Veteran offensive linemen Chester Pitts (knee) and Ben Hamilton (knee) held their helmets on the sideline and did not practice today, so the starting left side of the offensive line will be the green duo of Mansfield Wrotto at left tackle and Mike Gibson at left guard.
That said, you would expect Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll to want to get veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck out of there early, huh? Think again. Carroll said Hasselbeck likely will play into the third quarter with the rest of the offensive unit, which is traditionally done in the third preseason game.
“Matt’s going to play into the second half,” Carroll said. “So that’s what the plan is. … that’s what we have to do this week. Everybody is getting ready to play three quarters of football as far as the starters, so we’ll see what happens.
Carroll did go on to play that the offense is game-planning for Minnesota’s traditionally strong pass rush as they head into Saturday’s contest.
“They’ve got some very good players,” Carroll said. “Their rush guys are terrific. And their front is a very good group. So we have to do a number of things.
“This is a week that we did delve into game plan thoughts – not fully, but enough to make a statement to the players on how we would do things, so that they would have to make adjustments that you make during a normal game week. So there are some things that we are doing this week to help out with the protection.”
Carroll said linebacker David Hawthorne has a hip issue that has kept him out of practice this week. Hawthorne will not play on Saturday, and Will Herring will start at weak-side, outside linebacker in his place.
“We think of him as a starter and front-line player in our program,” Carroll said about Herring. “And so I think he’ll do well at the spot.”
Tight end Cameron Morrah had the flu and missed a couple days of practice this week, but did return to practice today and is expected to play on Saturday.
Tatupu ready to go: After being held back because of a lingering hamstring issue, linebacker Lofa Tatupu will finally see his first action this week against Minnesota.
Tatupu said he’s ready to go.
“This is what we do,” Tatupu said. “It’s not fun sitting there watching everybody have fun. So I’m excited to get back out there. The Vikings are a good team, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Carroll said having Tatupu back should provide a boost for the first defense.
“He’s a very special player,” Carroll said. “We see it during the course of the week in practice. His instincts about finding routes in coverage and play-action passes and things is just way above the other guys. It’s that much better.
“So not only will he play that position better, but he also adds to everybody’s play because of his alerts, because of his presence. He’s going to give our guys a head’s up on what’s coming, and he a special savvy for the game that helps everyone play better.”
OT Pitts on target: Carroll said offensive linemen Chester Pitts remains on target to possibly play the team’s regular-season opener against the San Francisco 49ers in two weeks.
Pitts, who was removed from the active PUP list this week, did not practice fully with the team, but is expected to get some reps next week as he slowly makes his way back from microfracture surgery on his right knee.
“He’s preparing to get his football right,” Carroll said. “And next week will be really important. That will be the first week that he’ll practice. And we had hoped to get more done than we did this week, but he’s still worked out a lot this week.
“So he’s getting physically right. Next week will be an important week. And by the game week with San Francisco we expect to see him out there practicing for us.”
Carroll said that Pitts will play mainly tackle for Seattle at this point.
*Carroll said offensive tackle Ray Willis had his knee surgery and that everything went well. “He’s on the mend,” Carroll said. “He’ll be coming back around next week getting with us. But it’s going to be awhile before he’s right.”
Willis is expected to miss the first chunk of the regular season.
* Defensive end Brandon Mebane, who had a sore calf and did not play last week, has fully participated in practice this week and is expected to play on Saturday.
* Defensive Tackle Quinn Pitcock had the play of the day in the team’s 1 ½ practice. During two minute drills against the first unit, Pitcock deflected a screen pass to running back Leon Washington and came up with the ball on the tip.
* Others sitting out of practice included LB Leroy Hill and LT Russell Okung, who did not attend practice today. Cornerback Josh Pinkard (knee) remains on the active pup list.