The Seahawks have yet to win a preseason game, but Friday night's performance against the Minnesota Vikings provided the biggest test to date ahead of the regular season opener in Denver two weeks from Sunday.
Here are four takeaways from the 21-20 loss in Minnesota:
1. Russell Wilson is back playing in peak form.
In the latter stages of the 2017 season, Wilson became too frantic and unstructured in his quarterback play for Seattle. He'd turn down the chance to throw to open receivers in favor of breaking the pocket in an attempt to make something happen with his legs instead.
That style of play resulted in many frantic comeback attempts late in games, but far too few scoring drives engineered in the first three quarters.
The change to Brian Schottenheimer as the team's offensive coordinator has seemed to help get Wilson back on the right track. He's been far more committed to working inside the pocket this preseason and throwing the ball on time within the design of the play.
Of course it's helped that he's had a pocket to throw from pretty regularly as well.
It's shown in practice as well as the three preseason games that Wilson is much more committed to playing from within the pocket and only moving when necessary. It's how he played when he was the league's best quarterback over the second half of the 2015 season. Then he certainly still has his tremendous toolbox of abilities to make stuff happen outside the pocket as well, but it's not an offensive structure that can be consistent when called upon regularly.
Wilson looks like he's clearly back on the path the Seahawks need this season.
2. Seattle's offensive line deserves some credit.
It's a group that has perennially been a punching bag in recent seasons and reached a nadir last year with the completely inability to run the football. However, the Seahawks consistently moved the ball against the Vikings defense, which ranked as one of the best defenses in the league last season.
Wilson was not sacked in the six series he played Friday night. He was officially hit four times, but one was outside the pocket and only one was a truly clean shot due to a free rusher.
Additionally, the Seahawks rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown on 24 attempts. Yes, you read that correctly, the Seahawks scored a rushing touchdown. Chris Carson sprung free for a 6-yard touchdown in the second quarter that gave Seattle the lead.
It's been a consistent group on the offensive line throughout training camp with Duane Brown, Ethan Pocic, Justin Britt, D.J. Fluker and Germain Ifedi being fairly locked into their spots on the line. George Fant also saw time at right tackle in rotation with Ifedi on Friday night, but the unit as a while performed well. Ifedi included.
And while it's not technically offensive line related, point No. 5 helped in the run game as well.
3. Michael Dickson is a punting savant.
Dickson, a fifth-round rookie, is such a promising prospect that the Seahawks cut a 10-year veteran in Jon Ryan, who is far from finished in his football career.
In case you had been thinking the hype over a punter this offseason had been a little too extreme, Friday night was Exhibit A to the contrary.
Dickson had five punts against Minnesota and averaged 53.6 yards per punt. Two of those five punts landed inside the 5-yard line, only to carom sideways out of bounds at the 3-yard line to pin the Vikings deep in their own territory.
"You couldn't have been more effective with the punts for his first time out when he was really the guy. Really fired up about that."
After Dickson's second punt bounced out-of-bounds at the 3-yard line, he was mobbed coming off the field by his teammates on the sidelines.
Dickson has been stellar all offseason and repeatedly has shown the tremendous skill he has in kicking a football. He can absolutely be a weapon for the Seahawks this season.
4. This block by Will Dissly on Brian Robison.
Dissly (No. 88 vs. No. 96 lower part of screen) had a terrific block on this Mike Davis run in the second quarter. That's Dissly, a tight end, blocking Robinson, a defensive end, all the way to the perimeter of the field and finishing the block.
Jimmy Graham ain't doing that. Jimmy Graham wouldn't even have tried to do that.
Photo Credit: MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 24: Brandon Marshall #15 of the Seattle Seahawks makes a reception against Xavier Rhodes #29 of the Minnesota Vikings during the second quarter in the preseason game on August 24, 2018 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)