yard gain that was challenged by the Seahawks for potential offensive pass interference, but the call stood.
Cousins then went deep for Thielen again, and though the pass fell incomplete, the Seahawks were called for pass interference on Tre Flowers, a 45-yard penalty to put the Vikings down to the Seattle 6-yard line. After a call for a chop block on Kyle Rudolph, that turned into first-and-goal from the 21. The Vikings couldn’t get into the end zone, so on came. . .Dan Bailey for a 24-yard field goal attempt. Bailey split the uprights (out of the hold of Chad Beebe) to give the Vikings a 3-0 lead late in the first.
The Seahawks once again pushed the ball down the field, including a big pass from Wilson to Brown for 33 yards that put the visitors into the red zone. The Seattle drive stalled out, however, and the Seahawks had to settle for a 33-yard field goal from Jason Myers to tie the game at 3-3.
That was it for the Vikings’ starters on offense, as Sean Mannion and company took over on the next possession. Mannion found Brandon Zylstra for a nice pitch-and-catch for a first down, and then Mattison broke off a 22-yard run to put the Vikings into Seattle territory.
Unfortunately, the drive ended very badly, as Mannion threw a pass intended for Beebe, who appeared to stop short on the route. The pass instead landed in the hands of Seattle’s DeShawn Shead, who took it back the other way for an 88-yard pick-six. The extra point from Myers gave the Seahawks their first lead of the night at 10-3 with 5:48 left in the half.
The Vikings had a pretty ugly three-and-out on the next possession, and Vedvik handled the next punt, with a penalty putting the Seahawks back at their own 22. The Seahawks also turned to their second-string offense, with Paxton Lynch taking over for Russell Wilson. A holding penalty and a sack by the combination of Ifeadi Odenigbo and Armon Watts put the Seahawks in a situation they couldn’t overcome, Minnesota took over in a two-minute situation starting at their own 37-yard line.
After picking up a first down, Mannion found Mike Boone for another big play, as a 45-yard catch-and-run put the Vikings inside the Seattle 10 for a first-and-goal! After that, Mannion found Irv Smith Jr. for his first NFL touchdown, a 3-yarder that tied the game.
The first-team offense and defense both had their moments, and the game was even when both teams sat the majority of their starters. Cousins finished his night 6-of-8 for 68 yards, plus the big 45-yard pass interference play to Thielen. Thielen caught three passes for 45 yards. Alexander Mattison led the Vikings in rushing with 41 yards on ten carries.
We’re at halftime at U.S. Bank Stadium, and things between the Vikings and the Seahawks are tied at 10-10. Come on in and join us for the second half!