Blair Walsh

Getty Images

Bridgewater, Vikings beat Chargers 23-10 in stadium opener

Leave a comment

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Teddy Bridgewater was sharp in his return from a sore shoulder, completing 12 of 16 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown in the first half for the Minnesota Vikings in a 23-10 exhibition victory Sunday over the San Diego Chargers in the official unveiling their new stadium.

After sitting out last week at Seattle, Bridgewater found Kyle Rudolph for a 27-yard score and led the Vikings to points on three of five possessions. Bridgewater even put a slick juke on strong safety Adrian Phillips to further a 22-yard run that set up one of three short field goals by Blair Walsh.

Melvin Gordon, aiming to rebound from a rough rookie season, cruised through the middle of Minnesota’s starting defense for a 39-yard touchdown run. San Diego lost running back Branden Oliver, though, to an Achilles tendon injury on his right leg that required a cart to take him off. Oliver is the primary kickoff returner and a contributing backup behind Gordon and Danny Woodhead.

With sunlight streaming in from the floor-to-ceiling glass on the west side and through the translucent, space-age roof, the Vikings enjoyed a gleaming debut for U.S. Bank Stadium. The sold-out crowd of 66,143 was the largest at home in franchise history.

The Chargers undoubtedly felt some envy, with their decade-and-a-half quest to replace 49-year-old Qualcomm Stadium still unfulfilled and a move to Los Angeles still a possibility. This game was conveniently scheduled for national broadcast on Fox, in case folks in San Diego were still on the fence about public funding.

Philip Rivers went 5 for 9 for 54 yards and an interception, one of three by the Vikings. Rookies Jayron Kearse and Mackensie Alexander picked off Chargers third-stringer Mike Bercovici, who’s competing with Zach Mettenberger for a roster spot.

Bercovici threw three straight passes into the end zone in the fourth quarter that the Vikings had their hands on, the last one finally intercepted by second-round draft pick Alexander.

With Adrian Peterson resting on the sideline, backup Jerick McKinnon rushed eight times for 56 yards. Stefon Diggs caught five passes for 71 yards, all in the first half. Cordarrelle Patterson recovered MyCole Pruitt‘s fumble, one of two lost by the Vikings, in the end zone for a touchdown.

ROOKIE WATCH

Chargers: Sixth-round draft pick Drew Kaser dropped three punts inside the 10-yard line.

Vikings: WR Laquon Treadwell made a tricky catch on a fade route in the corner of the end zone on a 2-point conversion pass from Shaun Hill.

POSITION BATTLES

Chargers: DE Darius Philon had a sack in the first half, continuing a decent training camp in place of holdout rookie Joey Bosa. With Bosa unsigned in a public dispute over his contract, DT Damion Square suspended for the first four games for an NFL substance abuse policy violation and DT Sean Lissemore (shoulder) out for the season, the Chargers need Philon to help stabilize a depleted front.

Vikings: Joe Berger played the whole first half with the first team at center over John Sullivan, who missed last season with a back injury and has not been assured of getting back his job. Berger, entering his 12th NFL season, is also the primary backup at both guard spots.

INJURY UPDATE

Chargers: Beside Oliver, RT Joe Barksdale also came out of the game in the first half, limping off with a left ankle injury.

Vikings: Backup safety Antone Exum, hurt playing on the kickoff return team, left on a cart for X-rays on his leg.

Online:

AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL coverage on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Bengals and Vikings fans react to heartbreaking losses

Leave a comment

There’s a certain level of emotion that only comes out in people during the NFL playoffs and the Wild Card round was no different as Bengals and Vikings fans were forced to watch their seasons come to an end in agonizing fashion.

It will take a long time for Vikings’ fans to move on from Blair Walsh‘s 27-yard miss (which should forever be remembered as “laces out”) and it will take awhile for Bengals’ fans to forget about a pair of 15-yard penalties that doomed Cincinnati’s chances of winning their first playoff game under Marvin Lewis.

But with pain comes strength and hopefully these fans and players will be able to look back at their reactions and have a good laugh.

Before Adam “Pacman” Jones told Dan Patrick that he “knows” Antonio Brown was faking his injury, he needed a box of tissues on the sidelines:

 

Hopefully she can solve Jones’ tissue problem:

 

Maybe Walsh should take some tips from this guy:

 

This Vikings fan got what he deserved for still having a Christmas tree up:

 

Come on man, you can’t say that on Youtube…wait you can! (WARNING: NSFW language)

 

 

Seahawks escape with 10-9 win over Vikings after Walsh miss

4 Comments

MINNEAPOLIS — Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks needed more than three quarters to warm up at Minnesota.

Then, the Vikings kicked away their chance to beat the two-time defending NFC champions.

Blair Walsh‘s 27-yard field goal try into the frigid wind hooked left with 22 seconds remaining, handing the Seahawks a 10-9 victory over the stunned Vikings on a Sunday afternoon in their wild-card round playoff game in below-zero weather that tied for the third-coldest NFL game on record.

The Seahawks (11-6) didn’t score until Russell Wilson’s short touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin early in the fourth quarter, and a fumble by Adrian Peterson for the Vikings on the next possession set up a field goal by Steven Hauschka.

The Vikings (11-6) took the ball back with 1:42 left at their 39 and, aided by a pass interference penalty on Kam Chancellor, drove deep into Seattle’s territory. After draining the clock for the seemingly inevitable win, Walsh missed the winner. He made all three of his earlier attempts.

Seattle will play next weekend at Carolina, where the Panthers had a first-round bye in balmy mid-50s weather.

Huddled around sideline heaters and wearing huge capes, the Seahawks sideline on the shaded side of the stadium was a largely lethargic place for much of the game. Trailing 9-0, Wilson nearly took a huge loss on first down when he fumbled a shotgun snap. But the quarterback who Vikings coach Mike Zimmer called “Houdini” during the week darted right and found Tyler Lockett wide open for a 35-yard completion to set up the score to Baldwin.

Chancellor, who ripped the ball away from Peterson, quickly became the goat after his penalty and subsequent missed tackle on tight end Kyle Rudolph‘s 24-yard reception to the 18. But Chancellor and all of his “Legion of Boom” buddies were amazingly celebrating a few seconds later after Walsh’s miss.

Replays showed the laces on the ball were turned in – instead of facing out – by holder Jeff Locke.

The Seahawks left their last visit to Minnesota with a 38-7 victory, pure domination on both sides of the ball that left no doubt that Dec. 6 afternoon they’d be a legitimate contender to reach their third straight Super Bowl even without the ear-splitting advantage of their home by the bay at CenturyLink Field.

For all their skills, experience and swagger, though, the combination of these conditions and a well-prepared, embarrassed-by-the-previous-performance Vikings team proved to be quite the challenge for the Seahawks.

This was a fittingly frigid finish for Minnesota’s two-year stint outdoors at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium during construction of the new covered downtown stadium. For the first au naturel postseason game here since the NFC championship game in 1976, the grizzled coach of that team, Bud Grant, served as an honorary captain. He strolled out for the coin flip in a Vikings cap and a purple short-sleeved polo shirt, looking ready for a round of golf.

The 88-year-old Grant got a roar of approval from the crowd, most of which was dressed in as many layers as those purple replica jerseys would allow. The announcement of the minus-25 degree wind-chill factor a few minutes later drew an equally loud cheer.

Every mistake and break was magnified in a game like this, and the Vikings were the benefactors for the majority of the first three quarters.

Punter Jon Ryan had to pick up a low snap on Seattle’s first possession and, avoiding a potential block, tried to run up the middle before being upended by Jason Trusnik well shy of the first down. Ryan landed on his face, bloodying his nose, and the Vikings turned the shortened field into their first field goal.

Wilson, who led the NFL in passer rating after racking up a remarkable 24 touchdown passes with only one interception over the last seven games, was essentially reduced to a scrambler in the deep freeze. He had to run around a lot, too, against a relentless defense that was missing three key players in the previous matchup but back to full strength for this one.

The Seahawks, who scored 30-plus points in six of their last seven games, were all out of sorts on offense, with trouble getting some of the plays off in time.

Facing the wind in the second quarter, Wilson had Baldwin wide open behind the safeties at the goal line, but the ball hung in the air and was easily batted down. Headed the same direction toward the open end of the stadium in the third quarter, Wilson overthrew Chase Coffman, and Trae Waynes intercepted the deflected pass to set the Vikings up for another field goal. Cliff Avril‘s roughing-the-passer penalty gifted Minnesota 15 yards on that drive.