Seattle at times used seven defensive backs to slow down Minnesota receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen in Monday's 21-7 victory.
The Minnesota Vikings’ defense was playing its best. Their offense couldn’t get much worse in a 21-7 loss to the Seahawks on Monday night.
“When you’re not putting as many points on the board as you know you’re capable of … it is disappointing,” Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins said. “I think the added disappointment is when your defense is playing so well. Our defense over the last couple of weeks has played playoff football.”
This is the third loss in the last four weeks for the Vikings, who at 6-6-1 are clinging to the NFC’s sixth and final playoff spot in the NFC.
Minnesota narrowly avoided its first shutout since a 34-0 loss at Green Bay in 2007.
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The Seahawks clamped down on the Vikings’ top receivers, Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, often throwing double- or triple-coverage their direction while using seven defensive backs at times.
“That’s a great defense. They’re flying around, they’re rushing the passer, and they’re creating havoc in all levels of their defense,” Thielen said. “We knew that coming in. They’re playing at a high level. That’s why they’re winning games.”
Diggs and Thielen combined for nine receptions and 146 yards, but most of those game in the fourth quarter as the Seahawks began to pull away. The Vikings had just 61 total yards in the first half, and Thielen — who entered the game with 98 catches — didn’t get his first target until midway through the third quarter.
“We didn’t have a lot of explosive plays — again credit the Seahawks for limiting those,” Cousins said. “When you don’t have explosive plays, and you’re kind of marching methodically down the field, it was hard for us to sustain.”
The Vikings finally put a sustained drive together early in the fourth quarter, thanks in part to Cousin’s 48-yard pass to Diggs. But Minnesota after getting a first-and-goal from the Seahawks’ 4-yard line, the Vikings turned the ball over on downs after Cousins’ fourth-down pass for tight end Kyle Rudolph was broken up in the back of the end zone by Bradley McDougald.
“Credit to Seattle. I thought defensively they played very well tonight,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. “They were aggressive and fast and did a nice job of not allowing us to maintain much consistency on our offense all night.”
Cousins’ lost a fumble after being hit by Seahawks rookie Jacob Martin, and Justin Coleman scored on a 29-yard fumble return to give Seattle a 21-0 lead with 2:35 left in the game.
The Vikings didn’t score until there was 1:10 left, when Cousins’ threw a six-yard TD pass to Dalvin Cook.
This is the second game in a row where the Vikings’ offense has struggled, following a 24-10 loss at New England last week.
“We’re trying to get something going. We just need a spark,” Thielen said. “We need a spark and we need it fast.”