Quarterback Trevone Boykin, receiver Kasen Williams and running back Alex Collins are among the players to watch when the Seahawks play their second preseason game Thursday night against Minnesota.
There’ll be lots of familiarity when the Seahawks host Minnesota in a preseason contest Thursday night at 7 p.m., the third time in the last nine games Seattle has faced the Vikings.
The game, in fact, completes a trilogy of sorts, with the teams having last year played in the regular season and a frigid wildcard playoff, and now a non-counting affair.
But as is always the case in the preseason, the bigger deal for the Seahawks will be continuing to sort out the unknowns of their 2016 roster.
Here are a few players who will be particularly intriguing to watch against the Vikings and could help solidify their own roles and/or roster spots.
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QB Trevone Boykin: Boykin was one of the heroes of Saturday’s win at Kansas City, leading a last-minute 88-yard TD drive to pull out a 17-16 win, a performance that was a step forward in his quest to prove to the team he’s up to the task of being the backup this season as a rookie undrafted free agent. But as coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday “because you did it once doesn’t mean you can do it forever, so he has to come back with a good sharp game. Most importantly that he just manages all of the stuff that the quarterback has to manage from the huddle to the line of scrimmage to get the ball started.” Russell Wilson and the starters are expected to play more than last week, possibly into the second quarter. But that should still give Boykin plenty of snaps to show he can minimize some of the issues getting the offense lined up correctly that rose a few times against the Chiefs.
LT Bradley Sowell: Sowell will start for the second straight game at left tackle with J’Marcus Webb still out and Garry Gilliam having shifted to Webb’s spot at right tackle. Seahawks coaches were pleased with the play of the number one offensive line against the Chiefs. But the Vikings will be a stiffer test of the perimeter of Seattle’s offensive line. “He’s going to get a great player this week, Everson Griffen, and they’ve got a really good rush group, so it’ll be nice for him to match up with that stuff and see how he does,” Carroll said.
WR Kasen Williams: The former UW and Skyline standout missed Saturday’s game with a hamstring injury but will play against the Vikings after returning to practice this week. While Williams still appears in good shape to make the 53-man roster, the battle for the final receiver spot or two has been fierce with rookies such as Tanner McEvoy – the receiving hero last week — and Kenny Lawler making moves during the time Williams sat out. A solid performance could help re-establish Williams’ hold on a roster spot.
RB Alex Collins: While Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise were able to do some work in practice this week, neither will play against the Vikings. That means Collins will again be the number two tailback behind Christine Michael. Collins got just two series last week due to a sore knee that had limited his practice. But he’s expected to get more work against the Vikings and an extended chance to show what he can do.
FB Jonathan Amosa: Amosa, a Rainier Beach grad who played at UW, is one of just two listed fullbacks on the roster at the moment, the other being Kyle Coleman, who just this week shifted from linebacker. Amosa got some significant work against the Chiefs, including picking up a fourth-and-one. It remains unclear, though, if the Seahawks will keep a fullback and Carroll hinted at unveiling something new at the position against the Vikings saying “we’ve got a little experiment that you’ll see at gametime that we are testing out.’’
LB Mike Morgan: The veteran as in Philadelphia on Monday having a groin issue examined, but back at practice on Tuesday and expected to play against the Vikings. Morgan appears to be leading the three-man battle for the strongside linebacking battle,which also includes Cassius Marsh and Eric Pinkins, who will also each play extensively against the Vikings. “Mike just continues to do things right,’’ Carroll said. “He is really good at understanding the scheme, very accountable and he has always come through, he’s doing fine. The two other guys are trying to battle to make some noise for their opportunity to play there.”
CB Tharold Simon: Seattle’s depth at cornerback is one reason many are touting this team as being as deep as the 2013 squad that won the Super Bowl. Simon’s progress is a big part of that increased cornerback depth as he the fourth-year player has so far been able to stay healthy. Simon had a pass interference penalty against the Chiefs, but Wednesday Carroll indicated Simon is ahead of the rest of the pack of reserves battling for a roster spot if not pushing for a starting role. “He has had a very, very consistent camp technique-wise and he’s a big guy out there so he has done really well,’’ Carroll said of Simon, who missed most of last season with a toe issue. “I am probably most pleased with his progress because we haven’t seen him really be fit. …. He is going to play quite a bit in this game and the next couple weeks.’’