John Clayton’s primer for the Seahawks’ preseason game vs. Vikings
The third preseason game is not just a final rehearsal for the NFL season – it’s a game in which jobs are won or lost.
Pete Carroll has stressed competition up and down the roster in what he has called a reset from the team’s most recent runs at Super Bowls. Last week, the Seahawks faced a tougher opponent in the Los Angeles Chargers than they did in their preseason opener against the Indianapolis Colts. Unsurprisingly, the game proved tougher to win.
Friday night’s game is even a tougher test. The Minnesota Vikings are a strong Super Bowl contender with a loaded roster. But the Vikings are the last thing on Carroll’s mind; he and general manager John Schneider have to use this third preseason to sort out the 53-man
Here are things to study Friday night.
Right tackle: Germain Ifedi’s inconsistent play has forced Carroll to find competitors for the job, and that has caused some damage. 2018 fifth-round draft pick Jamarco Jones moved from left tackle and suffered a high-ankle sprain that is expected to put him on the injured reserve. Isaiah Battle was carted off with a knee injury in the opener (though is now returning to the field). George Fant made his debut last week at left tackle one year after blowing out his ACL, and he’s now been moved to right tackle. Willie Beavers is also in the mix.
First, the Seahawks have to determine if Ifedi can continue as the starting right tackle. If not, they’ll need to find satisfactory options.
Sixth receiver spot: I contend the five locks at wide receiver are Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Brandon Marshall, Jaron Brown and David Moore. That leaves Amara Darboh, Marcus Johnson, Damore’ea Stringfellow, Keenan Reynolds and Tanner McEvoy. I’m very intrigued by Johnson. The pressure is on for Darboh, a third-round choice last year. A clavicle injury will keep him out of this game, but he should be able to return for the preseason finale.
C.J. Prosise: All eyes will be on C.J. Prosise, whose chances of making the team are secured by the four-to-six week foot injury to J.D. McKissic. Prosise has missed 21 of a possible 32 NFL games because of seven injuries. But he’s a talented running back. A good performance Friday night and next Thursday against Oakland could make a case for him to temporarily be the backup to Chris Carson in the opener, buying more time to get first-round pick Rashaad Penny up to speed (due to a broken finger, he’s expected to enter the regular season with only one preseason test).
Right cornerback: Shaquill Griffin is locked in at left cornerback, but this will be good test at right corner for Dontae Johnson, who will be filling in for Byron Maxwell (out with a hip flexor). Tre Flowers has looked good in his two games, but Pete needs to see where Maxwell and Johnson are. Johnson didn’t do poorly against the Chargers Saturday.
Pass rush: With Marcus Smith cut and considering retirement, the Seahawks are down four of their top five pass-rushers until Dion Jordan comes off the PUP list. There is an outside chance Jordan could be activated next week. Seattle signed linebacker Erik Walden last week and he should play. But you know the Seahawks are still looking for an experienced pass-rusher. What they need to find out is whether Walden can help there. He did have 11 sacks two years ago for Indianapolis.
Strong safety depth: The Seahawks are still sorting out the safety position. Tedric Thompson and Bradley McDougald are expected to be the regular-season starters, but this will be an important game to see where Delano Hill and Maurice Alexander fit in.