Four-Leaf Clover, Lucky Horseshoe Help Seahawks Top Vikings, 10-9
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Four-Leaf Clover, Lucky Horseshoe Help Seahawks Top Vikings, 10-9

Walsh misses late field goal, is bombarded with hateful tweets and angry mobs.

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Four-Leaf Clover, Lucky Horseshoe Help Seahawks Top Vikings, 10-9
Ben Garvin, KARE 11

THE FROZEN TUNDRA OF MINNESOTA—From the moment he left his bed Sunday morning, Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll anticipated a challenging playoff matchup with the Minnesota Vikings. With kickoff temperatures several degrees below zero, Carroll knew that he had to pull some strings in order to secure a victory.

Prospects looked bleak for the Seahawks through three quarters, as the team trailed 9-0 with only a quarter remaining. In fact, the only player who had scored for either team up to that point was Vikings kicker Blair Walsh. "Walsh was unstoppable today," according to star quarterback Russell Wilson. "Until we stuck our best guy on him, he controlled the game."

Wilson wasn't referring to All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman, but rather Pro Bowl defensive back Four-Leaf Clover, the team's defensive captain. An undrafted free agent from Notre Dame, Clover signed with the Seahawks before the 2013 season. That year, Clover's presence sparked a dominant Super Bowl run in the playoffs, leaving many voices around the league whispering about a potential Seattle dynasty. Last year, the Seahawks appeared poised to repeat as champions, until a torn leaf muscle wiped Clover out for an extended period of time during the second quarter of the Super Bowl against New England.

With Four-Leaf Clover rehabbing for much of the 2015 season, Seattle was forced to draft unheralded safety Lucky Horseshoe in the first round of the draft, despite persistent trade offers from the Indianapolis Colts. Horseshoe filled in admirably for Clover, somehow keeping the Seahawks in the playoff hunt despite a stumbling Wilson and the loss of Marshawn Lynch. Once Clover finally returned in Week 10, the Seahawks caught fire and surged into the playoffs.

Both Clover and Horseshoe battled nagging injuries towards the end of the season, and as a result saw limited action in the early goings of the Vikings game. However, once Carroll unleashed the duo in the fourth quarter, it was all Seattle. The defense buckled down, Wilson connected on a touchdown to Doug Baldwin, and Steven Hauschka nailed a 46 yard field goal to give the reigning NFC champs a 10-9 lead with only a few minutes left.

After a long Vikings drive, however, Walsh was in position to seal the game with a 27 yard field goal with 0:19 remaining. Instead of sending his special teams unit on to block the kick, Carroll did the unthinkable: he sent only Four-Leaf Clover and Lucky Horseshoe on to the field, in an effort to distract Walsh.

Miraculously, Carroll's play worked, as one of the best kickers in the league—Minnesota's best player—missed the short field goal wide left. "I can't explain it," said Walsh, busy fighting off an angry mob of Vikings fans. "Something about those two guys, scratch that, the entire team...I feel like they just get so lucky, you know?"

Meanwhile, Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater showered Walsh with praise. "I know people talk about Andrew Luck getting it, but if Blair doesn't deserve a $100 million contract then I'm not sure who does. He is the Minnesota Vikings."

"I don't know how many more years of this I have left," pondered longtime Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, "But I just feel blessed that I've had the opportunity to play with such a talented, Hall of Fame-caliber player. I didn't want to win a Super Bowl anyways, that stuff isn't really important to me. Having fun is what's important to me, and Blair looked like a little kid out there missing potential game winning field goals," Peterson said with a forced smile and several tears running down his cheeks.

Carroll struggled to hold back a smile as he jogged past several Vikings fans busy setting Walsh's car on fire. "That kicker, he's a hell of a player. Probably needs to leave town for a couple of decades, but man, that kid can kick."

Seattle will travel to Carolina next week, where they will meet a 15-1 Panthers team led by MVP favorite Rabbit's Foot, explosive rookie wideout Penny Found Heads-Up On the Street, and quarterback Cam Newton.

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