Minnesota Vikings’ post-mortem: Reviewing the wrongs

The Vikings were dominated by Seattle as injuries, penalties and poor play mounted for Minnesota in a 38-7 loss.

Injuries a major concern: The Minnesota Vikings entered the Week 13 game with Harrison Smith and Anthony Barr both listed as questionable with injuries, and both were out of the game before the end of the first quarter.

Smith entered the game with a knee injury that kept him out of last week’s win over Atlanta and left on Seattle’s second drive of the game after making a tackle on tight end Luke Willson with the Vikings calling it a hamstring injury.

Barr also left on the second drive with a groin injury. That and a hand injury had him listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report. Jason Trusnik, signed on Nov. 10, took over for Barr.

The injuries got so bad for the Vikings that at one point cornerback Terence Newman had to be switched to safety, filling in for Blanton, who was filling for Smith. In that case, rookie Trae Waynes took Newman’s spot at cornerback.

Penalty-prone purple: Halfway through the season, the Vikings were the least-penalized team in the NFL. In the last three games, they have been penalized eight times for 110 yards in a loss to Green Bay, nine times for 53 yards in a win at Atlanta and in the first half they were penalized four times for 45 yards against the Seahawks and they were costly.

The Seahawks got their initial first down of their first scoring drive with a third-down holding penalty on Newman.

Their second scoring drive was helped by a 15-yard hit on a defenseless receiver by safety Antone Exum, followed by a bad call on Brian Robinson after a 7-yard sack of Russell Wilson. Wilson was getting up to run further when Robison held on longer to be sure Wilson was down and the official threw a flag for a 15-yard unnecessary roughness call. Instead of second-and-17 from the 21-yard line, the Seahawks had first-and-10 from the 11-yard line and scored two plays later for a 14-0 lead.

The difference in quarterbacks: While Vikings coaches insist they believe Teddy Bridgewater is more than a game manager and can lead them back when needed, that wasn’t the case late in the first half with the Vikings down 14-0. Trying to mount a comeback with 2:04 left in the half, they went conservative with short passes before Bridgewater tried to hit Stefon Diggs deep. Instead, Bridgewater sailed the pass, Earl Thomas intercepted it and returned it 25 yards before Diggs came back to make the tackle by hauling Thomas down by the facemask.

Bridgewater finished the first half 9 of 16 for 64 yards, one interception and a 39.6 rating. His final game stats were 17 of 28 for 118 yards and one interception.

Meanwhile, Wilson, who entered the game with a 12-2 record in December (the highest winning percentage by starting QB since 2000), was 14 of 18 for 166 yards, one touchdown passing, another running and a 123.6 rating in the first half.

Wilson finished 21 of 27 for 274 yards passing and three touchdowns, and ran the ball nine times for 51 yards and a touchdown.

Bridgewater entered the game having won seven of his last eight homes starts, including four games with a rating of 100 or better.

Outmanned, outgained: How bad was it? It was so bad that after three quarters, before garbage time started, Seattle had dominated the statistics. In three quarters of play, the Seahawks had 21 first downs to the Vikings’ 7 and outgained the Vikings 377 to 106 in net yards, 225 to 70 in passing yards, 152 to 36 in rushing yards.

Peterson shutdown: The Vikings were outgained 77 yards to 12 yards rushing in the first half. Peterson was held to 10 yards on five carries while Thomas Rawls had 61 yards on 10 carries in the half. Peterson carried three more times in the third quarter for 8 yards, which was his final line for the day.

It wasn’t a career low for Peterson. As a rookie, he was held to 3 yards on 14 carries. He was also held to 13 yards on seven carries in a 2013 game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Peterson was dropped for negative yardage on three plays – two 1-yard losses on running plays and a 1-yard loss on a passing play – before being pulled after three quarters.

Thomas Rawls finished with 19 carries for 101 yards and a touchdown.

The final tallies in Seattle’s favor: First downs 25 to 9, net yards 433 to 125, passing yards 260 to 94, rushing yards 173 to 31 and time of possession 34:35 to 24:50.

Cordarrelle celebrates: Cordarrelle Patterson provided the only scoring spark for the Vikings in the first three quarters when he returned a kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown, but it came when Minnesota was already down 35-7. Still, Patterson started celebrating 30 yards from the end zone, holding the ball out in front of him and high-stepping before striking the Deion Sanders pose with his hand behind his helmet as he neared the goal line. 

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