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Seahawks outlast Vikings, rocket to top of NFC West

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 12/3/2019 Nate Davis, USA TODAY

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SEATTLE — The Minnesota Vikings drew first blood Monday night, but it was the Seattle Seahawks who eventually prevailed 37-30  in a NFC heavyweight bout that vaulted them into first place in the NFC West and into position for a first-round bye.

BOX SCORE:  SEAHAWKS 37, VIKINGS 30

Taking advantage of the depleted Vikes after halftime, the Seahawks initially clicked in nearly every phase — a 60-yard TD pass from Russell Wilson, ruthlessly running the ball, pulling off a fake punt and generating multiple turnovers — while posting 27second-half points as they wrested the division lead from the San Francisco 49ers. However blown coverage on a 58-yard fourth-quarter touchdown catch by Laquon Treadwell and a DK Metcalf fumble that led to another TD kept the game in doubt until the end.

The Seahawks now own the conference's No. 2 seed with plenty of opportunities to move up and ensure they'll play all of their January games at CenturyLink Field, where they've won 10 consecutive playoff games dating back to the 2005 postseason. That string of success has fueled all three of the franchise's Super Bowl drives.

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It was quite a turnaround after Seattle's defense was carved up on Minnesota's opening possession — a six-play, 83-yard blitzkrieg for a touchdown — and Wilson was victimized by a fluky pick-six near the end of the first half that he doubly enabled.

Here are three things we learned from Vikings-Seahawks:

1. Cooked: A game that began with promise for Vikings star RB Dalvin Cook — he capped the team's seamless opening drive with a 2-yard touchdown scamper — ended in disaster when he suffered a shoulder injury while fumbling midway through the third quarter, a turnover that led to Seattle's go-ahead field goal. A Minnesota offense that was already without No. 1 wideout Adam Thielen struggled noticeably after its opening possession and then had to adapt without Cook and concussed LT Riley Reiff.

2. Pretty Penny: The Seahawks entered the game with the league's sixth-ranked rushing attack, but it's suddenly getting an extra boost from 2018 first-round selection Rashaad Penny. After averaging fewer than 28 rushing yards in his first 21 NFL games, Penny has now racked up 203 in his last two. He scored on a 1-yard run and added a 13-yard TD catch in the fourth quarter for good measure. With proven running threats in Wilson and Chris Carson, might be time to count Seattle among teams like the Ravens and 49ers, each with the ability to ground opponents down while maintaining fresh legs in the backfield.

3. NFC playoff ramifications: Seattle's win moved the New Orleans Saints, who beat the Seahawks in Week 3, atop the NFC playoff standings. The Niners slipped from second to fifth, the top wild-card slot, and the Vikings saw their lead over the Rams for the second wild card shrink from two games to one. The Seahawks will visit the reigning conference champions on Sunday, while the Vikings host the struggling Detroit Lions.

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Follow USA TODAY Sports' Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Seahawks outlast Vikings, rocket to top of NFC West

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