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After Further Review: Vikings Conservative Then Crisp Before Half

After Further Review is a deeper look at plays or stats after Vikings games…

An element of good overshadowed by the third quarter of Minnesota’s 37-30 loss at Seattle on Monday Night Football was Minnesota’s execution and clock management at the end of the first half that helped the Vikings add three points on a 47-yard field goal with a drive that covered 46 yards in just 58 seconds.

When Minnesota took over, Seattle had just kicked a 29-yard field goal to make it a four-point game. The Vikings balanced being conservative early with crispness later in the possession to take a 17-10 lead into the locker room.

Here’s another look at that drive:

Q2, 0:58 remaining — First-and-10 at the Minnesota 25

Quarterback Kirk Cousins tries a short pass over the middle to Dalvin Cook, but it falls incomplete.

On second down, the Vikings go with a handoff to Cook on a draw play out of the shotgun, and it gains 9 yards, setting up a third-and-1. Minnesota, which has three timeouts, could stop the clock with about 47 seconds left but instead goes to the line and runs with Cook again. He gains 1, and the Vikings take their first timeout.

Q2, 0:26 remaining — First-and-10 at the Minnesota 35

The Vikings continue with 12 personnel (Cook at running back and tight ends Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith, Jr., to go along with receivers Stefon Diggs and Bisi Johnson) and return to the air. Cousins narrowly misses Diggs on a deep route at the Seattle 45-yard line. ESPN noted that the pass was Cousins’ first of the evening to travel more than five yards downfield.

Q2, 0:22 remaining — Second-and-10 at the Minnesota 35

CookScreen

The Vikings opt for a screen, turning to Cook’s abilities after the catch. Minnesota has its receivers and tight ends run clearing routes down the field to take defenders with them.

Cook is able to get 15 yards, but Jadeveon Clowney hustles and tracks down the running back. The defensive end forces a fumble and causes Cook to land awkwardly. Pat Elflein recovers the ball to keep it with Minnesota. The Vikings use their second timeout.

Q2, 0:12 remaining — First-and-10 at midfield

Ameer Abdullah replaces Cook and runs an out route to the right sideline.

Diggs runs deep down the left sideline, clearing space for Rudolph to run an out to the left. Cousins winds up before Rudolph finishes his break. Rudolph does a nice job of securing the catch and getting his momentum going to the sideline to stop the clock with seven seconds remaining and preserve Minnesota’s final timeout.

Q2, 0:07 remaining — First-and-10 at the Seattle 39

Because they have that timeout in their pocket, the Vikings are not forced to work the sideline.

DiggsSlant

Cousins rifles the ball to Diggs on a slant, and the receiver makes an impressive grab for a gain of 10. The Vikings take their final timeout with one second left, allowing Dan Bailey to kick the field goal on the way to the locker room.

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