George Fant was supposed to challenged Germain Ifedi for the right tackle spot, and the Seahawks used the third preseason game as an opportunity to evaluate him in his new position.
MINNEAPOLIS — The big news of the week for the Seahawks was coach Pete Carroll’s proclamation that “the comp is on’’ at right tackle, with the decision to move George Fant there to take on Germain Ifedi for the starting job.
That didn’t mean, though, that Fant was going to start immediately.
When the Seahawks began the game, Ifedi was again at right tackle, and he stayed there for the second series as well.
But proof that the Seahawks are serious about giving Fant a chance arrived in the second quarter of their 21-20 defeat to Minnesota, when he replaced Ifedi for what was Seattle’s third offensive series. The rest of the offensive line stayed the same, giving the Seahawks a chance to make something of an apples-to-apples comparison of how the two played, with the Vikings defensive starters also remaining in the game throughout the first half.
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The Seahawks had said for a while Fant might try right tackle once he got back into a playing groove after his knee surgery of last season.
But there seemed some urgency to make the move this week after Ifedi’s struggles last Saturday against the Chargers.
Ifedi, though, seemed to acquit himself well enough on his two series with one caveat — he appeared to get away with a hold on Vikings end Brian Robinson a play when he just took Robinson down.
But Ifedi also showed a glimpse of the ability that has compelled the team to give him such a long look, making a quick move to the second-level and a clear out block of Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr to help pave the way for Chris Carson’s 6-yard run in the second quarter.
Afterward, Ifedi said his focus is more on how the team does than his battle with Fant.
“I’m more worried about how we play as a group and how we execute as a group,” he said. “But me personally, I felt okay out there. It was cool. It was a good, third preseason game.”
Seattle played Fant alongside right guard D.J. Fluker on his first series, when the Seahawks moved 36 yards in eight plays to set up a Sebastian Janikowski field goal. Jordan Roos then replaced Fluker for Seattle’s fourth offensive series, on which the rest of the offensive line remained the same.
Ifedi then came back in the game for Seattle’s first series of the second half, playing alongside Roos at right guard with the rest of the starting OL remaining the same. He appeared to miss a block on a second-down run that went nowhere as the Seahawks went three-and-out.
Ifedi also played the second series of the second half and was at the center of some brief pushing and shoving when the Vikings seemed to take exception to him continuing to push a defender out of the way.
Fant then played throughout the rest of the second half with the second-team offense.
For Fant, it was the first time he had played in a game at right tackle and he said there will be some rough spots along the way.
“I’ve got to learn a whole new technique,” he said. “I think it’s going to take a little time. But I’m excited for the challenge.”
It was also the most playing time he has gotten since the injury and his first time with the starters.
“It was good man, just getting back out there, man, really surreal coming back from this injury,” he said.
Johnson, Hill get starts in secondary
There was a bit of intrigue over exactly how the Seahawks’ secondary would look to start the game due to injuries and some lineup shuffling in the last week.
Turned out Seattle went with Tedric Thompson and Delano Hill — its two draft picks from 2017 — as the starting safety combo, the first time the two have started together.
Bradley McDougald had started at strong safety the first two games but sat out against the Vikings with a pec strain suffered against the Chargers.
With Byron Maxwell out, rookie Tre Flowers had gotten the start at right cornerback the first two games.
But Dontae Johnson got the call against the Vikings with Seattle wanting to get a good look at the former 49er, who started all 16 games there last season for San Francisco.
Thompson returns after scary-looking hit
Thompson ran off the field and collapsed on the Seattle sidelines after a tackle on Minnesota’s Adam Thielen midway through the first quarter. Thompson said later he suffered a stinger, though Carroll also said he hurt his ribs.
But after missing the rest of that series as the Vikings drove for a touchdown Thompson returned for the next series, then sat out the rest of the game.
Carroll said he wasn’t sure if the injury could impact Thompson in the future but Thompson said it won’t.
“I’m good,” he said. “I’m good. I’m good.”
Dickson makes up for punt with tackle
Michael Dickson, anointed as Seattle’s punter this week with the release of veteran Jon Ryan, averaged 53.6 yards per kick and had two that pinned the Vikings at their own 3.
But he also had a 61-yard punt in the fourth quarter that was returned by Chad Beebe for 34 yards until Dickson himself made the tackle.
Later, Dickson said it was only fitting he made the tackle since he said the punt didn’t go where he wanted it.
“Yeah as soon as I hit it I saw it going down the middle and knew I didn’t hit it too far, not as much hang, was like a 4.88 hang,’’ he said. “Was just too far straight down the middle. If I aimed it more left, which I should have done, probably would have limited the return. I was pretty frustrated about that so I knew if I was going to outkick the coverage I was going to have to make the tackle so I just took him down and tried to hang on.’’
Seahawks list 14 as out
The Seahawks listed 14 players as not expected to play before the game, all due to injury. The 14 were: running backs Rashaad Penny and J.D. McKissic, cornerback Neiko Thorpe, safety Bradley McDougald, safety Tevon Mutcherson, cornerback Byron Maxwell, linebackers Josh Forrest and D.J. Alexander, offensive linemen J.R. Sweezy and Jamarco Jones, receiver Amara Darboh, tight end Ed Dickson, receiver Doug Baldwin and defensive end Dion Jordan.
Alexander, however, was in pads for the game.
Also, Tyler Lockett was held out for the second straight week after having suffered a toe injury earlier in camp.
“He had a good week (in practice), wasn’t 100 percent all week long, so good timing to hold him out,” Carroll said.
- Duane Brown, Branden Jackson and Quinton Jefferson again stayed in locker room for anthem and then ran onto field after it ended.
- Seattle’s game captains were Wilson, Brown, Shamar Stephen (a former Viking), Barkevious Mingo and Bobby Wagner.
- Jefferson got the start at one defensive end spot opposite Frank Clark.