The Vikings have arrived in Seattle for their second and final road game of the preseason.
Both the Vikings and Seahawks are coming off 17-16 road wins in their preseason openers. Minnesota topped Cincinnati, and Seattle beat Kansas City.
The second preseason game should feature a handful of storylines as both team's starters are likely to play more than in the first preseason game. It also is a rematch of the Wild Card contest this past January that Seattle won 10-9.
Kickoff: 9 p.m. (CT)
Simulcast: The game will be broadcast in the Minneapolis/St. Paul market via simulcast on KMSP FOX 9 television and KFAN 100.3 and across the Minnesota Vikings Radio Network by the team of Paul Allen, Pete Bercich, Greg Coleman and Ben Leber.
Three things to watch:
Safety evaluation continues— By Eric Smith
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said Tuesday that Harrison Smith can play alongside anyone at the other safety spot. Zimmer is still evaluating auditions for the gig.
Andrew Sendejo, who started all 13 games he played in 2016, opened against the Bengals. Antone Exum, Jr., veteran Michael Griffin and rookie Jayron Kearse also played, while Anthony Harris was sidelined. Exum notched a sack on a blitz, Griffin broke up a pass at the line of scrimmage and Kearse recorded an interception to seal the win.
Eyes on the O-Line — By Lindsey Young
One area to watch against the Seahawks tonight will be the offensive line, specifically who lines up at first-team right tackle. Andre Smith, whom the Vikings signed as a free agent in March, started against the Bengals last week. In practices since then, Smith and second-year tackle T.J. Clemmings have rotated days of first-team reps. Clemmings started all 16 games of the 2015 season.
"Both guys are working over there, and I think we're getting good production," Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner said Monday. "It's a long process. I think it's very good competition right now."
Another name to watch is left guard Alex Boone, a free agent who started 59 games with San Francisco in the past four seasons. During his team with the 49ers, Boone became well-acquainted with the Seahawks defensive line after playing 10 games against Seattle. Having that familiarity with Seattle's defense could make the reunion interesting.
Backfield in motion
The Seahawks are trying to fill the void created by the retirement of Marshawn Lynch and have seven running backs listed on the roster. Thomas Rawls, who rushed 19 times for 101 yards and a score against the Vikings as a rookie in December is returning from injury. Christine Michael, who filled in for Rawls and Lynch, in January rushed 21 times for 71 yards in the Wild Card game. After that, Seattle has four rookie running backs, including third-round pick C.J. Prosise, fifth-rounder Alex Collins and seventh-rounder Zac Brooks.
Minnesota could get several different looks against the variety of Seattle running backs and continue refining its tackling in its second preseason game. The Vikings also might have to defend a few read-option plays, which could be helpful with games at Tennessee in Week 1 and at Carolina in Week 3.
View photos of players and coaches who have suited up for both the Minnesota Vikings and the Seattle Seahawks.
— The teams played in the third-coldest game in NFL history when they met earlier this year in Minnesota. The temperature for the Wild Card playoff game was minus-6 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill of 25-below zero.
— Thursday's matchup features teams with strong home-field advantages over the past dozen-plus years. Seattle is 78-43 (.696 winning percentage) at home since 2002, the second-best mark in the NFC. The Vikings are third on the list with a 71-41 (.634) record, which includes two seasons at a temporary stadium at the University of Minnesota.
— Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson has 46 wins since being drafted in 2012, the most by a quarterback in his first four seasons in the NFL.
— The Seahawks offense ranked third in rushing yards per game, fourth in passing yards per game and tied for fourth in points per game in 2015. The Vikings defense ranked 17th in rushing yards allowed per game, 12th in passing yards allowed per game and fifth in points allowed per game last season.
"This is a playoff team, won the Super Bowl a couple years ago and the NFC Championship game a couple years ago. So, our guys know the competition that they're facing. I don't think of it as like this is the Wild Card round or anything like that, but I think it'll be good competition." — Zimmer on facing the Seahawks
Worth a watch
Check out the slow-mo and real-time highlights from Tuesday's final Vikings practice of the week.