clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Seahawks-Vikings: What to watch for in the third game of the preseason

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Chargers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks take on the Minnesota Vikings on Friday night in their third game of the preseason. The third week of preseason is often the most telling, as the starters get an extended run, playing into the third quarter.

For the Seahawks, there were a couple questions already answered this week. The kicking and punting competitions were settled, as Jon Ryan and Jason Myers were released. J.D. McKissic’s injury all but assured C.J. Prosise a roster spot as questions surrounded his status on the team.

All three phases are beginning to take form, but there are still a host of unresolved competitions and questions that could be answered against the Vikings.

Does Mike Davis or C.J. Prosise receive the majority of passing down reps with the first team?

While Prosise’s risk of getting cut was largely overstated, it was a discouraging sign last week when Davis was on the field for the two-minute drill with the starters over Prosise. That was largely offset by Prosise performing well as Alex McGough moved the offense down the field in the fourth quarter.

McKissic’s injury has presumably settled the competition between Prosise, Davis and McKissic, as both Prosise and Davis should be safe now. However, the pecking order remains to be seen, and that could come into play as the bottom of every NFL roster churns next week during cutdowns.

Without Rashaad Penny or McKissic, one of Davis or Prosise will see a large number of snaps on passing downs with the starters. Whoever it is should see that role replicated in Week 1.

Who is leading the competition for the sixth wide receiver spot?

By now, five wide receivers appear to be locked in: Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, Jaron Brown, Brandon Marshall and David Moore. Depending on how Seattle chooses to structure their roster, a sixth receiver could be added to the group.

While surely the personnel department would love to see Amara Darboh get a second season, his injury has set him back in the battle. The Seahawks currently have 14 receivers on the roster, but other than Darboh, it comes down to three names: Marcus Johnson, Damore’ea Stringfellow and Keenan Reynolds. All three saw snaps with the first team offense against the L.A. Chargers, but just Reynolds saw constant reps in punt coverage.

All three will likely see time with the first team offense against the Vikings, as Marshall is eased in and Baldwin remains sidelined, but who sees the most time — and what they do with it — will be telling.

How are the remaining drives divided between Austin Davis and Alex McGough?

Although Davis remains the backup quarterback, McGough has begun to gain momentum. He had a much better performance in the second game of the preseason, throwing for 97 yards on nine completions and capping off his touchdown drive with three excellent throws. Perhaps more importantly, McGough has started to gain a greater understanding of everything else, after struggling early in camp.

Davis will be the second quarterback in the game against Minnesota, after Russell Wilson and the starters depart, but just how long does he last before McGough enters the game? The seventh round pick is still a possible practice squad candidate, but with a strong finish to August, he could sway Seattle to go with the rookie over the veteran.

George Fant at right tackle

As obvious as this is, there are a couple things specifically to watch for. The first, quite simply, is how comfortable Fant looks at right tackle. The change in mechanics from one side of the line to the other is often overlooked, and it will take an adjustment period. If Fant looks comfortable enough that it isn’t taking away from the other parts of his game — setting, striking, maintaining his block — it could encourage the coaching staff to make a move.

The second thing to watch for is when Fant enters the game. Carroll said on Thursday Fant would “Get a good look” at right tackle against the Vikings. If that good look includes a series or two with the starters, it calls Germain Ifedi’s status as a Week 1 starter into question.

Rasheem Green against starting NFL tackles

The star of the preseason through two games, Green’s performance in both games has been extremely encouraging. The third game will tell us the most about what we can expect from him in 2018, however.

Will the traits Green needed to improve most as an NFL player — functional strength and hand usage — continue to look massively improved against Minnesota’s starting tackles? Or, will we see a player who resembles the raw prospect he was at USC? There is no doubt Green has refined the technical aspects of his game since January, but getting reps — even in a limited role — against NFL starters will tell us just how far he has come in his development.

Will Austin Calitro remain a constant on punt coverage units?

In my latest 53-man roster projection, Calitro was a new addition to an otherwise unchanged linebacker group. Calitro had a terrific game on defense against the Indianapolis Colts, but the biggest reason for Calitro’s addition was his continued appearance on special teams.

As Rotoworld’s Evan Silva noted last week, appearing on punt coverage units throughout a preseason game can be a good indicator of roster status. Calitro has been a constant on special teams, including punt coverage, and has stood out on both defense and teams at different times. If that continues against the Vikings, Calitro could be locking down a sixth and final linebacker spot on the Seahawks’ 53.

Dontae Johnson’s late roster push

After missing the majority of the offseason and the beginning of camp with a broken foot, Johnson’s roster chances looked slim. But injuries in the secondary to Neiko Thorpe, Trovon Reed and Byron Maxwell coincided with Johnson's return, and he has seen starting reps as a result.

Maxwell will again sit out against Minnesota, giving Johnson another opportunity to split starting snaps with Tre Flowers. There’s a better-than-decent chance Johnson, Maxwell and Flowers are competing for two roster spots — and Flowers isn’t going anywhere.

If the season were to start tomorrow, Maxwell would start opposite Shaquill Griffin. But if Johnson performs well against the Vikings, Maxwell’s spot has to be questioned.

Does Maurice Alexander or Delano Hill replace Bradley McDougald?

A pectoral injury will keep McDougald out of the lineup against Minnesota, and open up playing time for both Alexander and Hill. As it stands, both should be a part of the 53-man roster, but like Prosise and Davis, the pecking order is important. A lot can happen during roster cuts — including the potential return of one Earl Thomas — meaning there could be room for just one of the two.

Alexander played better than Hill in his preseason debut against L.A., and saw snaps on special teams. Hill, meanwhile, has had a rough preseason on defense, particularly against the run. Helping his case, however, was the versatility he displayed against the Chargers, lining up as the deep safety when the Seahawks went to the backups. What either player does with the opportunity provided by McDougald’s injury could massively impact their roster status on September 1st.

After Friday’s game against the Vikings, Seattle closes the preseason at home against the Oakland Raiders on August 30th. That game will largely be played by backups and cut candidates, meaning the matchup against Minnesota could be the last chance to impress for players on the bubble.