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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Notebook: In loss, Vikings contain Russell Wilson, hold Seattle to 10 points

By Derek Wetmore

MINNEAPOLIS – The last time the two teams played in Minneapolis, the Seahawks hung 37 points on the Vikings on their way to a convincing win. Minnesota’s offense didn’t score in that game, but what really turned the Dec. 6 game from a Seahawks win into a laugher was Seattle’s ability to score seemingly at will.

That wasn’t the case Sunday.

The Vikings’ defense had all of its starters healthy to begin the game, and allowed just 10 points, all in the fourth quarter, to one of the NFL’s hottest offenses. The same Seahawks team that scored 36 points against the Arizona Cardinals the week before, and the same team that had averaged 31 points per game in the past eight weeks, managed just 10 points against the Vikings in Seattle’s first-round playoff win.

Minnesota did a good job in particular at containing Russell Wilson, who completed just 13 of his 26 passes for 142 yards, with a touchdown and a tipped-ball interception. His lone touchdown pass came when he hit Doug Baldwin for a quick 3-yard score with Josh Robinson in coverage. Notably, Wilson ran the ball five times for 21 yards, but his longest scramble was 11 yards, and none of his runs were back-breakers for Minnesota.

“It was a complete key to try and keep him in the pocket,” linebacker Anthony Barr said. “He’s very mobile and we tried to make him take tough throws from the pocket. He was able to leave the pocket a little bit today but I think we did a good job of slowing him down.”

The read-option runs can be difficult to contain against a mobile quarterback like Russell Wilson. And more to the point, they can be a weapon regardless of who is playing running back, specifically because of Wilson’s ever-present threat to run. Aside from one 11-yard read-option keeper, on which right end Everson Griffen bit on the running back and lost contain of Wilson, that tactic wasn’t a big weapon for the Seahawks on Sunday.

“I’m proud of how smart we were playing Russell Wilson today,” defense end Brian Robison said. “I’m proud of how we played on first and second downs. That was a huge key for success on defense. I’m proud of our coaches. They came up with a great game plan.”

Perhaps the most crushing play on defense came when an errant snap sailed over Wilson’s head. The quarterback ran back to track it down, picked it up, evaded Vikings blitzers and found a wide-open Tyler Lockett down the field for a 35-yard completion that set up Seattle’s only touchdown.

Brrrr….

The recorded temperate at kickoff was 6 degrees below zero, which makes it the coldest game in Vikings history, and the third-coldest in NFL history. The recorded wind chill was 25 degrees below zero, which also set a new team record.

The previous low-mercury mark for the Vikings came on Dec. 3, 1972, at Met Stadium against the Chicago Bears, according to the Vikings, when temperatures at the opening kick were recorded at two degrees below zero, with a wind chill of 19 below.

Next corner up

The Vikings began the game with all of their defensive starters but suffered two important injuries during the course of the game.

Veteran cornerback Terence Newman left the game with an ankle injury and was replaced by rookie Trae Waynes. Waynes picked off a pass from Russell Wilson that had been tipped by tight end Chase Coffman. That interception led to a Vikings field goal midway through the third quarter, which gave the Vikings a 9-0 lead.

On the first play in the fourth quarter, Waynes had to leave with what the team described as an arm injury. He was replaced by Josh Robinson. Wilson and the Seahawks finished off that drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass on a quick out to Doug Baldwin with Robinson in coverage.

Newman did not return to the game, but Waynes returned on the next drive to take over for Robinson.

Back from the dead

The Vikings became the second team since the merger to lose a playoff game when pitching a shutout through three quarters. According to ESPN Stats and Info, the only time it happened before Sunday was in 1978, when the Falcons rallied from a 13-0 deficit to beat the Eagles 14-13 on Dec. 24 in the NFC wild card game.

Besides the Seahawks (2015-16) and Falcons (1978), the only other team to win without scoring in the first three quarters, according to Stats and Info, was the 1948 Eagles.

Since 2010, the Seahawks are 5-2 in the playoffs when trailing by nine points or more, per Stats and Info, while the rest of the NFL is 6-41 when facing the same situation.

The post Notebook: In loss, Vikings contain Russell Wilson, hold Seattle to 10 points appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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