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Vikings at Seahawks Game Observations: Addison & Pace Start in Debuts

SEATTLE — The Vikings leaned on rookies and a few other newcomers Thursday night as they opened the 2023 preseason against the Seahawks.

A muffed punt recovery by Seattle in the third quarter swung momentum to the home team, which prevailed 24-13.

Minnesota opted to rest multiple players listed on the first-team offense and defense on the unofficial depth chart.

The following players did not play: OLB Marcus Davenport, RB Alexander Mattison, CB Byron Murphy, Jr., QB Kirk Cousins, WR K.J. Osborn, WR Justin Jefferson, S Harrison Smith, FB C.J. Ham, C Garrett Bradbury, LB Jordan Hicks, LT Christian Darrisaw, LG Ezra Cleveland, TE T.J. Hockenson, DL Dean Lowry, DL Harrison Phillips, OLB D.J. Wonnum and OLB Danielle Hunter.

Starting RT Brian O'Neill also did not play as he continues to work his way back from his Achilles injury.

Vikings Starting Offense

WR Jordan Addison

TE Johnny Mundt

TE Josh Oliver

LT Vederian Lowe

LG Blake Brandel

C Austin Schlottmann

RG Ed Ingram

RT Olisaemeka Udoh

WR Jalen Reagor

QB Nick Mullens

RB Ty Chandler

Notes: Without a fullback, the Vikings opted to open in 12 personnel (one running back and two tight ends). Minnesota had Mundt line up at fullback on a key fourth-and-1 pass play that he caught to keep the chains moving. That drive ended with a 26-yard field goal by Greg Joseph. First-round pick Jordan Addison was targeted three times and caught one pass for 22 yards. He nearly reeled in another but officials ruled his feet were not in bounds before securing the catch.

View pregame photos of the Vikings ahead of their preseason Week 1 game vs. the Seahawks at Lumen Field.

Vikings Starting Defense

OLB Luiji Vilain

DL Jonathan Bullard

DL Khyiris Tonga

OLB Pat Jones II

ILB Troy Reeder

ILB Ivan Pace, Jr.

CB Akayleb Evans

CB Mekhi Blackmon

S Camryn Bynum

S Josh Metellus

S Lewis Cine

Notes: The Vikings opened with a three-safety look and didn't shy away from sending Pace to try to create pressure. The undrafted rookie was in the mix on several plays. Vilain also had an active night pressuring Seattle QB Drew Lock. Vilain recorded a sack and forced fumble and totaled three QB hits. Undrafted rookie Jaylin Williams intercepted a pass by Lock that was deflected at the line by T.J. Smith.

Here are four more observations presented by Minnesota Eye Consultants, the Proud LASIK Partner of the Minnesota Vikings, followed by a scoring summary:

View game action photos from he Vikings vs. Seahawks preseason Week 1 game at Lumen Field.

1. Quarterback comparison

Mullens opened the game and played the entire first half.

He looked crisp and was able to move the ball on a couple of drives, but other possessions started with bad field position.

Mullens finished 14-of-20 passing for 139 yards with one touchdown and a passer rating of 106.0. He showed good anticipation on a deep pass to Jalen Reagor before perfectly lofting a jump ball to Nick Muse for a 4-yard score.

"We've got some different guys working together tonight with some of our starters [not playing]," O'Connell told Vikings Radio Network's Ben Leber at halftime during the simulcast by FOX 9 and KFAN 100.3-FM. "Nick Mullens is doing a great job running the show. … Nick's made some big plays in the play-pass game, and a real nice touchdown throw where Nick Muse went up and got it."

Fifth-round pick Jaren Hall played the second half, but he was frequently under duress.

Hall finished 6-of-14 passing for 37 yards and a passer rating of 50.3.

2. Quality runs with a bonus

Ty Chandler put together multiple nice runs, including for gains of 8, 8 and 9 in a four-play span to start Minnesota's first field goal drive of the game.

Chandler also looked comfortable catching the football out of the backfield, recording four catches for 29 yards.

"Ty Chandler's running the ball really well, not always on very well-blocked plays, to be honest," O'Connell told Leber. "Just the ability to put the ball in his hands in the check-down game, screen game."

3. Flag football

The worst part of the evening — and likely one of the first things O'Connell will address — were the penalties the Vikings committed.

According to, Minnesota was assessed 91 penalties that counted against the team in 2022, which tied for the 10th fewest in the NFL and comes out to an average of 5.35 per game.

On Thursday, the Vikings were assessed five penalties that were accepted by the Seahawks in the first half, resulting in 34 yards marked off against Minnesota.

"I don't like the penalties," O'Connell added in his interview with Leber. "Don't like the penalties at all."

The Vikings did not have a penalty assessed in the second half.

4. Special teams

Greg Joseph handled kicking duties exclusively. His night was highlighted by a 54-yard field goal.

The Vikings also opted to have Joseph kick short on kickoffs so that their kick coverage teams could put in some work.

Ryan Wright had a solid night, punting five times for 225 yards (average of 45.0) with a long of 54. Wright was able to pin the Seahawks at their 2-yard line a little before halftime.

Minnesota tried multiple returners on kickoffs and punts.

DeWayne McBride returned three kickoffs a total of 50 yards (16.7 yards per return). Jacob Copeland returned one kickoff 17 yards.

The muffed punt occurred when teammates got too close to Thayer Thomas. The undrafted rookie tried to field it in traffic but got walloped, and Seattle recovered, setting up the Seahawks go-ahead touchdown.