The game-time temperature of 6 below at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday set a record for the coldest game in Vikings history and was the third-coldest in NFL history. The windchill hit 25 below, and the temperature never climbed above zero.
The frigid conditions evidently had an impact on the flow of the wild-card matchup that ended with Seattle rallying and then holding on for a 10-9 victory.
“I underestimated it,” Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin said of the cold. “Mentally, I thought I would be able to push through it, but it was a lot tougher than I thought it would be. Fortunately, we have a great training staff and a great equipment staff that prepared us all week and had the right technology on the sidelines that allowed us to be successful.”
Baldwin caught five passes, including the game’s only touchdown. However, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said he struggled to throw deep passes and had difficulty yelling out checks at the line of scrimmage. That included his 35-yard pass to Tyler Lockett after an errant snap.
“I was about to check the play. It was a tough environment; hard to hear, hard to yell. It was a little harder to yell like I normally do just because it was so cold,” Wilson said. “It was a good snap if I was expecting it, I just wasn’t expecting it quite yet. It got past me and then I just tried to extend the play and find a way.”
Can’t kick ’em
Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka made the eventual winning field goal from 46 yards, but Seattle coach Pete Carroll passed on potential field-goal opportunities on fourth down from the Vikings’ 30- and 38-yard lines in the first half.
“There was enough stuff going on [with the weather] that it just throws you off a little bit,” Carroll said. “[The cold] just takes something out of the efficiency. The ball doesn’t fly exactly the same. It doesn’t feel all the same, so you just have to do the best you can with it.”
Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr didn’t think the hometown team benefited from the cold.
“Well, we lost. So I’m not sure that it did [help] at all,” Barr said. “The conditions were fine, it was just cold. … Defensively we felt the weather didn’t affect us that much. It wasn’t a problem.”
Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was 17-for-24 for 146 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. He was sacked three times. Wilson was 13-for-26 for 142 yards and a touchdown with an interception. He was sacked twice.
Bridgewater had a 24-yard completion to Kyle Rudolph during the Vikings’ final drive.
“He threw the ball well,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said of Bridgewater. “He had a couple tipped, but he did what we asked him to do [Sunday], take what the defense gave him, trying to convert third downs. We had a chance to win the football game and we didn’t get it done.”
Still, the Vikings offense failed to score a touchdown in eight quarters against the Seahawks this season.
“We had opportunities to put this game away, we just came up short,” Bridgewater said. “We had opportunities to do some big things throughout the game and I think our guys did a good job of executing all game … getting everyone involved. It was just tough coming up short like that.”
Vikings veteran linebacker Chad Greenway said he wants to play another year.
“It’s just been a lot of fun with this football team and seeing how things have gone throughout the course of the year, it’s been such a privilege and an honor to play on this team, specifically,” Greenway said. “I’ve got to play one more year. It just can’t seem to end like this. It’s a hard one to lose.”
Greenway had four tackles Sunday.
Seahawks punter Jon Ryan briefly left the game in the first quarter after a bad snap forced him to run. He was flipped into the air short of a first down, landed on his face, and his helmet drove into his nose, bloodying it.
The Vikings took over on downs at the Seahawks’ 29, but had to settle for a field goal and an early 3-0 lead.
Ryan returned to the game and finished with five punts for 177 yards, two placed inside the 20-yard line. After the game, Carroll said Ryan might have broken his nose.
• Rudolph’s 24-yard reception put the Vikings in position for the game-winning field-goal attempt, but it was the only official target he had all afternoon. The big tight end was targeted on the previous play that resulted in a 19-yard defensive pass interference on Seattle safety Kam Chancellor.
• Vikings starting nose tackle Linval Joseph returned after missing four of the past five games because of a toe injury and had three tackles. Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd returned to his usual position and had three tackles, two for a loss, one sack and one quarterback hit.
• The Vikings will have the 23rd pick in the draft this year.