Notebook: Minnesota Vikings react to penalty calls

The Vikings know the numerous questionable penalties didn’t decide a blowout loss to the Seahawks, but that didn’t mean they had to agree with most of them.

One of the things the Minnesota Vikings have prided themselves the most on this season is spending the entire year as the least penalized team in the NFL. In Sunday’s 38-7 beating at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks, the Vikings were called for nine penalties, some of them of the questionable variety. While it didn’t impact the end result of the game – that was determined by about halftime – it did make a difference.

As Captain Munnerlyn was explaining his view of what often appeared to be clearly a wrong call by the officials, veteran Terence Newman provided some gallows humor.

“They had the 12th Man today, Cap,” Newman said. Wisely, he referenced that in a game when the Vikings were facing a Seahawks team with a fan base known as the “12th Man,” but Newman’s comments came when an penalty was being discussed.

The Vikings were called for nine penalties that ate up 95 yards, only 30 yards less than the entire Vikings offense accounted for.

On the first scoring drive of the game, Newman was called for holding on a third down that would have ended the drive. Seattle would go on to score to take a 7-0 lead.

In the second quarter, Brian Robison got a sack on Russell Wilson, who kept fighting because he didn’t believe he had a knee down. Robison held on to his leg and was called for a personal foul, despite Wilson running in to the end zone when he let go. Instead of a second-and-17 scenario from the 21-yard line, Seattle had a first down on the 11-yard line. They would score a TD to take a 14-0 lead.

With the Vikings trailing 21-0 at the start of the second half, Jarius Wright was called for offensive pass interference when replay showed he was actually held by a defender on the route. The Vikings had converted a first down on that play, but were backed up 10 yards and punted one play later. The next time they would have the ball, they would trail 28-0.

The final straw may well have been the botched call trilogy that came midway through the third quarter. Brandon Fusco was called for a holding on a play in which he and Brandon Mebane were locked up and both fell and were able to catch themselves because neither was holding. One play later, Mike Wallace was called for offensive pass interference on another phantom call. On the next play, guard Mike Harris was called for a block in the back for making contact with a defender with his hands, not a push.

The players weren’t shy about the number of dismal calls that were made.

“We didn’t get a lot of calls to go our way – a lot of questionable calls if you ask me,” Wright said. “The one on me, the guy was holding me and they called it on me. The same happened with Mike. There were a lot of horrible calls if you ask me. But the game didn’t come down to the penalty calls. We didn’t play like we usually play. We ruined ourselves.”

Robison tried to explain to the referee what happened on his penalty for trying to keep Wilson down, but to no avail. He felt he was jobbed on the call, but knows there is no sense in arguing a call because they won’t change it and it doesn’t do any good to argue a play after it’s over.

“Obviously he didn’t think he was down,” Robison said of Wilson. “He (got) up running. The refs made the call that they felt like was the best call and we’ve just got to deal with it.”

In the end, whether the penalties contributed to making the defeat more lopsided or not, it wasn’t the reason the Vikings lost. Munnerlyn put it well by pointing out if a team does its business, an official can’t be in a position to make a call or two that kill the team.

“Some of those penalties … they called them and you have to live with it,” Munnerlyn said. “You can’t leave game’s in the referee’s hands. I’m a firm believer in that. You have to go out and execute. Seattle came out and did what they were supposed – they executed and got the win.”

Robison was more succinct. He was as mad as anyone about his phantom personal foul, but figured that, considering how the day went, it wasn’t that big of a deal.

“We got our teeth kicked in, so it doesn’t matter,” Robison said.


  • The Vikings defense was hampered all day without arguably its three best defensive players. Linval Joseph was inactive with a foot injury and the team lost Harrison Smith (hamstring) and Anthony Barr (groin) in the first quarter.
  • One of the few – and probably only – bright spot was a 101-yard kickoff return by Cordarrelle Patterson that provided the only points of the game for the Vikings. Patterson scored his second kickoff return for a touchdown this season, having also scored on a kick return against Oakland.
  • It was an ugly game for Adrian Peterson. He finished the game with just 18 yards on eight carries – five carries for 10 yards in the first half and three carries for eight yards in the second half.
  • His 18 rushing yards were the third lowest single-game total of his career. He had 13 yards against Baltimore in 2013, but was injured in that game and missed the following week. The only other game that was worse was at San Francisco as a rookie when he rushed 14 times for three yards.
  • Even the special teams struggled, as two Jeff Locke punts were tipped coming off his foot. Neither was fully blocked, but it was clear that both were impacted by a Seattle player getting a hand on the ball.
  • The battle of the quarterbacks was horribly lopsided. Russell Wilson completed 21 of 27 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns, posting a passer rating of 146.0 Teddy Bridgewater completed 17 of 28 passes for just 118 yards with no TDs, one interception and a passer rating of 55.4, his second-lowest passer rating of the season.
  • The Vikings converted just two of 10 third-down opportunities, while allowing Seattle to make good on nine of 13 chances.
  • The Vikings only got across midfield twice during the entire game and their deepest penetration was the Seattle 36-yard line.
  • The Seahawks outgained the Vikings 235-68 in the first half and 198-57 in the second half.
  • Mike Wallace caught two passes for 43 yards, tying the amount of catches he has had in the last five games combined.
  • The Vikings had just four receptions of more than 8 yards all game.
  • In the second quarter, Seattle put together a 13-play drive that covered 98 yards that included four conversions on third down, including a third-down conversion run for a touchdown by Wilson.
  • The Seahawks’ domination of the first quarter was complete and overwhelming. Seattle outgained the Vikings 130-3, had eight first downs to just one by Minnesota, ran 17 plays as opposed to eight for the Vikings and held the ball for 9:39 of the game’s first 15 minutes, setting a tone for what would follow.
  • Seattle ate up more than half the first quarter game clock with a marathon 12-play, 81-yard drive that took 7:39 off the clock. Despite being backed up three times by penalties, Seattle converted three third downs to keep the drive alive before Rawls scored on a 5-yard run for the game’s first points.
  • The Vikings got the first break of the game when they challenged a fumble by Rawls on the Vikings 30-yard line on the game’s opening drive. Rawls was emphatically ruled down by an official who was mere feet from the play, but replay clearly showed the ball was out.
  • Injured Vikings offensive tackle Phil Loadholt sounded the ceremonial gjallarhorn prior to the start of the game.
  • The paid attendance was 52,430.


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