Vikings vs. Seahawks: Minnesota's Biggest Winners and Losers from NFL Week 9
The Minnesota Vikings headed into Seattle looking to avoid their first two-game losing streak of the season. It was a matchup between the top two running backs in the NFL with Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch.
The Seahawks, behind three touchdowns from rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, defeated the Vikings 30-20 to stay unbeaten at home and improved to 5-4 on the season.
For the Vikings, it was a bad afternoon, as all of their division opponents won. The loss dropped the Vikings to the same 5-4 record, but with four of their last seven games on the road, these two teams look like they are moving in different directions.
Here's a look at the winners and loser for the Vikings. With the loss dropping the Vikings into third place in the NFC North, don't expect too much from the winners.
Winner: Tight End Allen Reisner
Might as well start with a positive, no matter how small it might be.
Filling in for John Carlson, who missed the game due to a concussion, Allen Reisner was activated for the Seahawks game and caught his first pass of the season.
His reception early in the second quarter was the Vikings' second-longest pass play on the afternoon at 13 yards. It gave the Vikings a 1st-and-goal from the 6-yard line. Two plays later, Adrian Peterson scored his second touchdown and tied the game at 14.
With his catch, Reisner is now only two catches behind Carlson.
Loser: Tight End John Carlson
John Carlson has a dark cloud hanging over him. A knee injury suffered during training camp limited his participation throughout all of the preseason.
Heading into Week 7, he had only caught three passes all season. A concussion against the Cardinals has caused him to miss two straight games.
Winners: The Offensive Line
The offensive line opened gaping holes for Adrian Peterson, allowing him to rush for 182 yards and two touchdowns. On the afternoon, the Vikings finished with 243 net rushing yards—their highest total of the season.
Wait, the other shoe is about to fall...
Losers: That Same Offensive Line
As good as the offensive line was in the running game on Sunday, they were almost as bad in pass protection.
In yet another game, quarterback Christian Ponder was under constant pressure. The Seattle defense got to him for four sacks. The Vikings passing offense finished with only 44 net passing yards.
Even a 10-day layoff couldn't help Ponder and the offense.
Winner: Blair Walsh
Another 50-yard field goal attempt, another three points for rookie Blair Walsh.
With his 55-yard field goal in the third quarter, the rookie is now 5-for-5 this season on field goals beyond 50 yards. He finished 2-for-2 on field goals, along with the two extra points he added another eight points to his total. Coming into the game, Walsh was fourth in the NFL in scoring with 68 points.
If only the NFL gave bonus points for longer field goals, perhaps then the Vikings might have a chance.
Loser: Percy Harvin
With 10:23 left in the first quarter and the Vikings leading 7-0, Percy Harvin coughed up the ball deep in Minnesota territory.
It only took Russell Wilson three plays to lead the Seahawks to a tying touchdown.
This was a bad omen for the Vikings, who have not won a game all season when losing the turnover battle.
Things got worse for Harvin when he suffered an injury to his left leg late in the third quarter. While it knocked him out of the game briefly, he would not catch another pass. He finished with only two receptions in the game for 10 yards.
Loser: Christian Ponder
Something is wrong with Christian Ponder.
Sunday's loss to the Seahawks was the fourth game of the season the Vikings passing offense didn't exceed 200 yards. It was also the second game in the last three he has not exceeded 100 yards passing—in fact, in both of those games, the Vikings failed to exceed even 50 yards passing.
Head coach needs to do something, and fast. Ponder is losing confidence and looks very unsure in the pocket. He is hanging onto the ball too long and appears almost afraid to pass the ball.
Once again, with the Vikings facing a double-digit deficit and forced to go deep, he threw his eighth interception of the season.
Even Donovan McNabb wasn't this bad when Ponder replaced him last season. It's time to sit him on the bench and work his way back.
Biggst Winner: All-Day Adrian Peterson
When Adrian Peterson accounted for all 80 yards on the Vikings' opening drive, he was just getting started. He finished the first half with 144 yards on 12 carries with two touchdowns.
The only thing stopping Peterson was offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, when he took him off the field.
He finished the game wining the battle between the top two running backs with 182 yards on 17 carries and both of the Vikings' touchdowns.
Marshawn Lynch had 124 yards on 26 carries with a touchdown.
Biggest Loser: Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave
With Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin and Kyle Rudolph, the Vikings have plenty of talent. It must be that Musgrave is in over his head as a coordinator.
He was bested by former Vikings offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell as Seattle out gained the Vikings in total offense 385 to 287. The Seahawks averaged 7.3 yards per play, while the Vikings struggled with 1.7 yards per play—and that includes Adrian Peterson's 182 rushing yards as he averaged 10.7 yards per carry.
Seattle held on the ball for 36 minutes in the game and did not turn over the ball.
Defenses have been able to stymie Musgrave's offense that had quarterback Christian Ponder completing over 70 percent of his passes through the first four games of the season. He needs to adapt his game plan to what the defense is showing.
As the old saying goes, you cannot fire the players. For head coach Leslie Frazier, he needs to figure out something on offense, or he might be packing his bags along with Musgrave.