SEATTLE (AP) — Adrian Peterson lacked the extra gear that hurt Seattle’s defense last season.
Greg Jennings was unavailable because of an Achilles tendon injury.
And Christian Ponder reverted to the turnover-prone quarterback that has made the position a revolving door in Minnesota this season.
That’s not a good combination facing the best team in the NFC.
“Really felt like going into that fourth quarter we were in pretty good shape, needed to get another score and the way our defense was playing they were going to keep us in the game, that we were going to get it turned,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said.
“Turnovers in the fourth, the game got out of whack for us. But right until that moment, that first turnover that led to a score, we were there. That’s the way it goes.”
Russell Wilson had two touchdown passes, Marshawn Lynch had two touchdowns running and one receiving, and the Seahawks pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 41-20 win over the Vikings on Sunday.
Former Vikings star Percy Harvin made his highly anticipated Seattle debut after missing the first 10 weeks of the regular season following hip surgery.
While he was mostly a decoy offensively, he provided two of the biggest plays as the Seahawks improved to 10-1 and stayed on top of the NFC heading into their bye week.
Harvin pulled in a juggling third-down conversion for 17 yards in the second quarter that led to Lynch’s second TD run and gave Seattle the lead for good.
Then came a 58-yard kickoff return in the final minute of the first half that led to Wilson’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin with 10 seconds left in the second quarter and gave Seattle a 24-13 lead at the break.
“I didn’t want to get out there and play out of whack or try and make plays I couldn’t make,” Harvin said. I just wanted to stay calm and just play within the system and let the plays come to me.”
Peterson rolled through the Seahawks for 182 yards rushing last season, but a lingering groin problem bothered him all day Sunday.
He finished with 65 yards on 21 carries and felt there were a number of potential big plays where he lacked acceleration.
“There were a couple plays that first half that I knew if I was able to explode the way I normally do, I could have gotten some big chunks, even taken it to the house,” Peterson said.
Even with Peterson slowed, Minnesota only trailed 24-13 headed to the fourth quarter. That’s when Ponder’s carelessness with the ball returned. He’d gotten away with one pass earlier in the second half when Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner dropped a potential interception.
He didn’t get away with it a second time, throwing behind Peterson and into Wagner’s hands early in the fourth quarter. The turnover that led to Wilson’s second TD pass, a backhanded flip in between two Vikings defenders that Lynch grabbed for a 6-yard TD.
Three passes later, Ponder threw into the belly of Walter Thurmond and he returned the interception 29 yards for his first career touchdown. The Vikings did not run a play in Seattle territory on their first five drives of the half.
“Just got to be smarter with the football. This was going to be a tough game, we knew that, unfortunately it didn’t work out the way we wanted it,” Ponder said.
“But games like that are unfortunately, are going to happen. It doesn’t make it any easier, but good thing is we have another game next week.”
Ponder was replaced by Matt Cassel for the final 12 minutes, and he was intercepted by defensive tackle Clinton McDonald off a deflected pass on his first possession. Frazier said personnel decisions would be discussed on Monday.
“We’ll sit down on Monday and talk about the things we’ve got to do for this next opponent and what we want to do game plan wise,” Frazier said. “We’ll talk about personnel as well, sit down and talk things through.”
Jarius Wright, making the start with Jennings out, had three receptions for 69 yards and two touchdowns, including a 38-yarder in the first half where he badly beat Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman.
Wilson was done early in the fourth quarter after completing 13 of 18 passes for 230 yards and a career-best passer rating of 151.4. Coming off consecutive games rushing for more than 100 yards, Lynch was held to 54 yards on 17 carries.
Notes: TE John Carlson, who started his career with Seattle, had five catches for 69 yards to lead the Vikings. . . . Seattle’s 24 first-half points matched a season high also against Jacksonville in Week 3. . . . Vikings C John Sullivan left in the fourth quarter with a concussion.