1. Floyd, Vikings defense do the job
The most physically gifted and powerful defensive play the Vikings had Sunday was Sharrif Floyd's 2-yard tackle for loss on third-and-1 from the Vikings 38-yard line with the Vikings leading 3-0 early in the third quarter. It should have been hailed as an All-Pro-caliber play that led to rookie Trae Waynes' first career interception on fourth down and set the tone for the second half. But it'll be lost in the rubble of Blair Walsh's missed 27-yard field goal with 22 seconds left in a 10-9 loss to Seattle in Sunday's NFC wild-card game at TCF Bank Stadium. "It hurts," Floyd said. "To fight so hard to be great and be who we are and for it to be taken away from us like that, it's probably one of the worst ways to lose." If Floyd can stay healthy and not have to fill in at nose tackle, Sunday's play could be a weekly highlight. He timed his jump perfectly, beat guard J.R. Sweezy with a swim move and ran through a hold by tackle Garry Gilliam to drop running back Christine Michael. "I didn't guess the snap count," Floyd said. "It's all about studying. I knew the offense. We knew what they were going to do the whole game."
2. Three third-down conversions. Three.
Walsh should have made the chip shot. But he did score all of the team's points up to that point because, once again, the Vikings couldn't convert enough third downs against Seattle. The last time these teams met, the Vikings lost 38-7 in part because they converted only two of 10 third downs. They also committed nine penalties for 95 yards. Sunday's game was competitive, and there were only two penalties for 46 yards. But the Vikings converted only three of 13 third downs. They converted just one of nine third downs over the game's final 47 minutes. Of those nine third downs, four were third-and-13 or longer. "If you're not converting third downs, you're not winning," guard Brandon Fusco said.
3. First-and-goal and three points. Three.
The Vikings' three scoring drives covered 25, 28 and 19 yards. That's 73 yards, 21 of which were the result of defensive penalties. The most difficult field goal to settle for came as Seattle handed the ball over on downs at its 29-yard line in the first quarter. Punter Jon Ryan aborted his punt after a low snap and a heavy rush by Adam Thielen. Ryan was upended and had his nose busted on a tackle by Jerick McKinnon. Six plays later, the Vikings had first-and-goal at the 7. Adrian Peterson ran twice for 3 yards. On third-and-4, the Vikings had poor play selection and execution when Teddy Bridgewater tried to dump the ball to McKinnon, who was blanketed at the 3-yard line by linebacker K.J. Wright. McKinnon should have caught the ball, but he wouldn't have gone anywhere if he had. "Three points in the playoffs ain't going to cut it," Fusco said.
4. Seattle historically good
Seattle has won four straight defensive scoring titles, a feat not accomplished since the Browns did it five times from 1953 to '57. Six Seahawks defenders have been regular starters on each of those four teams. So there were times when the Vikings were really good, but Seattle simply was better. Case in point: On third-and-4 early in the second quarter, Bridgewater threw a perfect ball that traveled 22 yards in the air to McKinnon. This play will go down, without context, as an incompletion over 20 yards, probably without mention that Earl Thomas, the best safety in the league and one of those six guys mentioned above, made a great play to dislodge the ball from McKinnon and force a punt.
5. Getting 'Tarkentoned' by Wilson
If Russell Wilson ends up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, we have the highlight play to summarize his greatness. The play of the game was a broken play. A shotgun snap that Wilson didn't see. That Wilson retreated for, recovered, scrambled around with and finally turned into a 35-yard completion into the red zone to set up the only touchdown of the game. Frankly, on that play, it was the Vikings getting beat at home, in the coldest home game in franchise history, by a modern-day clone of Fran Tarkenton. "We've seen so often just the magic that comes out of him sometimes," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.