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Three things to watch: Seahawks vs Vikings in second preseason game

Alex Collins needs the make the most of his opportunities in a crowded backfield. (AP)

The Seahawks host Minnesota tonight at 7 in their second preseason game. Here’s who and what I’ll have my eyes on.

Eddie Lacy and Alex Collins. Thomas Rawls is likely out tonight because of an ankle injury that coach Pete Carroll described as minor. That means Lacy will get the first crack in Seattle’s backfield. Seattle’s practices haven’t been full contact, and Lacy only ran four times (for 10 yards) in the team’s first preseason game, so we’ve yet to really see from him the punishing style and yards after contact that the Seahawks hope he’ll bring to their running game this season. Tonight will be an opportunity for that as Seattle’s starters should play more than last week. It’s an opportunity of another kind for Collins, who at this point would seem to be on the outside looking in for a roster spot in Seattle’s backfield. Rawls, Lacy and C.J. Prosise are locks. It’s awfully hard to imagine rookie Chris Carson not making the team given how impressive he’s been in camp, and it’s hard to imagine the Seahawks carrying more than four tailbacks on their 53-man roster. Collins was a fifth-round pick last year who gave Seattle some late-season production after a slow start. He’s noticeably trimmer and quicker than he was last year, and he’s a promising enough player that he’d probably have a spot in Seattle’s backfield if it wasn’t so loaded. Could he have some trade value? It wouldn’t be much because any team that would consider trading for Collins would be aware that he could potentially be available for free if Seattle were to cut him. But if there’s a running back-needy team with a seventh-round pick to spare, Collins might have some appeal. He could help that with a strong showing tonight.

Jeremy Lane at RCB and nickelback. Lane entered camp as the leading candidate to start at right cornerback and also serve as the team’s nickelback, a role he’s filled the last three seasons. He now seems to have legitimate competition at each spot. Rookie Shaquill Griffin played right cornerback while Lane missed several practices and the team’s first preseason game with an injury. And after Seattle signed veteran Tramaine Brock this week, coach Pete Carroll said he’ll get a long look in the slot. Lane got off to a strong start in camp, which Carroll said was a reflection of how great of an offseason he had. Will he pick up where he left off before he was hurt? As for Brock, Carroll said he’ll play tonight. But considering he was out of a job all offseason and has only practiced with the Seahawks for two days, he probably won’t play extensively.

The right side of Seattle’s O-line. Carroll and Tom Cable have made it pretty clear this week that George Fant and Luke Joeckel are their starters at left tackle and left guard, respectively. The right side remains unsettled with Mark Glowinski and Oday Aboushi splitting reps at guard of late and rookie Ethan Pocic giving Germain Ifedi a push at tackle. Minnesota has one of the league’s better edge-rushing tandems in Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter, who combined for 20.5 sacks last season. So assuming they both play, Ifedi and Pocic will be tested.