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Vikings 21 Seahawks 20: What we learned in Seattle’s third game of the preseason

Seattle Seahawks v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The third game of the preseason saw the Seattle Seahawks put together several clean scoring drives, but ultimately, it ended in another loss.

Thankfully, it’s preseason football, and the result is irrelevant.

However, there are still things to glean from preseason football. How a specific player performs, whether certain traits look improved, or when a player gets into the game are all things worth following in the preseason. All three of those things and more come into play for what we learned on Friday night against the Minnesota Vikings:

The competition at right tackle is real

Heading into the Seahawks matchup against the Vikings, Pete Carroll announced they would “Get a good look” at George Fant at right tackle. Whether that good look would include first team reps would be telling.

Although Germain Ifedi started the game, Fant did end up entering with the starters, for two drives to end the first half. Ifedi then re-entered to begin the second half, with Fant seeing the rest of his playing time with the second string.

In a short stint with the starters, Fant had a combo block to the second level, pulled out in front on a run and had pass sets at varying depths. He looked comfortable in his movement. Ifedi’s starting spot isn’t at an immediate risk following Seattle’s loss in Minnesota, but if Fant can put together another steady display on the right against the Oakland Raiders, the Seahawks won’t hesitate to turn to him early in the regular season.

Mike Davis is the third down back

J.D. McKissic was lost for the foreseeable future this week, further opening up the competition for Seattle’s passing down back. In a crowded backfield against the L.A. Chargers, Davis was on the field for the two-minute drill, and his first team snaps continued against the Vikings.

Davis split wide multiple times, was solid in pass protection and carried the football well in Minnesota. Tellingly, C.J. Prosise’s first snaps on offense came only after Davis hobbled off the field. While Davis was consistently a part of the first team offense, Prosise was running down the field on kickoffs.

Both player’s roster spots should be secure with McKissic injured, but as of now, it appears Davis will be the one to start the season as the primary back on passing downs.

Jacob Martin will make the 53-man roster

In the first game of the season, Martin burst onto the scene with an excellent first step and encouraging play on the edge against the run. He seemed to be far ahead of Jake Pugh in the backup SAM linebacker competition. Against the Chargers, their roles were reserved, with Martin playing just seven snaps on defense.

Ahead of Friday’s game in Minnesota, Carroll said Martin would have a big role, and he did. Martin saw snaps at defensive end on the opening series, and continued to come in on passing downs with the starters. Martin added a strip-sack for good measure, as his spot on the roster seems secure.

The backup quarterback competition is going to come down to the wire

With the starters playing into the third quarter against the Vikings, the biggest takeaway we could have from the third game was the number of drives given to Austin Davis and Alex McGough. In the end, McGough led four drives, while Davis led two.

More importantly, McGough again looked improved from the previous week. He threw the ball with tremendous velocity, making several difficult throws to the boundary. McGough’s one glaring mistake, an interception, will fall on his shoulders as he threw behind Tanner McEvoy. However, it still hit the third year receiver in the hands and McEvoy should’ve done better.

McGough has the arm talent, the similar play style to Wilson and the upside. He comes with some nervy moments, but with such a durable starter ahead of him, McGough has to be given the edge in the backup competition.

Keenan Reynolds is making things interesting

Prior to Friday’s loss, there seemed to be a logjam behind the top-five receivers on the Seahawks’ roster. Reynolds, Damore’ea Stringfellow and Marcus Johnson have all had moments, while Amara Darboh has to remain in consideration as well.

After the third game of the preseason, Reynolds has gained some separation. The former Navy quarterback started the game and was involved with the starters throughout the first half. Reynolds popped up for three catches for 25 yards, including finding the soft spot against zone coverage to convert a big third down.

It remains to be seen if Seattle will keep six wide receivers, but if they do, Reynolds firmly placed his name into the conversation on Friday. Helping his case is his play on special teams, where he made a tackle on a kickoff against Minnesota.

Quinton Jefferson is going to be heavily involved

Not only is Jefferson going to make the roster, not only will he be a part of the rotation, but he might just start Week 1 in Denver against the Broncos. Jefferson has been so active inside for the Seahawks, making a stop at the line of scrimmage on all three opening drives of the preseason.

In recent weeks, Jefferson has begun to see snaps at defensive end, as well as inside. He provides a physical presence on the edge that Seattle has lacked since Red Bryant’s departure. If Dion Jordan does miss time into the regular season, Jefferson should be the favorite to start opposite Frank Clark.

The Seahawks’ loss in Minnesota was the final chance to take anything off substance away during the preseason, as next week’s finale will see players on the bubble and obvious cut candidates get a heavy workload.