A week after missing a possible game-winning field goal in Arizona, Vikings kicker Greg Joseph responded by making all six kicks, including three second-half field goals, during Sunday's 30-17 victory over the Seahawks.
Joseph outdueled Seahawks kicker Jason Myers, who entered the game having made a Seattle franchise-record 36 consecutive field goals dating back to the 2019 season. He tacked on another, a 53-yarder, before missing a 44-yard attempt in the second quarter.
Myers' miss kept the Vikings within 17-14 before halftime. They took the lead on the next drive when quarterback Kirk Cousins found receiver Justin Jefferson for a 3-yard touchdown. Joseph tacked on the extra point, and three field goals after halftime.
"Greg has done a great job for us," Cousins said. "There will be a lot of big kicks up ahead. It's a huge part of the game."
Joseph has made six of seven field-goal attempts, missing only the late 37-yard try in Arizona, and nine of 10 extra-point tries through three games as the Vikings kicker.
'Waiting for that moment'
In his 19th NFL game, Jefferson became the fastest in Vikings history to 100 career catches, surpassing the mark with an 8-yard grab from Cousins in Sunday's first quarter. Jefferson, who finished with nine catches for 118 yards and a touchdown, said he didn't know about the record until he looked up at the jumbotron at U.S. Bank Stadium.
By his fifth catch of the afternoon, Jefferson had his first touchdown — a 3-yard grab near the pylon — scored in front of fans at U.S. Bank Stadium, which didn't allow any because of COVID-19 concerns in 2020 during Jefferson's rookie season. He celebrated with his trademark dance.
"It was crazy. It was so energetic," Jefferson said. "I was waiting for that moment for a long time now, to finally score a touchdown in front of the fans and then hit the 'Griddy.'"
Secondary's rocky start
The Vikings defense overcame a rocky start plagued by issues in the secondary. Seahawks receiver D.K. Metcalf had catches for 21 and 28 yards before halftime, the latter when Metcalf shook cornerback Patrick Peterson in coverage and safety Xavier Woods missed a tackle.
Metcalf's 10-yard touchdown followed when he beat corner Bashaud Breeland, who was backed off in coverage, in a foot race to the front pylon. Reserve corner Cameron Dantzler has only replaced Breeland because of injury in Arizona, and he had a cryptic message on social media immediately after the game.
"I'm tired of biting my tongue about this whole situation [for real]," Dantzler wrote in a since-deleted post on his verified Twitter account.
'Gave them a free play'
The Seahawks secondary had even more issues with Cousins, who completed 30 of 38 passes for 323 yards and three touchdowns. Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs appeared livid on the field after tackling Jefferson on a 28-yard grab at the end of the third quarter. Jefferson was wide open, as Vikings receivers were for much of the game.
Diggs spent the intermission before the fourth quarter talking through issues with Seahawks safety Jamal Adams and his teammates on the field.
"A couple plays where obviously we didn't communicate and we just gave them a free play," Seahawks corner D.J. Reed said. "You've got to make the offense work for it."
- With his 15-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter, receiver Adam Thielen has 18 touchdown catches in his past 18 games. "Told [Cousins] after that play, that was good timing," Thielen said. "If it was a little later, that safety has a chance to smack me."
- After Seahawks running back Chris Carson's 30-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, pinning the Vikings in a 17-7 deficit, Carson received only three more touches for 3 yards the rest of the game.
- The Seahawks defense lost defensive end Kerry Hyder because of a concussion in the second quarter.