The Vikings played about as good as they could against the Seahawks in the first half and as bad as they could for a stretch of the third quarter.
Minnesota rallied from an eight-point deficit for a five-point lead but was unable to finish the game victoriously on offense or defense and suffered a 27-26 loss in Seattle on Sunday Night Football.
Pre-game question: Tumultuous rough patches had defined the four previous matchups with the Seahawks since Mike Zimmer was hired as head coach of the Vikings. How would this team respond if another such sequence happened on Sunday Night Football?
After a groin injury to Dalvin Cook opened the second half, the Vikings struggled to find their footing for a crucial stretch.
Minnesota quickly punted, surrendered a touchdown on four plays, lost a fumble on a play that was initially ruled an incompletion, gave up a touchdown on two plays, lost the ball on an interception and gave up a 29-yard touchdown.
Three touchdowns allowed, two turnovers in less than two minutes of game time.
While there were no fans in attendance, one could almost sense the frenzy becoming overwhelming when Chris Carson barreled through the middle of the defense and shed a tackle at the 10 on his way to the end zone for a 21-13 lead with 8:02 left in the third quarter.
Minnesota rallied with an 11-play drive that covered 77 yards and ended with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to Adam Thielen. Rather than kick the PAT, however, the Vikings went for a 2-point conversion with Cousins in the shotgun and after having sent Alexander Mattison in motion out of the backfield. Cousins ran a keeper that was stopped by K.J. Wright, who coincidentally recovered both of those turnovers by the Vikings in the third quarter.
The score stood at 21-19 with 3:39 remaining in the third quarter.
The Vikings were able to force a punt on the following Seahawks possession. It was downed at the Minnesota 3-yard line just before the fourth quarter.
Minnesota orchestrated a 97-yard drive on 15 plays that ended with a 6-yard pass to Thielen, whose second score and a PAT put the Vikings up 26-21 with 7:08 left.
Eric Wilson intercepted Russell Wilson four plays later to give Minnesota the ball at midfield with 5:45 remaining.
The Vikings drove to the 6-yard line of the Seahawks, but rather than kick a 24-yard field goal for an eight-point edge that would force a touchdown and 2-pointer by Seattle just to tie, Mattison was stuffed on a fourth-and-1.
Seattle drove 94 yards thanks to a 17-yard run by Russell Wilson, a 39-yard completion on fourth-and-10 and a 6-yard touchdown on fourth down. Seattle's 2-point conversion attempt was no good, but the Seahawks only left the Vikings with 15 seconds.
The skinniest of margins in Weeks 3 and 5 has resulted in Minnesota lamenting what could be a 3-2 record through a challenging start to the season and trying to figure out how to get out of a 1-4 hole while looking up at two division foes that already have four wins in 2020.
"Seattle makes [its] living on turnovers. That's how they win the games, the turnover margin. The kid, K.J. Wright, made a hell of an interception, and so did Eric Wilson. He made a heck of an interception, as well. But they went up on us, and then we continued to fight back. I think we had a -yard drive. We got the ball down there again in the fourth and [needed] half a yard and didn't get it."
— Zimmer on battling through the rough patch
"I was covering the running back, Carson. I knew he was close to out of bounds and Russell [Wilson] was probably going to scramble, so I pushed him out of bounds, got my head back around, and we got some pressure on him, and I saw the ball and just went up and made the play on it."
— Eric Wilson on his interception
"Gut-wrenching, heartbreaking loss tonight. Disappointing. We did a lot of positive things and played really hard. I'm proud of my teammates. But obviously we don't like this feeling as we head back to Minnesota. [There are a lot] of plays we'd love to have back, and that's the nature of this business when you lose."
"Honestly, the message in the locker room is 'We can be a dang-good football team.' We saw it tonight, we saw it the last couple of weeks. We just have to finish. One more play… you can go back and look on situations and you wish you woulda-coulda-shoulda, but one more play, one more yard, one more stop, things like that. It's just we're so close and that's probably why it's so disappointing, it's so frustrating, it's humbling, honestly. But, we know if we can stick together, if we can keep going to work … I know it's like a broken record, and we keep saying that, but it's so true. We have the guys in this locker room, we have the coaches, we really care about one another and we're fighting to the end. I promise you that. Excited to get back to work and obviously move forward from this game, as frustrating as it is."