SEATTLE -- Almost everything went to plan for the Seahawks Friday night.
But the one thing that kept it from being a complete success is a big one. George Fant's season-ending knee injury cast a pall over the rest of the performance against the Minnesota Vikings. It sends the offensive line back into a state of uncertainty when the team was close to settling on a starting five for the regular season.
Beyond the Fant injury, the offense moved the ball consistently in the first half. Kasen Williams and Chris Carson showed up for the second week in a row and the defense didn't allow a touchdown until the closing minutes, but it was hard to move beyond the loss of the team's starting let tackle in the second quarter.
Here are four takeaways from tonight's 20-13 win over the Vikings:
1. Loss of a George Fant a big blow to Seahawks' offense.
Fant was named the Seahawks' starting left tackle on Thursday by head coach Pete Carroll. Now his season has come to an abrupt end.
During the second quarter, Fant was pass blocking when a pile of players, including center Justin Britt, toppled into Fant's right knee. Fant immediately buckled and went to the ground. Medical personnel quickly placed his leg in an air cast and he left the field on the back of a cart.
"Really broken-hearted about George Fant getting hurt," Carroll said after the game. "Just unfortunate. He's done so much, come so far and everybody's cheering for him and rooting for him all along and he's going to be in trouble with getting back this season. He's got a knee injury that's going to require surgery unfortunately. So that kind of takes a little something out of it for everybody."
"It's an ACL deal. They don't know any more than that but it's significant."
While Fant was a football neophyte last year, he added over 20 pounds to his frame and appeared well positioned to make a significant stride forward this season. Carroll felt so comfortable in Fant as to name him the starter at tackle with Luke Joeckel at left guard during his press conference after practice on Thursday.
"It didn't sound good. It didn't look good. It's tough to see," Joeckel said.
"He's going to be in my prayers. He's going to be in my family's prayers for a good while. You never want to see that on the field and it's tough to see. Especially for a guy that's worked so fricking hard every single day and just really improved every day and gotten so much better at his craft, to see something like that is tough."
Rees Odhiambo replaced Fant at left tackle after the injury. They could keep Odhiambo at tackle or swap him and Joeckel, who has left tackle experience with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Seahawks could also move Mark Glowinski back to left guard and give Oday Aboushi the starting job at right guard as well.
But the Seahawks were really close to putting their line in place before Fant's injury. Now they'll have to get creative once again.
Thank you all for your support 🙏🏾 I'm in good hands.— George Fant (@GeorgeFant74) August 19, 2017
2. Kasen Williams has another big night in making push for roster spot.
While Williams had a big night a week ago against the Los Angeles Chargers, his showing against Minnesota may have gone that much further toward earning him a roster spot.
Williams started the game and caught two passes on the opening drive - a 27-yard pass from Russell Wilson over Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes and a 1-yard touchdown against Marcus Sherels. He followed it up by making a tackle on Jerick McKinnon on the ensuing kickoff.
"I've been on (practice) squad for two years now and quite honestly I'm just tired of it," Williams said. "I'm still here, I'm persevering through it and I just know that this is my opportunity, this is my time to make something happen. So every time the ball is in the air I just know that I've got to come down with it."
Williams was a part of the first-team kick coverage unit Friday night and he ran with the first-team offense as well with Tyler Lockett and Paul Richardson out.
"And honestly that was one of the most important parts for me," Williams said. "You can make all the offensive plays in the world, but I know just from being on this team that you're only going to make the team if you're making special teams plays."
Williams' damage against the Chargers came against undrafted rookie cornerback Michael Davis. He beat a Pro Bowl cornerback in Rhodes and another veteran cornerback in Sherels in his two catches Friday night. The level of competition he succeeded against was significantly higher against Minnesota.
"It was more important for me to do it against a starting corner," Williams said. "Somebody that's known in the league. And for me to do it now was perfect for me."
Williams is now absolutely in the fight for one of the final receiver spots on the team.
3. Chris Carson continuing to leave a strong impression.
With Thomas Rawls (ankle) and C.J. Prosise (groin) not playing against the Vikings, rookie Chris Carson was the backup to starter Eddie Lacy on Friday night.
Carson carried six times for 27 yards and caught a 10-yard pass from Russell Wilson in his limited duty in the first half. While the statistics themselves may not be eye-popping, Carson has managed to make the most out of his opportunities through the first two weeks of the preseason. He carried seven times for 19 yards and two touchdowns last Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers.
"That's what I've been dying to see," Carson said. "I really wanted to go against the ones just to see how the NFL is really. It was a blessing just to be out there and play. I had fun. Those guys on the defensive side are great competitors and it was just a blessing being out there."
Like Williams, Carson also showed up on special teams. On the opening kickoff of the second half, Carson forced a fumble from Vikings returner Rodney Adams and recovered the loose ball to set up a Blair Walsh field goal.
"I got (DeAndre) Elliott telling me every day, tells me 'special teams, special teams,'" Carson said. "That's what he tells me. It's big. That can make or break a roster, help you get on a roster.
"In the NFL that can really determine if you make the team or not so I'm taking it very serious and I got guys in my ear telling me how important it is."
4. Blair Walsh makes two field goals, rubs it in against former team.
Former Vikings kicker Blair Walsh is still getting used to his new surroundings in Seattle. But with familiar faces dotting the opposing sideline tonight, Walsh left an impression with his new club.
After each of his 52-yard field goals against the Vikings Friday night, Walsh gestured toward Minnesota's sidelines. He first pointed in the direction of the Vikings' sideline, then pointed toward the side of his head after the second field goal.
Walsh said it was a response to comments coming his way from his former colleagues.
"It was far from smack talk," Walsh said. "I just felt like I was getting a little jeer and getting taunted a little bit by my ex-teammates and I think they were in jest. I hope it was because my response was in jest. I just wanted to let them know that it wasn't going to kind of go down that way."
Walsh said the taunts coming his way from the Vikings' sideline weren't able to be repeated in front of microphones.
"I didn't say anything," Walsh said. "When you've got guys who were your teammates for five years yelling at you when you're trying to kick, it's odd. I hope they were in jest and hope they didn't mean it because I didn't mean anything with mine. But it definitely wasn't out of nowhere.
"You want to let your actions speak at that point and it was nice we won the game. Let's put it that way."
Nevertheless, Walsh was greeted enthusiastically by cornerback Richard Sherman and other after his made kicks.
"I'm not here to be heard," Walsh said. "I'm here to just do my job and produce for this team and make kicks and I think these guys see that I'm here to do that. They understand that I'm not being boastful, I was simply just responding to getting taunted. So there you go."
Photo Credit: SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 18: Running back Chris Carson #32 of the Seattle Seahawks rushes against the Minnesota Vikings at CenturyLink Field on August 18, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)