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DK Metcalf among several to keep an eye on as Seahawks visit Vikings

UPDATED: Sat., Aug. 17, 2019, 8:35 p.m.

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf (14) is tackled by Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris after making a catch during the first half of an NFL football preseason game Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf (14) is tackled by Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris after making a catch during the first half of an NFL football preseason game Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
By Bob Condotta Seattle Times

Will Seahawks fans finally get a chance to watch Russell Wilson, Chris Carson, Tyler Lockett, K.J. Wright and many other starting players who sat out the preseason opener a week ago Thursday?

Probably for at least a little while Sunday at Minnesota, though coach Pete Carroll decided to play it vague as can be during his last media availability of the week Friday, declining to say exactly what the team’s plan is.

Carroll, though, had earlier said to expect many of those who sat out Seattle’s preseason-opening victory against Denver to get on the field, including Wilson, who for the first time in his career did not play in a preseason opener.

But as is almost always the case in the preseason, if all goes as planned, the starters won’t necessarily be the story.

Instead, the most intrigue is in seeing how the battles continue to unfold for some of the positions that remain open, as well as those for players still simply trying to sew up their spots on the roster.

Here are some concerns as game time approaches:

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer also is playing it coy on how long his starters might be on the field other than to basically confirm they will start the game.

If the defensive starters play much at all, then it will be another good test for Seahawks rookie receiver DK Metcalf, and a chance to put up a few more numbers than last week, when he was held to one catch for 8 yards but also saw two passes for potentially long gains go just out of his reach and also saw another reception called back due to a penalty (all thrown by Geno Smith meaning Sunday could/should be his first chance to get game-action reps with Wilson).

Metcalf has continued to impress in practice, rotating in with the starters at times, and preseason results are always risky to read much into.

But given the hype and attention directed Metcalf’s way, the Seahawks might like it if he reeled in a few passes against a good defense to give some public validation of what they have seen so far mostly in private.

The Seahawks basically have a four-man open battle for the slot cornerback spot between Akeem King, Kalan Reed, Jamar Taylor and Ugo Amadi. Amadi also is playing some safety and his spot on the roster seems just about assured given his draft status, versatility and potential special-teams value.

And King has been considered the favorite for the spot since the spring, when he signed a contract that included a $400,000 bonus.

But nothing is guaranteed.

Seattle coaches have painted the situation as a good one to have with a lot of viable contenders. But Carroll also mentioned Friday the difficulty of getting everyone enough snaps to both get properly prepared and be fairly evaluated. And that might mean the Seahawks would like to begin narrowing things down a little bit.

Injuries at running back last week compelled the Seahawks to give 13 carries to Xavier Turner, who had signed the day before the Denver game.

Three of those missing last week are contenders for the third-down/two-minute back role — veterans C.J. Prosise and J.D. McKissic and rookie Travis Homer.

Prosise and Homer were back in pads Friday, so the assumption is they’ll be ready to play. McKissic was not, but he did some conditioning work earlier in the week and Carroll said there was a chance he could return.

While Seattle wants to use Carson and Rashaad Penny more in receiving roles this season, they are almost certain to keep a third-down back, as well. For the mercurial Prosise, a third-round choice in 2016 who continues to struggle with injuries, time is running out.

Bryan Mone, an undrafted rookie free agent defensive tackle from Michigan, played well against Denver with three tackles, one for a loss, further helping his case to potentially be the beneficiary of Jarran Reed’s six-game suspension.

While Reed is out, the Seahawks will have to have someone else play some snaps at tackle that wasn’t anticipated before his suspension.

Carroll said Friday that veteran Al Woods continues to be the leader to start in place of Reed alongside Poona Ford.

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