Game 13: Highlights, Lowlights and Notes
ONE BIG PLAY
At 2:50 of the fourth quarter against the Seahawks, the Vikings had what could have been the biggest play of the season. Randy Moss burned the coverage with a quick swim move at the line of scrimmage and got a 33-yard pass interference penalty on safety Marquand Manuel. On the same play, the Rams' best pass rusher, Grant Wistrom, lay in a pile back at the line of scrimmage. Wistrom was taken to the locker room on a cart, and the Vikings were in position for the winning score on the 36-yard line.
That didn't happen. Two plays later, the Vikings were intercepted in the end zone.
The Vikings started their second-to-last drive of the game with 3:33 left in the game and were driving nicely. Trailing by four points, they needed a touchdown to regain the lead. Kelly Campbell led off the drive with a 9-yard reception and Manuel was called for pass interference on the second play, a situation that put the Vikings on the Seattle 31-yard line.
Michael Bennett entered the game for only his fifth carry of the game, an 11-yard run. Facing first-and-10 from the 20-yard line, the Vikings called a reverse to Moss. He pulled up and underthrew a pass to Marcus Robinson in the end zone, and safety Michael Boulware intercepted it. It was a trick play that probably wasn't needed and definitely wasn't executed with the underthrown pass.
The Vikings and Seahawks were expected to score a lot of points, with the Las Vegas at 54 points. They didn't disappoint in the first half, when their scoring drives came quickly.
The Vikings' first-half drives took 4:18 for a field goal, 3:23 for a touchdown, 1:30 for a three-and-out, 2:25 for a field goal and 4:29 for a touchdown and 1:52 for a punt.
The Seahawks had first-half drives of 3:37 for a missed field goal, 2:30 for a touchdown, 2:29 for a touchdown, 0:13 for an interception, 2:01 for a touchdown and :52 for a punt.
The two teams combined for 41 first-half points, threatening the over early in the second half. However, with only nine points in the second half, they never did hit the over. Score another for Vegas.
Punter Darren Bennett appears to be pulling out of his slump from the first half of the season. For much of the season, Bennett has been the league's worst punter when it comes to gross and net average.
Sunday was his best game. He averaged 49 yards on two punts in the first half and placed a third one early in the fourth quarter inside the 20-yard line with a 34-yarder to the 18-yard line.
He finished the game with four punts, averaging 45.5 yards.
THE OTHER BENNETT
Running back Michael Bennett was supposed to get work every third series in this game, and it started that way. On the third drive of the game, he entered for runs of 3 and 1 yards. That was all he carried in the first half, and ended up with five carries for 25 yards.
Nate Burleson broke his nose in the second half, but the receiver returned to action shortly afterward.
Mike Nattiel suffered a right shoulder stinger in the fourth quarter and did not return.
MOORE IS … LESS
The Vikings activated running back Mewelde Moore for the first time since he suffered a high ankle sprain. Moore returned to the sidelines in uniform, but his action was limited. He didn't carry the ball and returned one kickoff for 30 yards.
SAFETY IN NUMBERS
The Vikings got their sixth and seventh interceptions of the season, and their first by a safety after Brian Russell and Corey Chavous combined for 17 interceptions last year. Russell intercepted Hasselbeck on the Seahawks' first drive of the second half.
As promised, Chris Hovan started in the nickel defense and played extensively on third downs. Spencer Johnson made the start alongside Kevin Williams at defensive tackle, and Steve Martin was deactivated to make room for Hovan.
Hovan registered two tackles — a solo and an assist — and received applause from the crowd when his solo was announced.
Former Vikings defensive end Carl Eller received his Hall of Fame ring in a halftime ceremony.
"Carl was an imposing figure in our business. He wasn't a first-down player, he wasn't a second-down player, he wasn't a third-down player, he wasn't a short-yardage player, he wasn't a goal-line player. But he was an every-down player. He was an every-game player," former head coach Bud Grant said.
"Over 17,000 men have played this game, but 225 have achieved this honor," Hall president John Bankert said.
Eller used the podium to briefly reiterate his induction speech, where he encouraged young men and women, especially African-Americans, to keep out of gangs and get an education.
RUSHING TO SEVEN
The Vikings have made a habit out of throwing touchdowns this year, even from close to the end zone. They entered the game with only six rushing touchdown, two from Culpepper and two from Moe Williams. Onterrio Smith scored his second rushing touchdown when he took a 5-yard run to paydirt for their first touchdown of the game.
The Vikings deactivated Shaun Hills (emergency QB), CB Antoine Winfield, LB Raonall Smith, G Anthony Herrera, G Adam Haayer, C Matt Birk, TE Richard Owens and DT Steve Martin.
The Seahawks deactivated Seneca Wallace (emergency QB), WR Jason Willis, CB Bobby Taylor, LBTracy White, T Wayne Hunter, DT Marcus Tubbs, LB Chad Brown and DT Rocky Bernard.
Viking Update Top Stories
VIDEO: Norv Turner on offensive successMinnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner talks about the success of Sam Bradford, the return of Taylor Heinicke and the variety of receivers on the team.
Viking Update11:25 AM
Edwards apologizes for ‘poor decision’Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator said his decision to drive above the legal blood-alcohol level was a “poor decision” and a “one-time deal.”
Viking Update10:24 AM
Eagles explain their side of Bradford tradeAny Vikings fan is familiar with the nuts and bolts of the Sam Bradford trade. On Wednesday, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and quarterback Carson Wentz explained their version of…
Viking UpdateYesterday at 10:22 PM
Eagles know Bradford, praise his accuracyThe Minnesota Vikings have leaned a little on Sam Bradford for knowledge on the Philadelphia Eagles, but the Eagles also know Bradford well and rave about his accuracy.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 2:08 PM