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Vikings Grinded the Football and the Clock Throughout Game

MINNEAPOLIS — On a day when the Vikings played in the coldest game in franchise history, the play of their offense mirrored the weather.

It wasn't glitzy or glamorous, just hard-nosed football in the frigid elements.

And in a game where neither team lit up the scoreboard, the Vikings said they wanted to eat up the clock, control the line of scrimmage and play keep away from a potent Seattle offense. 

The overall results weren't eye-catching — 29 carries for 58 yards, an average of two yards per rush. But the Vikings felt like they succeeded against a stout Seattle defense.

"I don't think it's any secret that their front seven is very good," said Vikings center Joe Berger said of the Seahawks defense after starting the first playoff game of his 11-year career. "But I think we had the answers for them."

Even though the Vikings couldn't rally in a 10-9 loss, they controlled the time of possession for more than 32 minutes.

Minnesota held a 3-0 halftime lead after holding the ball for 18 minutes and 30 seconds in the first two quarters, becoming the first team to hold Seattle scoreless in a first half in 2015

"It wasn't the prettiest game but we ground out yards," Fusco said. "I think the biggest thing was just not finishing drives. That came back to haunt us."

When the teams met Dec. 6 in the regular season, the Vikings were stifled to just 31 yards rushing.

Vikings left guard Brandon Fusco said even though the stats may not look gaudy, they were an improvement from the Week 13 matchup.

"They have such good personnel up front … you're going to have to grind," Fusco said. "It was kind of a chess match all game trying to figure each other out.

"It was a fun one to play in. We moved the ball on them and learned a lot from that first game." 

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, the NFL rushing champion, churned out 45 yards on 23 carries. Peterson said he felt a lot of responsibility heading into the game and lamented a fumble that gave the ball to the Seahawks at the Minnesota 40-yard line.

"We knew we were facing a tough defense, a fast and physical defense," Peterson said. "To kind of go back to the last play before the field goal, being an inch away from the first down, it haunts me. I'm sick about that, so I hold myself responsible for this loss as well."

Even though his longest run went for 13 yards, his linemen kept getting the feeling he was about to break one.

"With our running game, the way it's been is that you get short run, short run, short run, and then you start breaking some," Berger said. "For whatever reason today, we didn't get to that point where we were starting to break them."

Added Fusco: "Not a lot of people know, sometimes it's those three or four-yard gains where you figure stuff out. That's when it turns into a 60 or 80-yard (run)."

Still, in a game where the Vikings thought their offense played well enough to win, they will now go into the offseason earlier than they hoped.

"It stings," Berger said. "We're all going home now."

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