Vikings still dealing with defeat despite strides by young D
MINNEAPOLIS — The fourth-and-10 pass by Russell Wilson floated in the air, as Minnesota rookie cornerback Cameron Dantzler awkwardly overplayed the 39-yard pass to D.K. Metcalf and allowed Seattle’s winning drive to stay alive.
As Wilson added yet another layer to his late-game aura in rallying the Seahawks to a 27-26 victory, the Vikings paid their most devastating price to date for going young on defense. After a commanding performance that included four first-half sacks, a crucial fourth-quarter interception and only 220 yards permitted over the first 58 minutes, the Vikings (1-4) withered on the two plays that mattered most. Metcalf’s second fourth-down grab came in the end zone with 15 seconds left.
Dantzler and fellow rookie cornerback Jeff Gladney took every snap, valuable experience that provided little solace in the soggy aftermath in Seattle.
“They’re disappointed. They fought their rear ends off tonight, and we didn’t get what we needed to get to. We’ll just keep fighting and keep getting better,” said coach Mike Zimmer, who at times had four rookies on the field on a defense currently carrying only three starters in the same places in the lineup they finished last season.
The Vikings held the Seahawks scoreless in the first half, only the sixth time in nine seasons that’s happened with Wilson at quarterback. They still found themselves wincing about a couple of loose coverages at the end.
For all the success they had on offense, too, — even after running back Dalvin Cook departed with a groin injury on the first snap of the second half — the Vikings were left shaking their heads. Kirk Cousins had a fumble and an interception that fueled a 21-0 surge by the Seahawks in a span of just 1:53. A failed 2-point conversion attempt later in the third quarter, when a draw by Cousins was thwarted, loomed large. Alexander Mattison’s no-gain run at the Seattle 6-yard line on fourth-and-inches after the two-minute warning gave the ball back to the Seahawks.
Had the Vikings kicked that earlier extra point then settled for the easy field goal, they would have led by nine.
“Honestly, the message in the locker room is we can be a dang good football team. We saw it tonight. We saw it the last couple weeks,” wide receiver Adam Thielen said. “We’ve just got to finish. One more play.”