Seahawks Preseason Preview: Players fighting for starting jobs vs. Vikings

Joe Fann
NBC Sports Northwest

The Seattle Seahawks (1-0) are in Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Vikings (1-0) on Sunday night in Week 2 of the preseason. Last week's preview focused on players fighting for roster spots. This time around, we'll take a look at which starting spots might be up for grabs.

Seattle had the benefit of having 10 days between exhibition contests, and during that time, some interesting developments have taken place at the top of the Seahawks roster. Below is a look at some of the players who might have an opportunity to become Week 1 starters.

S Marquise Blair

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There's a growing sense that Blair might be able to challenge Tedric Thompson at free safety sooner rather than later. Blair's preseason debut showed flashes of his awareness, anticipation, closing speed and physicality. Both of his big downfield hits, even though one was penalized, exemplified those traits.

On Friday, Blair ended practice with a sideline interception. He continues to show a higher ceiling than Thompson from a playmaking standpoint. The big difference is that Pete Carroll trusts Thompson. The same can't be said for Blair just yet.

For his impressive plays, the rookie also had a few costly missed assignments against Denver. He freelanced on a few occasions, which led to one explosive pass play into the red zone.

"He's just got to learn what we're doing, figure it out, and make sure that he's really tight with all of his assignments and responsibilities," Carroll said. "That's going to take some time. That takes time before we trust him, we have guys that we do trust and they know what they're doing so he has to work his way through all of that so the competition is really stiff."

If Blair gets sound within the scheme, he may force the coaching staff to find a way to get him on the field.

G/C Ethan Pocic

Pocic has been the benefactor of Mike Iupati's run of injuries so far during camp. Iupati has missed a few weeks with a foot injury and now, to quote Carroll, has "an unfortunate calf thing." That means Pocic will continue to be the starting left guard in Iupati's absence. The starting offense is expected to get additional work over the next two preseason games, which gives Pocic a huge opportunity to prove he's worthy of the job, even when Iupati returns.

Seattle's 2017 second-round pick has made 15 starts over his first two seasons. This could be the season he earns a full-time role.

Nickel CBs

This remains one of the biggest positions of intrigue on the roster. Jamar Taylor, Kalan Reed, Akeem King and Ugo Amadi are all battling for the starting nickel role. Taylor had an interception against the Broncos and then had a strong week of practice ahead of Sunday night's game against the Vikings. However, Carroll hinted that Reed might be the current leader in the clubhouse. Seattle won't make a decision here until they absolutely have to, but I'm still eager to watch all four players tonight.

Players who aren't fighting for starting jobs, but you should still be watching anyway

RBs J.D. McKissic, C.J. Prosise and Travis Homer

These players don't have a chance to unseat Chris Carson or Rashaad Penny on the depth chart, but all three are worth mentioning as they should be making their preseason debuts against the Vikings. The trio of running backs are fighting to make the team, and there's no way all three will be on the 53-man roster. Staying healthy and being productive in these exhibition contests will be vital in their respective cases for why Seattle should keep them.

TE Jacob Hollister

Hollister opened camp on fire and was one of the stars in Seattle's mock game at Pop Keeney Stadium in Bothell, Wash. Since then he's been on the shelf with a groin strain. Hollister finally made his return to practice and should play on Sunday night. I tend to think his roster spot is safe, but right now he's behind Will Dissly and Nick Vannett on the depth chart. He's got the ability as a pass catcher to push both for playing time in the regular season.

Seahawks Preseason Preview: Players fighting for starting jobs vs. Vikings originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

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