The Minnesota Vikings took their annual trip to Seattle over the weekend and they came up empty handed yet again. The Vikings go to 1-4 on the season and Mike Zimmer is now 0-5 in his career against the Seahawks.
Despite leading Seattle in almost every statistical category, the Vikings came up one point short with a final score of 27-26. The Vikings controlled the ball for over 39 minutes, had a total of 449 yards for 31 first downs and had two turnovers. The Seahawks had just over 20 minutes of ball possession, had 314 total yards for 18 first downs and had one turnover.
Those stats alone should point to the Vikings winning this game, but they managed to find a way to lose against a team that’s had their number since Zimmer’s arrival. The coaching game plan was aggressive, but that was needed against an unbeaten team with the MVP frontrunner.
The game ultimately came down to a fourth-and-one play deep in Seattle territory, where Alexander Mattison missed his hole and was stopped short. Russell Wilson and company then marched down the field for a 94-yard drive that ended with DK Metcalf’s second touchdown of the night.
It’s hard to speculate whether Dalvin Cook being in for the final drive would have changed the outcome of the game. Mattison played extremely well totaling 112 yards on the ground, but the missed hole on one play is what cost the game.
Cook wasn’t on the field due to a groin injury that occurred early in the third quarter. Zimmer said after the game that Cook will be getting a precautionary MRI on his leg to find out the severity of the injury.
Kirk Cousins didn’t have his greatest game as a Viking, but he didn’t play awful either. He totaled 249 yards and two touchdowns through the air, but his interception and two fumbles were both costly mistakes for the Vikings. Two of his turnovers led to Seattle scoring drives, while his final “fumble” of the night ended the game.
The biggest offensive concern that has been an issue since Cousins arrival in Minnesota was the play at the guard position. Dru Samia has been bullied by defenders and he got called for multiple penalties throughout the night. There was a lot of buzz around him taking over for Pat Elflein this offseason, but at this point Elflein might be the missing piece on this offensive line.
Elflein has remained on the IR, but that shouldn’t change the fact that Samia needs to be replaced. The Vikings used a second-round pick on Ezra Cleveland and they should take a hard look at implementing him along their offensive line moving forward.
On the other side of the ball Zimmer’s defense came ready to play. They shut down Wilson in the first half with Zimmer getting creative with his blitz packages. They were given a couple short field situations on Cousins’ turnovers, which led to over half of Seattle’s points.
Wilson’s drive at the end of the game is exactly why he should be the frontrunner for MVP this season. Cameron Dantzler allowed a fourth and long conversion to Metcalf that kept Seattle’s chances alive, and he ultimately scored the game winning touchdown just moments later.
This defensive unit isn’t going to be as solidified as it has been in past years given the amount of injuries and youth in the secondary. Re-signing Yannick Ngakoue should be a priority this offseason, as the Vikings would have the combination of two elite pass rushers whenever Danielle Hunter is ready to return. Throwing Michael Pierce into that mix would make for a much stronger front four in 2021.
Getting off to a 1-4 start is frustrating alone for the Vikings, but it’s even worse considering they have lost their last two by a total of two points. This team isn’t far off from being a contender, but it might not be until 2021 for this team to live up to its potential.