Lifeless in Seattle: Vikings fall to Seahawks, 21-7

- The Minnesota Vikings had a chance to solidify their playoff position Monday night, but yet again put up a lifeless offensive performance on national television in a 21-7 loss at Seattle.

The Vikings are currently the No. 6 seed in the NFC after the loss and still a playoff team. But they face serious questions after putting up just 206 yards of total offense until getting a scoring drive late in the fourth quarter with the game decided. Before Dalvin Cook’s 6-yard scoring catch from Kirk Cousins, the Vikings had gone six quarters without an offensive touchdown.

The game changed midway through the fourth quarter with the Vikings down 6-0 after two Sebastian Janikowski field goals. The Vikings were attempting a field goal, but Bobby Wagner leaped over the offensive line to block the Dan Bailey kick. Referees initially threw a flag on Wagner for using teammates to jump over the center, then picked it up and the drive was over with no points. Replays showed Wagner using his teammates as leverage to get over the center, which should have been a penalty.

Regardless, the Vikings had a terrible night offensively and didn’t deserve to win the game. The Vikings' offensive line was thoroughly out-played most of the night. Cousins faced consistent pressure a majority of the game and threw for just 208 yards and a touchdown, but missed open receivers and made peculiar decisions in big spots. He also had a sack fumble that Seattle’s Justin Coleman returned for a touchdown, giving the Seahawks a 21-0 lead late in regulation.

It’s an unfortunate outcome with the Vikings’ defense standing up to every challenge thrown its way. They limited Russell Wilson to 10-of-20 passing for 72 yards. The Seahawks ran for 214 yards, and Chris Carson’s 2-yard touchdown with 2:45 left sealed the Vikings fate.

The Vikings’ offensive play-calling and Cousins’ decision-making will come into serious question after Monday’s loss. Latavius Murray was stuffed on a 4th-and-1 play on a run up the middle that ended a potential scoring drive. Cousins had Adam Thielen open for what would’ve been a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, but instead tried to hit a tight window to Kyle Rudolph that was knocked away.

The Vikings finished 2-of-10 on third down and had managed just 16 first downs.

Mike Zimmer also talked most of the week about wanting to run the football. But like in previous games this year, they got away from it and ran for just 79 yards.

It’s Minnesota’s fifth straight loss to the Seahawks. Meanwhile, Seattle improves to 16-2 in prime time at home since 2010. Chris Carson led Seattle's ground attack, the best in the NFL, with 22 carries for 90 yards and a fourth quarter touchdown.

The Vikings are now 6-6-1 and likely need wins in at least two of their final three games to ensure a playoff spot. They host Miami, who knocked off the New England Patriots this week, on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium before heading to Detroit to face the Lions in two weeks.

The Vikings also host the Bears in their regular season finale. Chicago can clinch the NFC North Division title with a win over the Packers next Sunday.

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