Vikings vs. Seahawks: Final Grades and Analysis for Minnesota

Bill HubbellContributor INovember 4, 2012

Vikings vs. Seahawks: Final Grades and Analysis for Minnesota

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    Final Score:

    Seattle Seahakws 30 Minnesota Vikings 20 

    The Seattle Seahawks stayed perfect at home, moving to 4-0 with a 30-20 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

    Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch proved to be a lethal 1-2 punch for the Seahawks, Wilson throwing for three touchdowns and Lynch rushing for 124 yards and a score.

    Adrian Peterson was phenomenal for the Vikings, running for 182 yards and two scores, but the rest of the offense was pitiful, accounting for 94 yards.

    Both teams move to 5-4 on the season. The Vikings play the Lions at home next Sunday in what now becomes a must win for the Vikings to keep any realistic playoff hopes alive.

    Seattle Seahawks 30 Minnesota Vikings 20

    The Seahawks extend their lead to 10 points again as Steven Hauschka converts a 40-yard field goal.

    The Vikings continue to miss too many tackles in letting Seattle march into their territory. Marshawn Lynch did the most damage, picking up 23 yards on a dump off from Russell Wilson.

    Seattle Seahawks 27 Minnesota Vikings 20

    The Vikings get a little help from the refs and Blair Walsh nails a 55-yard field goal to pull the Vikings to within a touchdown.

    Adrian Peterson ripped off another huge run, this time a 28-yarder to get the Vikings out to mid-field. Brandon Browner takes a personal foul to give the Vikings 15 more yards. Percy Harvin left the field after being tackled behind the line of scrimmage, it looked like a bad ankle injury, but no word yet on the severity, or if he'll be back.

    The Vikings looked to let the play clock expire before getting off the field goal, but the refs missed it. Walsh's kick would have been good from 65-yards. 

    Seattle Seahawks 27 Minnesota Vikings 17

    Russell Wilson engineers another long Seattle scoring drive, capped off by a 3-yard touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch to put the Seahawks up by 10.

    Golden Tate was the main Seattle weapon on the drive, taking two quick hitches for nice gains and then picking up a huge first down after hanging on after taking a huge hit from Antoine Winfield.

    The Vikings do themselves no favors, with both Brian Robison and Everson Griffen taking offsides penalties in the red zone to breath new life into the Seattle offense.

    Halftime Score

    Seattle Seahawks 20 Minnesota Vikings 17

    Russell Wilson continues to pick apart the Vikings defense with short passes and moves the Seahawks on another long drive. Wilson makes a nice effort on a 4th and 1 to pick up a first down. 

    Golden Tate makes a couple of Vikings miss on his way to an 11-yard touchdown after a short pass from Wilson to give Seattle the lead. Kevin Williams blocks the extra point to keep it a three point game.

    Minnesota Vikings 17 Seattle Seahawks 14

    The Vikings get a big assist when Marcus Trufant gets called for pass interference 24 yards down the field. Ponder with a couple of completions to get deep into the red zone and then Adrian Peterson scores from 2-yards out for his second touchdown of the year.

    The Vikings defense comes up with a stop on Seattle to set up Minnesota's next possession. Adrian Peterson continues to dazzle, with spectacular runs that pick up 39 yards. Percy Harvin then explodes up the gut for another 15-yard gain. The drive stalls there, but Blair Walsh is perfect from 36-yards out and the Vikings go up by three.

    Seattle Seahawks 14 Minnesota Vikings 7

    Russell Wilson leads a methodical 78-yard drive down the field and caps it off with a 11-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Sidney Rice for a touchdown. Wilson is carving up the Vikings defense by buying himself time in the pocket and on rollouts and then throwing accurately to his receivers.

    Minnesota Vikings 7 Seattle Seahawks 7

    Turnovers will kill you in this league.

    Marcus Trufant makes a great strip while helping tackle Percy Harvin and the Seahawks get the ball on the Minnesota 17-yard line. After a couple of Marshawn Lynch runs, Russell Wilson throws a perfect 6-yard touchdown pass to Golden Tate dragging across the back of the end zone a half a step ahead of A.J. Jefferson. Not much Jeffeson could, do, just a perfect throw by Wilson.

    Minnesota Vikings 7 Seattle Seahawks 0

    Or that score could read: Adrian Peterson 7, Seahawks 0. 

    In a battle of the 7th ranked rush defense in the league against the NFL's leading rusher, the early advantage goes to Adrian Peterson. Peterson carried a pile for 5 yards on the game's first play and then broke a tackle behind the line of scrimmage before making two beautiful cuts against the grain and finding 74 yards of daylight to the Seattle 2-yard line. After an incompletion, Peterson finished the drive off with a 2-yard touchdown plunge to give Minnesota an early lead.

    You can see the game on Fox and follow along live with us as we provide live game grades and analysis and follow up with final grades shortly after the game.

Christian Ponder Final Grade: F

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    Final Grade: F

    It's hard to win a football game when the other team's quarterback has a rating that's 90 points higher than yours.

    Last Sunday Matthew Stafford riddled the Seahawks pass defense for 352 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 28-24 win. After the game the Seahawks pass defense stood 23rd in the league.

    They either got a whole lot better in a week, or the Vikings passing offense has some problems.

    Let's get some obvious problems out of the way first: The Vikings offensive line (and running backs) can't pass block. The Vikings receivers aren't getting open.

    The quarterback is playing worse than all of them.

    Ponder is making poor decisions, poor throws and looks like he's lost all confidence in himself. Anything beyond a 10-yard pass he's just throwing up for grabs. He is throwing poorly from the pocket and even worse on the run.

    The refrain from Ponder apologists over the past month has consisted of "growing pains," "maturation process," and "learning curve."

    That's all true, but there's no part of the learning curve in the NFL that involves hitting a receiver who's five yards away. Ponder missed two short passes early in the game and went down hill from there. And he missed them badly. Meanwhile, the 5'10" rookie on the other side of the field, looked pretty mature on Sunday. Russell Wilson was sidestepping the Vikings rush all day long and making smart, accurate throws to receivers.

    Ponder is in free fall and the Vikings will have a hard time winning another ball game with him playing at this level.

    There will be plenty of talk of the poor offensive line and complete lack of any targets this week in Viking land and they will all be right.

    But 63 yards passing and a 37.3 rating with short passes being missed by three feet grades as an F. No way around it.

    4th Quarter Grade: F

    Ponder follows up his 16-yard 3rd quarter with a 5-yard 4th quarter.

    He's making poor decisions and poor throws. It's hard to lose a football game when you have a running back go for 182 yards and 2 touchdowns, but it's impossible to win a game when your quarterback plays like Ponder did today.

    The Vikings had to get points on their first possession of the 4th quarter and after a short run, Ponder miss fired on his first pass and then just threw one up for grabs down the sidelines to Harvin. 

    The body language of every player on the Vikings offense screamed that the game was over at that point.

    3rd Quarter Grade: D

    I hate to keep beating the same drum, but it's not great when a 16-yard passing quarter seems not so bad for your quarterback.

    Ponder isn't getting any time to throw, but when he is, he's doing nothing with it.

    One 3rd and 8 in the middle of the quarter was pretty emblematic of how things have gone for the last four games for the Minnesota passing attack: Seattle threw a heavy rush on the right side of the line, Phil Loadholt let both guys by him for no apparent reason and Adrian Peterson tried to pick up one of the two, but completely missed him and Ponder was crushed by both defenders.

    2nd Quarter Grade: D

    This is getting really bad.

    Facing the league's 23rd ranked pass defense and armed with a running back who's completely dominating the Seattle defense, Ponder threw for 42 yards in the first half. You can't win football games when your quarterback is playing like this.

    As bad as Ponder played the past three weeks, he's been worse today. He's showing no awareness in the pocket, he's way off the mark on some pretty simple throws, and probably worst of all, his confidence is plummeting and it's obvious to anyone watching the game.

    In a game that was advertised as two young quarterbacks who are trying to find their way, Russell Wilson has been so much better than Ponder that it makes that pre-game analysis look silly.

    1st Quarter Grade: F

    You only have to look as far as the Seattle offense to see how a quarterback can buy himself some time, which also lets his receivers get open, and then deliver accurate throws to move the ball down the field.

    Christian Ponder was just awful trying to throw the ball on the run in the first quarter. Twice he missed open receivers by a wide margin on throws that should be pretty simple for an NFL quarterback.

    Ponder basically threw one up for grabs on a fade pattern to Percy Harvin that fell incomplete.

    If Ponder doesn't start to show some type of threat, look for Seattle to load the box to bottle up Peterson. 

Vikings Offense Final Grade: C-

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    Final Grade: C-

    Let's be clear, that's one big, fat, giant A+ and 10 Fs. (We love ya Percy, but you can't fumble the ball deep in your own end.) 

    The blocking is terrible. The Vikings leading receiver had 1 catch for 14 yards. The quarterback is playing with his finger firmly planted on the panic button. 

    Adrian Peterson deserves a helluva lot better than this.

    4th Quarter Grade: F

    The Vikings entered the 4th quarter down only 7 points.

    They not only didn't get any points, they didn't get a first down in the fourth quarter.

    Their quarterback is bottoming out and taking the offense with him. 

    3rd Quarter Grade: C-

    A third straight A+ for Peterson and nothing else.

    The offensive line is getting destroyed. Even on several of Peterson's long gains, he's had to break out of a tackle behind the line of scrimmage.

    Both Harvin and Ponder ended the quarter limping, so the Vikings will have to really man up to win this thing in the fourth quarter.

    2nd Quarter Grade: B

    Another A+ for Adrian Peterson, who's been nothing short of amazing. Peterson has racked up 144 yards rushing and two touchdowns and we're only at halftime.

    The line continues to run block better than pass protect, both John Sullivan and Brandon Fusco have flat missed blocks or just been bowled over by Seattle linemen. 

    Ponder's been abysmal, nothing more to add there.

    First Quarter Grade: C

    Adrian Peterson gets an A+, the rest of the unit gets a D. 

    Peterson had his best half of the season, both overpowering Seattle and making them miss.

    Percy Harvin got stripped deep in his own territory leading to a short field for the Seahawks. Ponder was brutal in the first quarter.

    The offensive line was mediocre, Peterson did have a couple of nice blocks on his runs, but Ponder hasn't been given any time to make anything happen.

Vikings Defense Final Grade: C-

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    Final Grade: C-

    Talk about dying a slow death. The Vikings defense was pretty good for about 3/4 of their time on the field. It was the other 1/4 that killed them. 

    Here's a good stat for you: Both offenses averaged 5.4 yards per play.

    That's a lot to give up, and unfortunately the Vikings average was completely due to one player's dominant performance. Not so for Seattle.

    Russell Wilson was nothing short of fantastic for Seattle, moving the Seahawks up and down the field with his legs and his arm. Wilson was moving deftly in and out of the pocket and threading the needle on almost all of his passes. Save for four drops in the first half, Wilson's numbers would have been a lot better.

    Marshawn Lynch was almost as good, running for 124 punishing yards.

    One sack and no interceptions. Just four interceptions in nine games (the Bears have 17).

    They've certainly been on the field way too much over the past month. They have to be getting a bit frustrated with their middling offense. But the bottom line is they have to make more big plays and come up with more stops.

    4th Quarter Grade: C

    For perhaps the first time this season, the Vikings defense looked worn out in the fourth quarter.

    Whether it was the power of Marshawn Lynch, the surgical performance of Russell Wilson, or the fact that their offense was playing with three blown tires, the Vikings defense just looked defeated halfway through the quarter.

    The effort never stopped and it had to feel good for Jared Allen and Brian Robison to finally get to Wilson after a frustrating afternoon, but it wasn't enough.

    They only gave up three points in the quarter, but they desperately needed a big play and couldn't come up with one.

    3rd Quarter Grade: C

    This has been a supremely hard hitting game and the Vikings defense is doing their part. 

    Two offsides penalties certainly hurt during the Seahawks 9 play, 72-yard touchdown drive. The Seahawks have mixed the run and pass about equally and the Vikings defense hasn't come up with any big plays to slow them down.

    2nd Quarter Grade: C-

    Russell Wilson is making the Vikings look bad. Credit to Wilson for sure, but the Vikings need to find a way to either get to him, or stay on his receivers a beat longer. Lynch has run for a hard 55 yards and Wilson hits the half with a threw the roof rating of 132.7. He's only thrown for 106 yards, but he's made them all count.

    Somebody in the secondary is going to have to make a play at some point to slow the Seattle offense down.

    1st Quarter Grade: C

    Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson are having their way with the Minnesota defense.

    The two touchdowns scored by Seattle is a little deceiving, as one was on a short field after a Percy Harvin fumble.

    Wilson has been spectacular, buying time in and out of the pocket and then making smart accurate throws to open receivers. Three drops by the Seattle receivers make Wilson's numbers worse than they should be.

    Can't really blame the defense for the big gain on the double pass by Seattle, just a nice call and executed brilliantly, that would have fooled any defense.

    Having said that, the touchdown pass moments later to Sidney Rice illustrated a huge problem with the Tampa 2 defense. Dear Vikings defensive coaches: If you think Jasper Brinkley can cover Sidney Rice downfield, you're a terrible coach. Brinkley looked like a lost kid at the state fair as Rice brought in his uncontested 11-yard touchdown.

Vikings Special Teams Final Grade: B+

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    Final Grade: B+

    Chris Kluwe bounced back with a good game, save the poor punt in the fourth quarter. Walsh drilled another one from 55 yards. 

    Harvin and Sherels were both very good in the return game.

    4th Quarter Grade: D

    Chris Kluwe's 35-yard punt was all that happened. It gave the Seahawks good field position and led to the only points of the quarter.

    3rd Quarter Grade: A

    Chris Kluwe with a 53-yard punt and great coverage to dump the dangerous Leon Washington for minus yards.

    Rookie Blair Walsh continues to be sensational, connecting from 55 yards to keep the Vikings in it.

    2nd Quarter Grade: B+

    Blair Walsh nails his 36-yard field goal. Not much else happens on special teams.  

    1st Quarter Grade: B+

    Not a lot of action for the special teams. Chris Kluwe rebounded from a poor showing last week with a nice 55-yarder, but the coverage was poor and Leon Washington took it out to the 22.

    Percy Harvin with a burst on a 39-yard return that was close to being busted.

Vikings Coaches Final Grade: D+

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    Final Grade: D+

    Not much to rave about on the scheme. Can somebody teach Ponder not to drop back 12 yards every time he rolls out? 

    Stop telling us how the defense works, if you have Jasper Brinkley trying to cover Sidney Rice in the end zone, it's a stupid scheme.

    There will be a lot of talk in Minnesota this week wondering why they didn't turn things over to Joe Webb in this game. It was certainly winnable halfway through the third quarter, but it was pretty obvious that Ponder wasn't going to win it.

    Your team is in free fall, can somebody yell at someone for something? Show a pulse.

    4th Quarter Grade: D

    I'm not really sure how to grade them. Were they there?

    Pete Carroll may have made a dumb challenge, but at least he seemed to be an emotional leader of his team. He used Wilson and Lynch brilliantly and continually gouged at the Vikings defense.

    The Seahawks couldn't stop Adrian Peterson, but it turned out they didn't have to.

    3rd Quarter Grade: C

    The Seahawks seem to be taking it to the Vikings physically, which really hasn't happened all year. 

    The Vikings offense has absolutely nothing after Peterson and it doesn't seem like the offense came up with anything different at the break.

    2nd Quarter Grade: C

    The Vikings coaches get a C for being smart enough to keep feeding the ball to Adrian Peterson. It's tough to grade the coaching right now as their quarterback seems to be in free fall.

    They'll have to make some adjustments at halftime to figure out how to get to Russell Wilson just a bit quicker, or keep him contained in the pocket.

    First Quarter Grade: D

    If you think you can have Jasper Brinkley covering Sidney Rice 15 yards down the field in the end zone, then you can't get a higher grade than D. 

    What do they do with Christian Ponder all week? He looks like he's getting worse and worse.