For the third time in 10 months, the Vikings and Seahawks are set for a kickoff.
Don’t call this a revenge game as a Vikings preseason win on Thursday night would pale in comparison to both losses last year and the meaningful player evaluations to come at CentruyLink Field.
A couple key starters are not expected to play, including RB Adrian Peterson and S Kam Chancellor. Though QB Teddy Bridgewater is expected toface the vaunted secondary still boasting a healthy S Earl Thomas and CB Richard Sherman, for a couple series at least.
Many Vikings will be playing to solidify their roles or roster spots. Below, we prime you on a few of those players and take a brief look at the Seahawks.
VIKINGS AT SEAHAWKS
Kickoff: 9:00 p.m. CT
Where: CenturyLink Field
TV: Ch. 9
Radio: 100.3-FM, 1130-AM
FIVE TO WATCH
WR Cordarrelle Patterson — If you haven’t already, check out Matt Vensel’s story on Patterson trying to resurrect his career in Minnesota. The 25-year-old former first-round pick hasn’t started a game for the Vikings in nearly two years. He’s expected to make his preseason debut after a sprained AC joint in his shoulder held him back in Cincinnati. Patterson is one of the league’s best kick returners, but has the talent to do much more. Can he show he’s reliable as a receiver entering his fourth NFL season?
DT Shamar Stephen — He may be hard to keep track of in the trenches, but keep a keen eye on No. 93 tonight. Stephen, a 2014 seventh-round pick entering his third season, has moved from his natural position at nose guard to fill in for Floyd at defensive tackle this summer. A la Tim Duncan, Stephen is nicknamed by his position coach the ‘Big Fundamental’ and has been given many opportunities to show he’ll be ready should either defensive tackle, Floyd or Linval Joseph, go down in the regular season.
OT Andre Smith — A rocky start in Cincinnati led to Smith working with the backups on Sunday for the first time in five practices. Smith and last year’s starter, T.J. Clemmings, rotated snaps with the starters this week though it’d be a surprise if Smith didn’t start tonight. On a one-year, $3.5 million deal, Smith has another chance to rid doubt from coaches’ minds in his bid to be the right tackle. It comes against a similar Seahawks defensive line that twice gave the Vikings fits last season.
CB Trae Waynes — Waynes, the 11th-overall pick in 2015, started last week in Cincinnati and looked serviceable, though head coach Mike Zimmer was quick to point out his subtle errors that led to some underneath completions. After sitting out last week, veteran Terence Newman returned to practice and his starting spot at left cornerback. Waynes could take another step toward that job by showing coaches he learned from those mistakes.
Safeties — Incumbent Andrew Sendejo has looked relatively unchallenged at strong safety throughout the summer. If you remember last year, that can change quickly after Robert Blanton started all five preseason games before sitting in Week 1. Tenth-year veteran Michael Griffin, Antone Exum Jr. and rookie Jayron Kearse are the candidates set to play tonight. Though in a stickler defense, Griffin may be the closest to unseating Sendejo as they’re all vying for roster spots.
Honorable mention: Second-year LB Edmond Robinson is expected to make his preseason debut. He was putting together a strong training camp before his injury and could be one of the team’s top backups for a linebacker corps that hasn’t started a player 16 games since 2013.
ABOUT THE SEAHAWKS
Head coach: Pete Carroll, 11th season (93-67)
Last season: 10-6, second in NFC West
Additions/retention: Cornerstones still remain from the Seahawks’ consecutive NFC championships. Though their offseason revolved around re-signing role players such as CB Jeremy Lane, WR Jermaine Kearse, P Jon Ryan, C Patrick Lewis and RB Christine Michael. They brought back CB Brandon Browner and DE Chris Clemons in free agency. After an exodus along the offensive line, Seattle used its first-round pick on OL Germain Ifedi, who will start at right guard. They also signed former Vikings/Bears/Raiders OL J’Marcus Webb.
Losses: RB Marshawn Lynch retired this offseason, marking one of a few impact departures in Seattle. The Seahawks also saw LB Bruce Irvin, DT Brandon Mebane and OT Russell Okung leave in free agency. Overall, the Seahawks lost three offensive linemen who started games last year in Okung, OG J.R. Sweezy and OT Alvin Bailey.
Vikings: CB Terence Newman, CB Marcus Sherels and LB Edmond Robinson are expected to make their preseason debuts. Nine players were held out of Tuesday’s practice and likely won’t play in Seattle. That includes four starters in DT Sharrif Floyd (knee), LB Eric Kendricks (hamstring), WR Jarius Wright (undisclosed) and G Brandon Fusco (undisclosed). Also sidelined by injury are S Anthony Harris, LB Brandon Watts, DT Scott Crichton and CBs Melvin White and Tre Roberson. Still on the non-football illness/injury and physically unable to perform lists are G Mike Harris (illness), QB Taylor Heinicke (foot) and TE Rhett Ellison (knee).
Seahawks: RB Thomas Rawls is expected to take over for Lynch, but he won’t play after returning to practice last week. Rawls suffered a broken ankle in December and was recently taken off the PUP list. OT J’Marcus Webb (knee), S Kam Chancellor (groin), DT Jordan Hill (groin) and DT Sealver Siliga (calf) are not expected to play.