Seahawks edge Vikings 10-9 after Walsh miss
The Vikings' hopes for the NFL postseason were dashed Sunday after kicker Blair Walsh missed a field goal in the final seconds of the game. Minnesota fell to the visiting Seattle Seahawks 10-9.
With the temperature at kickoff a frigid minus 6, the NFC wild card matchup at TCF Bank Stadium turned out to be the coldest ever for the Vikings and the third coldest in league history. But that didn't deter fans of either team from packing the stands.
Though dressed in Seahawks green and navy blue, Mark Wilson of Seattle said he received a warm welcome on his first visit to Minneapolis, even if the weather was the coldest it's been so far this season. Wilson and his wife Hannah dressed in layers, and even brought extra clothing.
"We're trying to be strategic about not wearing everything now," he said. "Once we get to the stadium we have a few more layers to throw on. So we're trying to outsmart the cold weather."
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Longtime Vikings fan Eric Musland acclimated to the cold by getting outside early. Musland, who's from LaMoure, N.D., said he and his friends started tailgating outside TCF Bank Stadium around 7:30 a.m.
"Grilled a few burgers, had a few drinks, a little 'antifreeze,' " he said.
Musland, like nearly everyone at the game, dressed in as many layers as he could put on.
"I've got long johns and some insulated pants and some bibs and a jacket and about three sweatshirts underneath. And I got toe warmers and hand warmers, so it's not too bad," he said. "It's getting cold now. It's probably going to be the last barbecue of the year until probably March."
Before kickoff Musland said he was optimistic the Vikings would pull off a win and advance to the next round. And for much of the game, victory over the two-time defending NFC champion Seahawks appeared within reach.
Walsh scored a field goal late in the first quarter, and nailed two more in the third — from 43 and 47 yards — putting the Vikings on top 9-0. But Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin scored the only touchdown of the game early in the fourth quarter; a field goal then gave the Seahawks a one-point lead.
With 22 seconds to go Walsh attempted a go-ahead field goal for the Vikings, but missed. The ball veered left of the goalpost. Even though he was the only Vikings player to score Sunday, Walsh told reporters in the locker room that he was responsible for the loss.
"I worked real hard to get myself to a place where I was very consistent for this team all year, and in that moment, the moment they needed me the most, I wasn't," he said. "So that stings. I'll be working hard to erase that from my career, but it'll take awhile."
At the postgame news conference, an emotional Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said he was proud of the way his team performed throughout the season, especially Sunday.
"We played great on defense all day. We did a good job in the running game, we did a good job on the quarterback. We missed a chip shot field goal. So you know, that's life."
The loss means Seattle will take on the Carolina Panthers in the NFC divisional round next Sunday.
And no matter how cold it gets in Minnesota next season, Vikings fans won't have to dress in layers. The team is set to move into the new, covered $1.1 billion U.S. Bank Stadium by the summer.