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Week 14 Game Recap: Minnesota Vikings 7, Seattle Seahawks 21


What you need to know

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings season is on the verge of collapse after their most recent loss to the Seahawks. The game was riddled with errors, poor calls, and ineffective play on the offensive side of the ball. Kirk Cousins is not looking like the quarterback everyone thought they were signing or is just continuing to not show up in big games like he has for his entire career. The offense failed to reach 300 total yards of offense and the defense was the only thing keeping them in the game. The Vikings held Russell Wilson to 72 yards passing and only allowed him to complete 50% of his throws. Unfortunately, they also allowed over 200 yards on the ground and could not overcome a defensive touchdown by Seattle. There was a key flag picked up on a blocked field goal in the 4th quarter. At this point the game was still 6-0 in favor of Seattle and Bobby Wagner was flagged for using other defenders to aid his jump over the line to make the block. This penalty comes with a 15-yard walk off and would have given the Vikings a first down. No explanation was given on the play and the Vikings were unable to challenge. Things are quickly falling apart on the Vikings offense with Adam Thielen speaking out about play calling and poor performances all over the place. The Vikings play host to the Miami Dolphins next week as they look to get back on track and save their season.

Seattle Seahawks

This ought to be short. Russell Wilson threw for a career-low 72 yards, and added a ridiculously dumb interception along the way. The running game remained strong, with the dynamic upstart Rashaad Penny seeming to finally take the #2 designation from strong-and-steady Mike Davis. The receiving core was minus Doug Baldwin, which may have some-thing to do with Wilson’s not-so-lofty total (but still, it’s no excuse). Give the Vikings defense credit where it’s due, but this one was awful for the Seahawks offense, no matter how you look at.

Minnesota Vikings

QB Kirk Cousins, 58 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 33 - 208 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 5 - 0
It was another very poor performance for Cousins this week. He is not getting the ball out on time and is missing his receivers. Cousins missed on 13 of his throws this week, making for one of his least accurate games of the season. He failed to push the ball down the field and only averaged 6.3 yards per completion. His lone touchdown did not come until the end of the game when there was not enough time left to matter. The pass was a short 6-yard strike to Cook across the middle. Unfortunately, it came on the heels of a strip sack returned for a touchdown by the Seahawks on the previous drive. That pushed it to a 3-score game and well out of reach for Cousins. The route tree was unimaginative this week and the Vikings continue to run the same plays. Defenses have found a way to contain Thielen underneath and the Vikings are not stretching the field with Diggs enough. It has been an all-around failure from the play calling to the decisions made by Cousins on the field. A perfect example is the 4th and goal play from the 1-yard line in the 4th quarter. Rather than line up in a power formation and run it in, they attempted to throw the ball. Cousins targeted Rudolph but threw it behind him and the play was broken up by the Seahawks. It was a bad call and a bad read that could have changed the game entirely. Cousins will look to get back on track against the Dolphins next week.

RB Dalvin Cook, 49 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 55 - 0, Rec: 5 - 28 - 1 (7 targets)
The running game has just not been there for the Vikings this season. Cook finally got a fair amount of carries this week but was unable to do very much with them. His longest run was 13 yards and his 13 carries were 10 more than anyone else on the team. The Vikings elected to go with Murray in the 4th and 1 situation, but he was stopped for no gain and it was a turnover on downs. Cook had 7 targets in the passing game but was ineffective outside of the late 6-yard touchdown. Cousins found him across the middle for a garbage time touchdown with the game already well out of hand. Coach Zimmer entered the week without committing to Cook in the back field. He said the flow of the game would dictate how many carries he had and that they were not ready to turn over the keys entirely just yet. The lack of confidence is baffling as the Vikings fight to stay in the playoff race.

RB Latavius Murray, 8 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 4 - 0
Murray was a complete nonfactor this week for the Vikings. He only received 3 carries and came up short in the one spot they really needed him. Murray's name was called on a 4th and 1 play in Seattle territory, but he was stopped short of the line to gain. Maybe this play is what caused the Vikings to not run the ball on the 1-yard line later in the game. Murray has seen a decline in carries since Cook came back but the Vikings also are not committed to running the ball at all. Look for Murray to sign elsewhere in the off season where he will get used more.

WR Adam Thielen, 56 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 8 - 0, Rec: 5 - 70 - 0 (7 targets)
It has been a tough stretch for Thielen since his magical 8 week run to start the season. Teams have found ways to take away his routes underneath and are disrupting his timing with Cousins. After the blowup on the sideline against the Patriots last week, Thielen was heard cussing about the play calling of the Vikings this week. He caught 5 of his 7 targets, but most of it came late in the game when the Seahawks had secured the lead. He had 1 big gain of 35 yards, which accounted for half of his total in the game. Thielen was targeted in goal to go situations twice but the errant pass from Cousins fell to the ground both times. It is going to take a lot more from both Thielen and Cousins to help turn the Vikings season around with 3 games to go. They need to find their rhythm from the first several weeks to ignite that offense.

WR Stefon Diggs, 50 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0, Rec: 4 - 76 - 0 (6 targets)
By the time Diggs made a big play it was too little too late. His 48-yard catch down the side line late in the 4th quarter helped set up the only score for the Vikings but there was not enough time left to make a difference. The rest of the game was a comedy of errors from Cousins and ineffective play calling. Diggs had more than half of his yards on that one big play and was tackled right after the catch or after a short gain on almost every other throw. Cousins was delivering the ball just a little too late and Diggs had not time to break free. With the Vikings not showing any sort of run game, teams have been able to focus their time and attention on Diggs and Thielen. It is almost impossible to make plays when the ball is not getting there on time or when there are extra defenders in the secondary. It is going to take a monumental effort from Diggs in the final 3 weeks and a lot of other things to happen around the league for the Vikings to make the playoffs.

TE Kyle Rudolph, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 7 - 0 (5 targets)
Another week and another poor showing for Rudolph. The entire offense struggled this week and not just Rudolph. The only time his number was called when it mattered was on a 4th and goal play from the 1 where the ball was thrown behind him and into coverage. Rudolph was unable to make the catch and it may have been an interception if Cousins had actually thrown it to the correct spot. Rudolph caught 2 of his 5 targets and failed to surpass 10 total yards. It has been a very down season for the big tight end and he is starting to see some competition from Ty Conklin in recent weeks. The change to Cousins this year has not been beneficial for Rudolph.


Seattle Seahawks

QB Russell Wilson, 66 offensive snaps, Pass: 10 - 20 - 72 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 7 - 61 - 0
Wilson had the kind of day you just want to forget about and move on from. Career low in passing yards? Check. Rookie-like mistakes in the clutch that lead to a turnover? Check. Zero percent red zone conversion rate? Check. On a day that go to receiver Doug Baldwin was out of action, Wilson was chased from the start, which led to an above average (but not quite season high) seven rushing attempts on the day. He looked strong on one play, as he fought for a first down rather than go with the QB slide move. When he did have an opportunity to air it out, the pass was under- or over-thrown, every single time – including one to Tyler Lockett that drew a long pass interference call. It was the polar opposite of the uncanny deep accuracy we usually see from Wilson’s arm. He had four chances in the red zone, and came away with: 2 sacks, 3 incompletions, and a shameful no-look, wild throw-like interception that you wouldn’t wish on a high school quarterback. The worst part was that, had he simply thrown it away when he had the chance to do so, they had the ball at the two yard line, with enough time on the clock for another play. Instead, it was a hair away from being a pick-six, and ended the half on a sour note. Wilson redeemed himself ever so slightly near the end, with the Seahawks still clinging to their 6-0 lead, as he ran the ball down the sideline for a 40 yard gain, setting the stage for the game’s only touchdown.

RB Chris Carson, 35 offensive snaps, Rush: 22 - 90 - 1
Carson had perhaps the only fantasy friendly line on either side of the ball. With a long gain of 11 yards, he played a strong and steady game throughout, and looked as impressive taking the ball outside as he did with his patented power running game up the middle. His two yard touchdown burst up the middle was in important nail in the coffin near the end of the game, that suddenly put the game out of reach. His gutsy running was the glue that held this offense together. Carson remains the clear #1 runner in this backfield.

RB Rashaad Penny, 14 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 44 - 0
Penny has finally usurped backfield mate Mike Davis for the keys to the #2 RB designation. He was explosive and dynamic in limited work against the Vikings. The most notable was on a play in which he saw the called play (left side run) blocked and changed direction for a 17-yard gain down the right side. What made it all the more impressive was that it looked like he still should have been bottled up. The combination of his quick decision – he did not cut back because he was fully cornered; that would have been too late. No, it was a clear and bold choice that, once acted upon, he somehow made good on with an extra dose of speed and pure gumption.

RB Mike Davis, 18 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 22 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (1 targets)
Carson had perhaps the only fantasy friendly line on either side of the ball. With a long gain of 11 yards, he played a strong and steady game throughout, and looked as impressive taking the ball outside as he did with his patented power running game up the middle. His two yard touchdown burst up the middle was in important nail in the coffin near the end of the game, that suddenly put the game out of reach. His gutsy running was the glue that held this offense together. Carson remains the clear #1 runner in this backfield.

WR Tyler Lockett, 56 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - -3 - 0, Rec: 5 - 42 - 0 (6 targets)
Lockett was the most reliable receiver of the bunch, and without him, it would be scary to see the potential passing line in this one. All catches were of the shorter variety, but he made a few clutch plays. Namely, coming back to make a low diving catch to convert a key 3rd down; a key play in which he drew a long pass interference call (which set up a field goal), and a nifty behind-scrimmage crossing pattern to secure a 2-pt conversion late in the game.

WR David Moore, 52 offensive snaps (5 targets)
Moore showed once again that he is not quite ready for prime time. While he has proven that he is a fine complementary piece of the offense, Moore is clearly not quite up for the clutch moments. He wasn’t without his opportunities. First was a deep pass in which he had enough of a step on his man – underthrown, not his fault. A terrible drop on what should have been an easy first down on a slot slant pattern, which stalled a drive. And the icing on the cake: A beautiful TD catch, in stride, near the back of the end zone… with … only one foot in bounds. Moore has talent, and value in this offense, but for every ‘wow’ game, there is also one of these. Consistency. Not there yet.

TE Nick Vannett, 29 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (1 targets)
Since his eight target explosion in Week Nine, Vannett has come back down to earth, with no more than two targets in any week since. On a day in which the whole passing game amounted to 72 yards, he hauled in a 12-yard first down conversion early in the game, and then wasn’t looked to again. Unless your pool has a ‘Percentage of Team’s Passing Yards to Tight Ends’ stat, you can safely move on.