By Tim Booth, AP Sports Writer
SEATTLE (AP) — New Seattle quarterback Tarvaris Jackson saw far more of his former team than he wanted. Minnesota's new starter, Donovan McNabb, got on the field just long enough to put together one impressive drive and call it a night.
Reserve cornerback Marcus Sherels returned a deflected pass from Jackson 64 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, Ryan Longwell added a pair of field goals, and the Vikings beat the Seahawks 20-7 on Saturday night.
Tristan Davis provided the capper for Minnesota with a 35-yard touchdown run with 2:09 left and the Vikings first offensive touchdown of the preseason.
After spending five seasons in Minnesota - the last two as a reserve to Brett Favre - Jackson signed a two-year deal to become the starter in Seattle in part because of his familiarity with new Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. Jackson was then able to help lure Sidney Rice from Minnesota to the West Coast.
But the former Vikings weren't able to show off much against their former club. Jackson finished 11 of 21 for 75 yards and an interception, getting harassed throughout the first half by an offensive line that failed to provide adequate protection. Rice caught just two passes for 11 yards. And Seattle's first-team offense managed only 139 total yards despite running 39 plays in the first half.
Meanwhile, McNabb looked sharp once he got some extended time on the field. He got all of three plays for the first 16 minutes, getting sacked by Raheem Brock on his second snap and connecting with Adrian Peterson on a short completion.
McNabb finally saw the field again starting at the 1 early in the second quarter. McNabb hit his next three passes, including throws of 17 yards to rookie tight end Kyle Rudolph and a 23-yard swing pass to Jim Kleinsasser. Later in the drive, McNabb's 21-yard pass to new wide receiver Michael Jenkins got the Vikings inside the 25. Eventually, the Vikings had to settle for the first of Longwell's two field goals.
McNabb finished 6 of 8 for 81 yards and the one sack. He missed on his final pass when Rudolph was matched up in single coverage against undrafted rookie safety Jeron Johnson and McNabb led Rudolph too far on the throw, missing a potential touchdown. Minnesota missed another potential TD early in the fourth quarter when receiver Emmanuel Arceneaux had the ball knocked out from behind by Seattle safety Josh Pinkard short of the goal line and through the end zone for a Seattle touchback.
While McNabb was barely touched outside the one sack, Jackson was running for safety for most of the first half after Seattle's remodeled and young offensive line struggled. It was ominous from the start as Jackson was forced to avoid Jared Allen coming unblocked on Seattle's first offensive series.
It was that way for most of the first half for Jackson, as Seattle's left side of Robert Gallery and Tyler Polumbus - filling in for injured left tackle Russell Okung - struggled to turn back the pressure.
And when Seattle did threaten to score early in the second quarter, that same offensive line couldn't create any holes. The Seahawks had first and goal at the 2 and Justin Forsett was stopped four times - three times from the 1 - against the Vikings reserve defensive line.
Jackson's interception wasn't his fault as the pass went through the hands of Golden Tate and deflected right to Sherels. Tate went immediately to the bench and only saw action sparingly the rest of the night.
While Jackson struggled, Charlie Whitehurst entered in the third quarter and was impressive for the second straight week. Whitehurst was nearly perfect, hitting his first seven passes and 10 of 11, the final one a 3-yard TD toss to Anthony McCoy on the first play of the fourth quarter. There were chants of ``Charlie! Charlie!'' coming from the Seahawks fans, but Carroll has made it quite clear that Jackson will be the starter in Week 1 at San Francisco.
Minnesota rookie QB Christian Ponder entered midway through the second quarter and got tested against the bulk of Seattle's starting defense. Ponder went just 1 of 4 on his initial drive, but was helped by a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to Seattle's Aaron Curry, who ripped off Ryan Cook's helmet and flung it toward the Vikings' sideline. Longwell eventually connected on a 36-yard field goal and a 13-0 Vikings lead at halftime.
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