SEATTLE – In his first game back in more than a month, John Moffitt was supposed to be a fill-in guy.
But the second-year pro out of Wisconsin got his third start of the season, and first in his short NFL career at left guard against Minnesota.
Moffitt, who missed five games with a knee injury, replaced James Carpenter in the starting lineup because Carpenter was ruled out Saturday because of a concussion.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll explained Carpenter’s mysterious injury situation after the game. Carroll said Carpenter took a big hit during Wednesday’s practice and was taken out for further evaluation. He came back Thursday and was OK.
However, Carroll said Carpenter didn’t feel right Friday. Carpenter also told trainers that he got hit to the head in last week’s game at Detroit. Complicating matters was Carpenter got a flu shot during the week, so the training staff thought he could have been experiencing flu-like symptoms from the shot.
“We were treating him for being sick to his stomach and stuff, so we weren’t quite sure,” Carroll said. “At the end of the week we just ruled him out with the concussion symptoms. We had to play it safe.”
Carroll said that he decided to start Moffitt at left guard because he played there in college, and they didn’t want to make two moves along the offensive line. If Moffitt didn’t hold up, Carroll said the plan was to move Paul McQuistan to left guard and play rookie J.R. Sweezy at right guard.
Seattle started its fifth different offensive line combination this season against Minnesota.
“I think it was good, not great,” Moffitt said about his performance. “To me, there’s stuff to work on. I think I was knocking the rust off on a lot of things. And I know I’ll see it on the film.”
Moffitt said he’s been working at all three interior positions since returning to practice two weeks ago, and feels more comfortable at left guard because of his time playing there at Wisconsin.
ANOTHER MISSED PICK
Seattle safety Earl Thomas can only shake his head at all the interceptions – at least five – he should have this season.
The Seahawks’ stellar safety saw another sure turnover hit him in the hands and then drop to the ground.
With Seattle leading 30-20 late in the fourth quarter and the Vikings forced to pass their way back into the game, Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder uncorked a pass well over the head of his intended receiver Jerome Simpson.
Thomas read it all the way and was right there to make the catch – only he didn’t. It was another opportunity that hit him in the hands and slipped away.
“I’m probably leading the league in dropped picks,” he lamented.
Thomas will get plenty of grief from his teammates for yet another drop. It will also cost him some money. He and cornerback Brandon Browner started a pot the defensive backs pay into when they drop an interception. You might as well call it the Earl Thomas fund.
“Oh, by far,” he said of making the most donations. “I will be paying again this week.”
TALKING THE TALK
The Seahawks have no shortage of words for their opponents or on social media. Richard Sherman has become the symbol for the bravado, particularly after his run-ins with Tom Brady and Calvin Johnson.
But Thomas was noticeably doing the jawing Sunday. The soft-spoken Thomas had words with Vikings All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson a few times. After a hard, physical 15-yard run where Thomas made the tackle, he went nose-to-nose with Peterson, with both exchanging words.
“It was two competitors trying to win,” Thomas said. “I wasn’t going to back down.”
Peterson, who rushed for 182 yards, shrugged off the incident.
“Yeah, I was surprised,” he said. “I got up and he was celebrating like he just won the lottery or something. I was just looking at him like, ‘What are you celebrating for? Maybe because you made the tackle and got me down?’ But, that was funny. He’s a good guy, though.”
University of Washington and Lakes High product Jermaine Kearse got his first action as a pro, finishing with a catch for 6 yards. Kearse also dropped a pass that would have resulted in a first down. “I just had to calm down,” Kearse said. “At the very beginning my mind and body was moving faster than I could think. I had to take some deep breaths and just calm down. ... As the game went on, the game got easier.” ... Carroll said linebacker K.J. Wright suffered a concussion in the first quarter and never returned. He will be evaluated further today. Mike Morgan took Wright’s place at outside linebacker, and finished with three tackles, including one for a loss. ... Seattle center Max Unger suffered a dislocated finger and had to leave the game for a couple series in the second half. Unger was replaced by Lemuel Jeanpierre but later returned to the game. .... Seattle’s offense has done a much better job of getting touchdowns in the red zone the past two games. After finishing 2-for-3 in the red zone last week against Detroit, the Seahawks were 4-for-6 inside the 20-yard line against the Vikings. ... The Seahawks forced two turnovers and did not give up one against the Vikings. At home, Seattle has a plus-four turnover differential, but the Seahawks have a minus-four turnover differential on the road. ... The Seahawks held Ponder to 63 passing yards and sacked him four times. ... Seattle held Minnesota receiver Percy Harvin to 34 yards from scrimmage. Harvin suffered an ankle injury and had to leave the game in the fourth quarter.Staff writer Ryan Divish contributed to this report.