It may have taken 10 games to do it, but the Vikings arguably had their most complete game Sunday, getting big days from the offense, defense and special teams in a beatdown of the Seattle Seahawks. The players debated how complete of a game it was.
Few players are more enjoyed by the media for their sound-byte quality than Jared Allen
. He typically has an entertaining answer to reporter questions, so it was expected that when he was asked if Sunday's 35-9 win over Seattle was the most complete game the Vikings have played this year, his answer was surprisingly short, direct and to the point.
"It was a dominating performance," Allen said.
Depending on who you asked following Sunday's thrashing of the Seahawks, the Vikings' performance was dominating or simply a portent of things to come. Linebacker Chad Greenway
said that, from the defensive side of things, the ball control displayed by the offense was the difference. So, Chad, was it the most complete game of the year?
"I would say so, but there is always something you can improve on," Greenway said. "That's what is great about our team. We are going to come back to work. Offensively, they were dominant the majority of the game, which makes our job really fun. It makes you more motivated when you get off the field."
, playing against his former team, said that he probably wasn't the right guy to ask … only to list off most of the reasons why it was the most complete game of the season.
"I don't know," Hutchinson said. "I'm a bad judge of stuff like that. I think of things we can do better, like starting out the game offensively those first couple of series and all those penalties. (But) not turning the ball over, controlling the clock, keeping the defense off the field – I think from that standpoint we were able to sustain drives, move the ball down the field and wear down their defense."
Not everyone bought into the notion of the complete-game concept. For some, even in a dominating performance in which the Vikings more than doubled Seattle in yardage and time of possession, there were still some things that need work.
"I wouldn't say it was complete, but it was a great day for us – all three phases," Kevin Williams
said. "In the second quarter the offense put up points and the defense continued to hold them. It was probably as close as we've come to having a complete game, but I wouldn't say it was."
Others were more willing to admit the dominant aspects of the majority of the game. Ben Leber
said the defensive unit barely got a chance to work up a sweat because they weren't on the field for any long stretches throughout the game.
"When you're only on the field for 17 or 18 minutes, you can't get much more complete than that," Leber said. "Early in the first quarter, we had a couple too many penalties. But we cleared that up, the offense kept it balanced – had them on their heels – and you could tell those guys were getting worn down."
In the end, the consensus would seem to be that the Vikings, while riding high at 9-1, still aren't satisfied, but they understand that they are consistently getting better and that there could be big things in their immediate future.
"It's a really special team," wide receiver Sidney Rice
said. "I think we're still putting all the pieces together. We're doing a really good job with it. We've got to continue to execute the plays the coaches are giving to us."
The Vikings' domination of the statistics was as lopsided as any game all year. The Vikings had 431 total yards (271 passing, 160 rushing) to just 212 for Seattle (208 passing, 4 rushing). The Vikings ran 72 plays, while the Seahawks managed just 44. The Vikings had the ball got 42:11, while Seattle was in possession for just 17:49.
Both teams had been pretty impressive on third-down offense. That changed Sunday. The Vikings converted on eight of 13 third-down chances (62 percent), while Seattle converted just one of 10 third downs.
The Vikings had four drives of 10 plays or more. Seattle had no drives of more than seven plays and had five drives that went three-and-out.
The Vikings continued to be one of the best teams in the league in the red zone. Of their three red zone chances Sunday, they cashed in touchdowns on all of them.
The Vikings held Seattle to just four yards rushing – the second-lowest total in team history. Yet, the weren't fully satisfied.
"At one point late, they were at negative yards," Leber said. "We were hoping to keep them there. This will hopefully get us back up on the (rushing defense) charts. We're striving to be No. 1 again. This will help."
Brett Favre set a career best for completion percentage at 88 percent, completing 22 of 25 passes for 213 yards and two touchdowns. Favre entered play Sunday tops among NFL quarterbacks with a passer rating of 107.5. He did himself one better, posting a sparkling 141.7 passer rating Sunday, raising his season passer rating to 112.1.
Near the end of the game, Favre's face was shown on the Jumbotron and fans began chanting, "M.V.P.! M.V.P.!"
Adrian Peterson had something of an embarrassing moment in the fourth quarter. He came into Sunday's game needing 83 yards to reach 1,000 for the season. He hit the milestone right on the nose and, when it was announced to the crowd, he received a huge ovation. He then lost a yard on his next carry. He was sent back out for another chance, but was stuffed for no gain and finished the day with 999 yards rushing on the season.
Sidney Rice caught his 50th pass of the season Sunday. He leads the team with 50 catches for 875 yards.
Visanthe Shiancoe tied his career high by catching his seventh touchdown pass of the season.
The Vikings now have four players with four or more touchdown catches – Rice, Harvin and Bernard Berrian with four each and Shiancoe with seven.
Asher Allen had his first career interception Sunday.
Favre got lifted from the game with 40 seconds to play in the third quarter. He was replaced by Tarvaris Jackson, who completed six of eight passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. As impressive as Favre's passer rating is this season, Jackson's is higher at 124.0.
Harvin nearly had a gaffe that could have cost the team late. Expecting an onside kick, Harvin stood on the 30-yard line only to have the kick boom over his head. He stood and watched it instead of tracking it down and it bounced to a stop on the 2-yard line. He retrieved the ball and returned it to the 20, but expect him to hear about it during film study.
Brad Childress didn't need a replay to use his challenge flag in the fourth quarter on a pass to Rice. The play was ruled an incompletion, but it happened directly in front of Childress, who challenged the ruling and won on further review.
The Seahawks offense didn't cross midfield until 2:40 remained in the third quarter.
Favre set an NFL record in the third quarter with the 22nd four-touchdown game of his career, breaking a tie at 21 with Dan Marino.
Both Rice and Harvin left the game in the third quarter with injuries, but each returned in the fourth quarter.
In the first half, the deepest penetration by Seattle's offense was its own 38-yard line.
Thanks to a dominating second quarter, the Vikings crushed in the first-half statistics.
The Vikings had 202 total yards (109 passing, 93 rushing), while Seattle had just 61 (67 passing, minus-6 rushing). The Vikings were 3 of 5 on third-down conversions, while the Seahawks were 0-for-2.
Individually, Favre completed 14 of 16 passes for 128 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. Peterson had 13 carries for 63 yards and seven players caught at least one pass, led by four by Shiancoe for 41 yards and a touchdown.
For Seattle, Hasselbeck completed 10 of 12 passes for 67 yards. Running back Justin Forsett had four rushes for just three yards to lead the team and also had five receptions for 28 yards.
As bad as Seattle was in the first half, they didn't do themselves any favors by committing nine penalties.
The first quarter of Sunday's game was the first scoreless first quarter of the Vikings' season.
Seattle tried using the Wildcat formation twice – both times using backup QB Seneca Wallace as the guy taking the snap. On the first play, he threw a pass away to avoid a sack and, on the second, he was chased out of bounds for a 9-yard loss.
Penalties killed the Vikings in the first quarter. On their first offensive snap, Phil Loadholt was called for a false start penalty and, on the second drive of the quarter, the Vikings were called for offensive pass interference and illegal formation. After committing three penalties in the first eight minutes, they added only two more the rest of the game.
The game got off to a slow start, as neither team was able to pick up a first down on the first three possessions of the game. Seattle's first two possessions netted just four yards, setting a defensive tone early that lasted throughout the game
Former Twins manager Tom Kelly blew the ceremonial Gjallarhorn prior to the start of Sunday's game.
The paid attendance was 63,854, the 122nd straight sellout at the Metrodome dating back to 1998.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.