With Cousins early and Sloter late, Vikes top Seahawks 21-20

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Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson runs up the middle for 6 yards and a touchdown in the second quarter against the Minnesota Vikings on Friday, Aug. 24, 2018, at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. (Brian Peterson/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kirk Cousins was bothered enough by the throws he missed in Minnesota’s third preseason game that he brought a piece of paper with a list of them to the podium for his interview afterward.

There’s a long way to go, particularly with an offensive line that’s not yet set, but Cousins and the Vikings made some improvements against Seattle.

Cousins passed for 182 yards without a turnover in the first half, before third-stringer Kyle Sloter threw for two fourth-quarter touchdowns in a 21-20 comeback victory over the Seahawks on Friday night.

Out of sync in their previous game, the Vikings assembled three drives of 12 or more plays despite some disruptions by the Seahawks. Cousins went 17 for 28.

“You could’ve really had a great night. I feel like we just missed that,” Cousins said.

Sebastian Janikowski didn’t miss. The 40-year-old kicked field goals from 35 and 55 yards in the first half for the Seahawks, who kept their starters in past halftime. Russell Wilson led one scoring drive against the vaunted Vikings defense, finishing 11 for 21 for 118 yards and declaring his work-in-progress offensive line a success.

“I had all day,” Wilson said.

Vikings rookie Daniel Carlson, who just won the kicker job this week when seventh-year veteran Kai Forbath was released, pulled two 42-yard field goal attempts wide left in the first half. Following the first miss, Latavius Murray’s touchdown run capped the second drive. Then coach Mike Zimmer ordered a 2-point conversion.

“Just to let him know that if he’s going to miss ‘em, I’m going to go for 2,” Zimmer said.

The mention of wide left against the Seahawks still makes Vikings fans wince, three seasons after Blair Walsh’s 27-yard miss at the end of the playoff game on that below-zero afternoon in Minnesota. Walsh spent last year with Seattle, struggled anew and was not brought back. The 40-year-old Janikowski, having edged out Jason Myers for the job, has taken over.

“I’d rather kick the short ones and hit a lot of extra points, but if it comes down to it I’m excited and looking forward to it,” Janikowski said.

CONFIDENCE IN CARLSON

Zimmer noted that Carlson, a fifth-round draft pick from Auburn, only missed a couple of kicks in practices since training camp started. The coach actually expressed more concern about the kick coverage teams, which have allowed long returns in each exhibition game.

“Put this behind me,” Carlson said, “but learn from it and move on.”

PUNTING PROWESS

Rookie punter Michael Dickson, who beat out stalwart Jon Ryan this week, was just as sharp as Janikowski. His five punts averaged 53.6 yards per attempt, with a long of 61 yards and two times downed at the 3.

“I’m really fired up about that,” coach Pete Carroll said.

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