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Week 13 Game Recap: Minnesota Vikings 30, Seattle Seahawks 37


What you need to know

Minnesota Vikings

If it could go wrong, it did for the Vikings this week against the Seahawks. Minnesota was able to make the final score look close, but they did not play well at all this week. The loss does not knock them out of a wild card spot, but it opens the door for several teams behind them to make up ground. Kirk Cousins is now 0-8 on Monday Night Football, Adam Thielen was ruled out again with a hamstring injury, and Dalvin Cook suffered a shoulder injury and left the game in the third quarter. Stefon Diggs went down on the same play as Cook but was able to return to the game after a brief scare. The Vikings had ample time to prepare coming out of their Bye week and they came out flat and uninspired. The Seahawks caught them off guard with a fake punt on 4th down as the Vikings were trying to rally, Dan Bailey missed an extra point that would have pulled the game within 3 in the 4th quarter, and the normally stout rush defense allowed 218 total yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground. There was a shining moment when the Vikings held a 17-10 lead going into half after a freak batted pass was returned by Anthony Harris for a touchdown, but the Seahawks made their half time adjustments and the Vikings did not. Minnesota will limp into their matchup against the Lions at home next week as they look to get back on track and create more separation in the wild card hunt.

Seattle Seahawks

The backfield Timeshare has arrived. Or rather, Rashaad Penny has, which has forced the Seahawks hand. Against a formidable rushing defense, Carson had over 100 yards, and Penny finished with two TDs (one through the air). Russell Wilson had a rough game, yet still put up respectable numbers while leading his team to victory. The passing game was stymied all night, which meant that no Seahawks receiver put up outstanding numbers.

Minnesota Vikings

QB Kirk Cousins, 55 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 38 - 276 - 2 TD / 1 INT
The struggles of Cousins in primetime games continued this week after falling to 0-8 on Monday Night Football. He did not attempt a pass more than 5 yards down the field until well into the second quarter and relied on screens and quick passes to try and move the ball. He was not sacked a single time this week but was often rushed and had to get the ball out early. He was unable to complete any deep shots down the field to Diggs and only managed to salvage his day on a broken coverage long touchdown to Treadwell. He did lead a field goal drive just before half time with less than a minute on the clock but that was the only time, he seemed to preform under pressure this week. After the Seahawks jumped out to a 27-17 lead, Cousins promptly threw an interception to Tre Flowers on the second play of the ensuing drive. The blame can be placed mostly on Diggs who bobbled the ball as he was going to the ground and allowed Flowers to take it away from him. After the defense allowed another touchdown, Cousins finally got on the board with a 58-yard touchdown pass to Laquon Treadwell. Cousins rolled to his right and the corner left his coverage of Treadwell to play the run. From there is was an easy completion and long run to the end zone for Treadwell. That was his only catch of the game. For his second touchdown, Cousins found Rudolph in the middle of the end zone for an amazing 1 handed catch from 3 yards out. Cousins was running out of time in the pocket and let loose a high pass in the middle of the field hoping his big tight end could make the play. Dan Bailey missed the extra point that would have brought the score to within 3 and then a turnover on downs and a fumbled kick return ended the Vikings chance at a comeback. Cousins will hope to repeat his performance against the Lions next week and get the Vikings back on track.

RB Dalvin Cook, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 29 - 1, Rec: 3 - 35 - 0 (4 targets)
It was not a great game for Cook despite finding the end zone in the first half. The breakout running back was largely bottled up by Seattle, even before his fumble and shoulder injury forced him from the game in the 3rd quarter. Cook was averaging just 3.2 yards per carry with his longest run going for 9 yards. He fumbled that 9-yard carry and was very lucky that a Vikings player was able to jump on it. He was not so lucky on his fumble in the 3rd quarter where he also injured his shoulder. Cook was down on the ground for several minutes and was clearly in a lot of pain. He went into the locker room briefly before coming back to the sideline still in full gear. He did not come into the game and Alexander Mattison took over from that point. Cook’s lone bright play came on the first drive of the game. He took the ball 2 yards off the right end and walked into the end zone untouched after a 27-yard end around by Diggs. Cook ended his day leading the Vikings in rush yards but the team only combined for 78 yards on 14 carries. His status for next week is up in the air in a great matchup against Detroit.

RB Alexander Mattison, 27 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 22 - 0, Rec: 4 - 51 - 0 (5 targets)
Mattison was pressed into a starting role early in the 3rd quarter when Cook went down with a shoulder injury. He was very productive with his carries and averaged 5.5 yards per touch. He also was second on the team in receiving yards while catching 4 of his 5 targets. The Vikings had no problem running the same screen play to Mattison that has been so successful for Cook all season. Mattison took one of those screen plays for 17 yards down the sideline and showed a great burst of speed and ability to elude defenders. Depending on the severity of the shoulder injury to Cook, Mattison may get his first opportunity to start next week against Detroit. The last time these 2 teams met, Cook had 25 carries for 142 yards and 2 touchdowns. Mattison would most likely not get 25 carries but there should be a lot of room to run against the Lions and a great chance to score his second career touchdown.

WR Stefon Diggs, 52 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 27 - 0, Rec: 4 - 25 - 0 (9 targets)
It was not a great day for Diggs at the office this week. He caught just 4 of his 9 targets for 25 yards and was smothered in coverage all night. Cousins interception in the 3rd quarter can be placed squarely on Diggs. He initially made the catch but then bobbled the ball up in the air as he was trying to go to the ground. Tre Flowers had the ball fall right into his lap for one of the easiest interceptions he will ever have. Diggs had the longest running play for the Vikings this week with a 27-yard end around that took the ball to the 2-yard line on the Vikings first drive of the game. Dalvin Cook punched it in on the next play and that was the last big play we saw from Diggs this week. There was a scary moment in the 3rd quarter where Diggs got his ankle rolled up and had to leave the field. He was seen sprinting full speed on the side line a few plays later and was able to come back into the game, unlike Dalvin Cook who also went down on the play. Cousins took one deep shot down the field to Diggs and over threw him by at least 5 yards. This was after the ankle injury and Diggs may not have been 100% on the play. His longest catch went for 10 yards and it was an overall frustrating day for Diggs in the offense.

WR Laquon Treadwell, 16 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 58 - 1 (2 targets)
It is tough to make any sort of impact when you only get 2 targets in a game, but Treadwell was able to do just that this week. He only caught 1 of those balls but it went for a 58-yard touchdown to help jump start a comeback attempt in the second half. When Cousins left the pocket and rolled to his right, the corner covering Treadwell jumped up into the play and left him standing all alone about 20 yards down the field. Cousins effortlessly flipped the ball down the field to him and he was able to run the rest of the way untouched into the end zone. Treadwell has not garnered a lot of attention in the offense, even with Adam Thielen still out with an injury. He will need more big plays if he wants to stick around long term.

WR Adam Thielen
Despite practicing as recently as Saturday, Thielen was held out again this week with the same hamstring injury that has kept him out for 3 games and through the Vikings Bye week. What is more concerning is that he did not even travel with the team to Seattle. Thielen suffered a setback with his hamstring early in the week during practice and was held out after having 2 limited sessions to close the week. Thielen has said he will not come back until he feels 100% healthy and able to give everything he has to the offense.

TE Kyle Rudolph, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 50 - 1 (6 targets)
The resurgence continues for Rudolph after he collected his 6th touchdown in his last 6 games. He had double the targets of Irv Smith with 6 and was able to catch 4 of them for 50 yards and a touchdown. His longest play of the game went for 19 yards up the seam and a big first down to help a Viking field goal drive. Rudolph also made a great grab and smartly got out of bounds with the Vikings driving for a field goal with under a minute to go before half. His touchdown catch was a thing of beauty for 3 yards out. Cousins had a clean pocket but nowhere to go with the ball. There were 3 defenders around Rudolph in the middle of the field, but he threw it in that direction anyway. It was a high pass that looked to be going wide of Rudolph until he went up with one hand and came down with the ball. It looked a lot like the catch he made against Dallas in the back of the end zone and brought the Vikings to within 4 points with a little over 7 minutes left in the game. Rudolph seems to have regained his grasp on the starting tight end job and has taken targets away from Irv Smith in recent weeks. The Vikings continue to run multiple 2 and 3 tight end sets and that has greatly benefitted Rudolph.


Seattle Seahawks

QB Russell Wilson, 75 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 31 - 240 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 13 - 0
Wilson had an odd game. He passed for a few yards (240), rushed for a few more (13), and added a couple of scores through the air. But outside of those two scoring plays, he had a very hard time moving the ball downfield, as the Vikings coverage was incredibly tight. In the first half, he stalled twice in in the red zone, and threw an interception. But in the second half he bounced back with five straight scoring drives. Most of his completions were of the shorter variety, with the exception of a bomb to David Moore, who was inexplicably wide open past the secondary for a 60-yard TD. The other score was a screen pass to Rashaad Penny, who rumbled 13 yards to cross the goal line. Wilson’s interception was odder still: the pass was tipped at the line and when it came right back to him, Wilson attempted to bat it down, only to knock it upwards and directly in the path of one of the Vikings, who ran it in for a pick six. This marks two games in a row in which Wilson has had trouble connecting with his usual go to receiver, Tyler Lockett. Meanwhile, DK Metcalf was reliable on short routes and over the middle throughout the game. TE Jacob Hollister also continued to be a first look on many plays, with one good connection this game.

RB Chris Carson, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 23 - 102 - 1, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (2 targets)
Though you wouldn’t know it from his final stat line, but from the start, Carson fully shared the snaps with Rashaad Penny. Carson briefly left the field after a blow to the head, but returned without missing a beat, scoring a short yardage TD (on his second try). Seahawks blockers had a great day, which was good news for Carson up the middle, as he ran with both patience and an excellent power-speed combo, when the play dictated it. On his biggest run, a huge hole opened up for him and brought him around 25 yards, down at the 5 yard line. In the final minutes with the Seahawks holding a narrow lead, both Carson and Penny were successful in moving the chains and run the clock down.

RB Rashaad Penny, 35 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 74 - 1, Rec: 4 - 33 - 1 (5 targets)
Penny saw the field early, entering on the third play, and nearly equaling Chris Carson’s snap count (39-35). Not only that, but over and over, Penny showed that he belonged as – at minimum – a “co-starter” in this backfield. He had a great overall burst with the ball, and often got extra yards with a second effort when it appeared he had been stopped. He was effective both on the outside, where he excels at making the defenders miss, and up the middle. On his reception TD, a screen pass from the 13 yard line, Penny turned on the jets and went in untouched, making three defenders miss along the way. His rushing score came after he first carried the ball from the 5 yard line, then scored on the next play, a shotgun pitch to the outside. Although Carson had more carries, Penny was targeted more often in the passing game, including for the score, and a high one in the back of the end zone that he couldn’t quite pull in. In the final minutes with the Seahawks holding a narrow lead, both Carson and Penny were successful in moving the chains and run the clock down.

WR DK Metcalf, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 75 - 0 (7 targets)
Metcalf had a quietly impressive game, catching several shorter throws over the middle. His first was a short slant that he turned into 19 yards, as he showed again how hard he is to take down after the catch. Later in the game, he fumbled as he went down, however. And one of his longer gains was a 15 yard hitch/screen play on a long third-and-19 play.

WR David Moore, 10 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 65 - 1 (4 targets)
Moore was targeted twice in the end zone, but on one the coverage was tight and he wasn’t able to haul it in; on the other, the pass was borderline catchable. His 60-yard scoring play was perplexing as he found himself completely alone behind the secondary as Wilson hit him in stride and he easily strolled in for the score. Moore seems to always get open enough for a few prime chances each game; the problem is that he loses snaps to Lockett, Metcalf, and now Gordon as well. So he’s always a worthwhile gamble to score, but never consistent.

WR Josh Gordon, 27 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (1 targets)
Gordon has yet to earn his space here as a fantasy relevant receiver, but … he’s Josh Gordon, and you’re curious (…right?). On a positive note, he played the most snaps of any WR not named Lockett or Metcalf. And his 10-yard catch, on his lone target, was a clutch play for a tough first down as he extended for the ball in blanket coverage. If he were to get more snaps or looks, it’s safe to say that he has the trust of his QB.

WR Tyler Lockett, 66 offensive snaps (3 targets)
Lockett was shut down completely, for the first time in over two years. No catches on three targets. It’s possible that his lingering shin injury is contributing to his lackluster results these last two weeks, but he did play the full set of snaps, so it’s hard to come to any firm conclusion. His near misses included an end zone target that was thrown low and tipped at the last moment; a pass over the middle that was just out of his reach as he was again very tightly covered; and a deep ball that was simply not catchable.

TE Jacob Hollister, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 44 - 0 (8 targets)
Hollister made a beauty of a catch over his shoulder in tight coverage, showing some real athleticism, which seems to come with the growing confidence of a QB who is willing to target him in that situation in the first place. The rest of his catches were of the shorter variety, but Hollister continues to prove reliable, and was the first look on the occasional play as well.