Temperatures were as low as -21C (-31C wind chill) at kick-off, making this the third coldest ever NFL game.
In a thrilling finale, the Vikings were about to take the lead in the waning seconds of a defensive grinder, lining up for a 27-yard field goal — shorter than an extra point — that almost certainly would have delivered them a win.
But kicker Blair Walsh, who had made all three of his field-goal tries to that point, botched the kick. Replays showed the ball’s laces facing toward the kicker, which can result in an erratic kick.
The Seahawks had trailed 9-0 entering the fourth quarter. Russell Wilson was forced to run for his life after recovering a bad snap, but managed to break free and get off a pass to Tyler Lockett, who went 35 yards and set up a 3-yard TD pass to Doug Baldwin two plays later with 11:37 to go.
Seattle took the lead minutes later. Safety Kam Chancellor stripped Vikings running back Adrian Peterson with 10:37 to go, and Steven Hauschka banged home the go-ahead field goal with 8:09 to play. The victory earned Seattle a date next weekend with the Carolina Panthers — the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
Elsewhere Ben Roethlisberger rallied the Steelers to an 18-16 comeback win over Cincinnati after being carted off with a shoulder injury, setting up a divisional round playoff against the Denver Broncos (12-4) next Sunday.
Pittsburgh might also be without star receiver Antonio Brown, who sustained a concussion taking a shot to the head on the final drive of a bad-tempered game on Saturday night. The Bengals squandered a 16-15 lead with two fouls on the same play that immediately gifted the Steelers a game-clinching 35-yard field goal with 14 seconds left.
Linebacker Vontaze Burfict, handed a fine of nearly $70,000 from the last game against Pittsburgh, went from hero to goat when he hit Antonio Brown in the head with his shoulder several steps after a pass for Brown sailed incomplete over his head. About a minute before, Burfict had made what appeared to be a game-clinching interception.
Bengals cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones then drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when he raged against Steelers assistant Joey Porter.
Cincinnati’s meltdown extended a long run of playoff futility, with their last playoff victory coming in 1991.
The Kansas City Chiefs will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots after their 30-0 win at Houston. Knile Davis’ 106-yard return touchdown was the second longest in post-season NHL history.
The Chiefs could be without their top receiver though, as Jeremy Maclin was carted off with a knee injury.