Vikings suffer third-quarter meltdown in loss to Seahawks

(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) Stefon Diggs
(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) Stefon Diggs /

The Minnesota Vikings started strong, but a third-quarter meltdown and more injury woes led to a crucial loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday.

The Minnesota Vikings had one of their most frustrating games of the season on Monday night as a strong first half ceded to a third-quarter meltdown. Although they would mount an attempt for another epic comeback, the Seattle Seahawks put the Vikings in too big of a hole and it led to a 37-30 loss for the purple and gold.

Minnesota got off to a picture-perfect start against the Seahawks on Monday night, stopping Seattle on its first drive and then taking the ball down the field on a six-play, 83-yard drive that ended with a two-yard touchdown run by Dalvin Cook to get the Vikings’ first points on the board.

While Minnesota had the momentum, it didn’t last long. Russell Wilson led the Seahawks out on a 14-play drive and running back Chris Carson capped it off with a one-yard touchdown run to tie things up at 7-7. From there, both teams couldn’t find their footing on offense before Anthony Harris came up with the kind of strange play that always seems to happen in Seattle.

With Wilson dropping back to pass, his throw ricocheted off a Vikings defender and back off the quarterback before going into the arms of Harris for a 20-yard pick-six to put Minnesota back on top. The Seahawks and Vikings would exchange field goals at the end of the second quarter and Minnesota went into the half with a 17-10 lead.

When both teams emerged from the locker room, the script had completely flipped after the Vikings went three-and-out on their opening drive of the second half. After the Seahawks converted a 3rd and 1 with a reception by D.K. Metcalf, Minnesota corner Xavier Rhodes was called for a late hit on Carson. That eventually set up a Rashaad Penny touchdown run for Seattle that tied the game at 17.

Disaster struck on the following drive for the Vikings as Cook fumbled on a run up the middle that gave the Seahawks superb field position. To add injury to insult, Cook injured his shoulder on the play and did not return for the rest of the night.

This spawned a full-blown meltdown for the Vikings in the third quarter as Seattle took advantage of the turnover for a field goal and blew the game open on a 60-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to David Moore. The Seahawks weren’t done either as they intercepted a Kirk Cousins pass off the hands of Stefon Diggs and turned it into another Penny touchdown that put Minnesota down 34-17.

But the Vikings didn’t give up from there as Cousins found Laquon Treadwell for a 58-yard touchdown. On the following drive, Rhodes forced a fumble from the grasp of Metcalf and a long drive led to a one-handed touchdown grab from Kyle Rudolph on 3rd-and-goal. Dan Bailey then missed the extra point, however, and Minnesota cut the lead to 34-30 with just over seven minutes to play.

Vikings defensive lineman Ifaedi Odenigbo got a huge sack on the next drive to force the Seahawks to punt and Minnesota’s offense had its chance to drive down the field and steal a victory. But, a fourth-down pass intended for rookie tight end Irv Smith Jr. sailed just wide and Seattle used its ground game, which racked up 218 rushing yards on the night, to ice the game and send Minnesota to 8-4 on the season.

Although this game qualifies as a moral victory, it’s extremely disappointing and leaves the Vikings with more questions than answers.

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The status of Cook’s shoulder will be a prime topic this week and even with three of their final four games at home, it may be too late to catch the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North.