Apparently in keeping with the national trend, Minnesota Vikings' head coach Brad Childress loosened up his playbook on Sunday in Seattle, allowing his quarterback to throw beyond five yards. For good measure, the running back was given a shot as well. The result was a significant Vikings' victory and a crushing Seahawk loss. All tidied up with a cautionary bow for the Vikings.
Not everything went well for the Vikings on Sunday. Their usually dependable kicker missed a makeable field goal attempt, the right side of their offensive line continued to take utterly senseless penalties, and the head coach again made a questionable, albeit successful, challenge. Each had the potential to undermine the Vikings' efforts. And early on, it looked as though they might.
In the end, however, much more went right for the Vikings against the suddenly endangered Seahawks. The Vikings' defense continued to demonstrate why it must be considered in the top three of NFL rush defenses, the linebackers continued to make plays, and the offensive line finally provided a reasonable measure of pass protection and run blocking. The result was a late-coming, though convincing, 31-13 road victory over a team suddenly in dire straights.
The Vikings' predicament might have been other that it was were it not for a critical play in the third quarter. Tied at ten, a Seattle misfortune, the loss of quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, opened the flood gates. What ensued were numerous Seahawk errors and, ultimately, a Vikings' victory.
Minnesota scored a touchdown on its first possession following Hasselbeck's injury. But even with a touchdown lead, momentum and the outcome of the game remained in doubt. And, when the Vikings failed to convert an interception into points following Ryan Longwell's missed 46-yard field-goal attempt, even the Vikings' playcallers saw ominous signs.
But Hasselbeck's replacement, former Iowa State Cyclone Seneca Wallace, followed his first interception of the game with two fumbles--one of which he recovered, the other which the Vikings recovered for a touchdown--and another interception. And that was that.
And though the Vikings left Seattle with the object of the weekend secured, they received notice of one potential trouble-spot for a team currently on the rise. That potential trouble-spot is that, like Seattle, the Vikings are only one well-placed injury away from having what could be a successful season turn into a lost season.
Without Hasselbeck, and already missing two key offensive linemen and last year's MVP running back, Seattle suddenly looks a lot less like the 2005 Seahawks and much more like a team that will struggle to win games. Wallace is a nice backup, but that's what he is at this point in his career--a guy who spells the starter for a few games. And that's what Brad Johnson's backup, Brooks Bollinger, is at this point in his career. If the Vikings liked what Wallace did when he entered the game on Sunday, then they might want to consider shopping for a veteran backup to complement Bollinger.
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