A brief recap of what went down with the Vikings in Washington.
The Minnesota Vikings played the first quarter of football in Washington D.C. exatly like they’ve played during the last three losses. There were penalties, injuries, negative runs, poor pass protection, and a defense that looked uncharacteristically impotent.
This allowed Washington to jump to an earl 14-0 lead, but Mike Zimmer’s Vikings came to life in the second quarter, taking advantage of a turnover, playmaking wide outs, and a big tight end named Kyle Rudolph to regain the lead before halftime.
That score, however, was only 20-14 heading into halftime as the last play of the first half was a missed extra point by Blair Walsh, which had everyone appropriately anxious about how the second half might play out.
The Vikings first half turned around when Pat Shurmur and Sam Bradford started making the offense click, aided by a three-and-out series and a turnover from the defense. He targeted Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph regularly, with Diggs accounting for 102 of Bradford’s 202 first half yards. The three touchdowns came from a Matt Asiata plunge at the goalline, a Kyle Rudolph sideline run after the catch, and a well-designed quick throw to Adam Thielen from three yards out with time expiring.
The third quarter featured many of the same issues, especially on defense, that the Vikings experienced in the first quarter. Luckily, they were able to hold Washington to a pair of field goals only which set up a tie ball game heading into the fourth quarter.
A 50 yard field goal ended up putting the Vikings down by three, but the Vikings got Stefon Diggs involved again on the following drive, where they were helped by a roughing the passer call to drive into enemy territory. Preston Smith shut those scoring hopes down by tipping and then intercepting a Sam Bradford pass near the line of scrimmage.
The drive that followed the turnover had the potential to end the Vikings hopes, but a redzone sack from Danielle Hunter caused Washington to trot out the field goal team to increase their lead to only six points. This setup a two and a half minute opportunity for Bradford and the Vikings offense with no timeouts at their disposal.
Stefon Diggs caught the first five passes of the final drive, with Washington playing in somewhat soft coverage, and the clock ticking. A completion to Thielen was followed by an incompletion to Jerick McKinnon, before Bradford went back to Diggs yet again, bringing the Vikings near the 21 yard line with under a minute remaining.
Bradford then inexplicably took a sack after holding the ball too long and a subsequent holding call (which was declined) on T.J. Clemmings left the Vikings with only a breath of hope. Play stopped as Jake Long was carted off the field with injury before the Vikings attempted a 4th and 17 do-or-die play.
And they died.