The Vikings knew they were going to have to play really well in order to get a win Monday night in Seattle.
Minnesota looked the part at times, but the Vikings were also hurt by mistakes in all three phases, including a pair of turnovers on offense and a few defensive lapses.
The end result was a 37-30 loss, a respectable outcome but one that also was there was for the taking.
John Breech of CBS Sports handed out his Week 13 grades and gave the Vikings a 'B' for their solid yet unspectacular performance against the Seahawks.
The Vikings almost pulled off the upset on Seattle, but they came up just short thanks to a disastrous third quarter where they were outscored 17-0. Every mistake the Vikings made in this game pretty much came in the quarter. Minnesota touched the ball three times and those possessions ended with a punt and two turnovers.
The third quarter struggles overshadowed a strong performance from Kirk Cousins, who almost engineered a comeback with two fourth-quarter touchdown passes. The Vikings defense wasn't great, but it did force two key turnovers, including a wild pick-six in the first half, that kept Minnesota in the game. The 218 rushing yards surrendered by the Vikings was the second most they've given up since hiring Mike Zimmer in 2014, and the second highest the team has given up since 2006.
Safety Anthony Harris scored on a 20-yard interception return for a touchdown, which snapped an 18-game skid without a defensive touchdown for the Vikings.
Cousins also played well, but couldn't engineer a scoring drive in the final four minutes of the fourth quarter.
Minnesota's defense allowed a season-high 444 yards, which is the sixth-highest under Zimmer since he took over as the head coach in 2014.
The Vikings now sit at 8-4, and are in second place in the NFC North behind the Packers (9-3). Minnesota would be a Wild Card team — the No. 6 seed — if the season ended today.
Vikings red-zone struggles continue in Seattle
There's a reason the Seahawks have won 48 of 62 games at home since the beginning of the 2012 season.
Seattle is tough place to play, and things get even tougher in the red zone for opponents on both sides of the ball.
Mark Craig of the Star Tribune pointed out that fact as he recapped Minnesota's Monday night loss against the Seahawks. Craig noted the Vikings have struggled in multiple phases inside the 20-yard line in losses on Monday night in 2018 and 2019.
In last year's 21-7 loss at Seattle, the Vikings allowed just one touchdown in Seattle's four red-zone trips. This time, Seattle scored three TDs in six red-zone trips. The Vikings had two solid third-down passes defensed by safety Harrison Smith at the goal line and Trae Waynes in the end zone. Those plays held the Seahawks to a pair of 29-yard field goals.
One of Seattle's red-zone TDs was a 13-yard pass from Wilson. In 137 games, including playoffs, Wilson has now thrown 158 touchdowns and just nine interceptions in the red zone. Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks got one of those picks last year.
The Vikings offense scored touchdowns on both of their red-zone possessions Monday night. Dalvin Cook had a 2-yard touchdown run in the first quarter before Rudolph's one-handed touchdown catch.
As Craig mentioned, the Seahawks were three of six inside the 20-yard line. They added three field goals on their other three possessions.