The Vikings’ 20-12 preseason victory over the Raiders at TCF Bank Stadium was interrupted for slightly more than an hour Saturday night because of visible lightning nearby.
The game stopped around 8:10 p.m. and resumed at 9:15. There was no halftime, only a four-minute break between the second and third quarters.
The score was tied at 6-6 with 6 minutes, 45 seconds remaining in the second quarter when a lightning bolt lit up the sky to the north and was followed by a loud thunder clap. The teams scurried off the field and fans headed for the concourse, elected to cross the street to Williams and Mariucci arenas, or just plain left for the night. Heavy rain came down during the delay.
The attendance (tickets sold) was announced at 50,656, but the stadium was less than one-third full when play resumed.
The pregame warmups were shortened and the stadium was cleared for about an hour started at 5:30 p.m. because of lightning as well, but the game started on time at 7 p.m.
Vikings kicker Blair Walsh had four misses. He missed a 35-yard field-goal attempt and a 33-yard extra point, both to the right, in the first half. He also missed a 38-yard field goal attempt wide left and a 49-yarder wide right in the fourth quarter. None of those kicks appeared to be affected by the swirling wind, however.
Walsh converted two other extra points, including one that was 43 yards because of a penalty.
Walsh’s 49-yarder with 51 seconds remaining could have sealed the victory for the Vikings. Instead, the Raiders had a final possession down eight points, but cornerback Josh Thomas ended the threat by intercepting a Cody Fajardo pass.
“Didn’t feel real good with how I hit the ball, obviously the results are bad,’’ Walsh said. “I have to do better, preseason or regular season, that can’t happen. I know that. … One miss leads to another, you make those first two, and the last one doesn’t happen. They all come off each other.’’
The Vikings special teams did have two standouts. Marcus Sherels continued his strong preseason performance with a 49-yard kickoff return in the third quarter, and Stefon Diggs had a 29-yard punt return in the fourth.
A familiar sight
Former Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder heard the boo birds when he entered the game for the Raiders following the second-quarter weather delay.
The No. 12 overall pick in the 2011 draft hit Seth Roberts with a 39-yard completion on his first drive to help set up a field goal, but he was decidedly Ponder-like after that, completing six of his next 10 attempts for only 30 yards and getting sacked once.
Taylor Heinecke was the third Vikings quarterback in the game. The rookie from Old Dominion is battling Mike Kafka for the No. 3 spot — assuming the Vikings keep three QBs — and was shaken up when sacked by Ben Heeney and Mario Edwards on his first series, fumbling the ball away.
Heinecke was helped off the field, but returned and eventually “led” the Vikings on a 1-yard touchdown drive near the end of the third quarter. Linebacker Brian Peters, a former Canadian Football League standout trying to make the team, intercepted a Matt McGloin pass and returned it 21 yards to the Raiders 1, setting up a TD run by fullback Blake Renaud.
Heinecke was 0-for-4, although he had two completions nullified because his receiver couldn’t get two feet in bounds.
No. 2 quarterback Sean Hill threw a second-quarter interception on a play that appeared to be a case of receiver Cordarrelle Patterson running the wrong route. Hill also led the Vikings on an 80-yard drive in the final two minutes of the first half, hitting Chase Ford with a 4-yard TD pass to cap it.
Hill was 11-for-17 for 82 yards. Kafka finished up, completing his only two passes for 9 yards.
• Rookie Eric Kendricks got the start at middle linebacker ahead of Audie Cole, who was listed as the starter on the depth chart.
• With Adrian Peterson not even dressed for the game, Jerick McKinnon got 12 early carries, gaining only 25 yards.
• Starting center John Sullivan sat out after missing practices last week because of spasms. Joe Berger started at center.
• Safety Antone Exum (ankle), defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (knee) and tight end MyCole Pruitt (leg) also sat out because of injuries.