Hasselbeck, Seahawks, gash Vikings defense
Friday, August 8, 2008; 11:19 PM
MINNEAPOLIS -- Matt Hasselbeck and the Seattle Seahawks had no problem with Minnesota's upgraded defense.
Hasselbeck was 7-of-8 for 70 yards and a touchdown and the Seahawks racked up 187 total yards in three series against the Vikings' defensive starters in a 34-17 preseason victory on Friday night.
After trading for sack champ Jared Allen and adding safety Madieu Williams from Cincinnati, defense figured to be the least of the Vikings' worries going into the season.
Coach Brad Childress gave Williams and Pro Bowl defensive tackle Pat Williams the night off, and the Seahawks scored 17 points and averaged 9.4 yards per play against the rest of the No. 1 defense.
Maurice Morris got the start at running back ahead of Julius Jones and rushed for 62 yards on six carries in the first three drives against what was the league's top-ranked run defense last season.
And Hasselbeck was nearly perfect while taking snaps from brand new center Steve Vallos, who stepped in after starter Chris Spencer was injured and backup Chris Gray abruptly retired.
Vallos spent all last season on the practice squad and was a tackle in college, but Allen and Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kevin Williams never got a whiff of Hasselbeck on Friday night. He threw an 18-yard TD pass to Jordan Kent to cap the opening drive and led the Seahawks to a field goal in his only other series of the night.
Backup QB Seneca Wallace also was impressive, completing 15 of 20 passes for 165 yards and three touchdowns.
Hasselbeck's success was expected from a 10-year veteran coming off a Pro Bowl season.
There are many more questions surrounding Tarvaris Jackson, the third-year pro who is entering his second season as Minnesota's starting quarterback after an erratic debut.
He showed fine command of the offense in his three series of the preseason opener, completing 8 of 11 passes for 118 yards and a score.
With Adrian Peterson being used only as a decoy, the Vikings called passes on the first 11 plays Jackson was under center. He threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to new fullback Thomas Tapeh and hooked up with new receiver Bernard Berrian twice for 43 yards.
Notes:@ Vikings reserve LB Heath Farwell (right knee) and backup tackle Drew Radovich (shoulder) left the game with injuries and did not return. ... Seattle rookie OT William Robinson was carted back to the locker room with an undisclosed injury in the fourth quarter. ... Seattle scored 20 points off five turnovers. ... Jones finished with 15 yards on four carries.