By Scott M. Johnson Herald Writer
KIRKLAND – The last time the Seattle Seahawks faced the Minnesota Vikings, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck suffered a knee injury that sidelined him for four games. He openly criticized the hit from Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson, saying that the injury could have been avoided.
This week, Hasselbeck will see Henderson again. But he doesn’t plan to seek him out for a conversation.
“I’m not even sure what number he wears,” Hasselbeck said on Tuesday, 10 months after the last meeting and four days before the Seahawks and Vikings play in a preseason game at Qwest Field. “I don’t know what I’d say. ‘Thanks for ruining my season?’
“I don’t know. Whatever.”
Hasselbeck missed four games because of a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee last season. The quarterback openly questioned whether Henderson did everything he could do to avoid contact after Hasselbeck had released the ball.
On Tuesday, Hasselbeck said that he was more concerned with the lack of protection provided by league rules than he is with Henderson as a player.
“I don’t really have an issue with him, necessarily,” Hasselbeck said. “I just have an issue with the rule. Like I’ve said before, I don’t have a problem with a guy leading and hitting me in the ribs with his helmet; I’ve got no problem with that. I don’t even have a problem with a guy hitting me in the head.
“I do have a problem with a guy who’s late around the quarterback’s knees unnecessarily. I do have a problem with that, and I think it’s something that needs to be talked about.”
While the Seahawks and Vikings will return to the field this Saturday night, Hasselbeck isn’t hoping for any revenge.
“It’s not an issue with their team or an issue with a certain player,” he said. “I just think that if you want to protect the quarterback, that’s the place to start, in my opinion.”
@5. Sports notes lead:Hobbled linebackers: During a time when he’s supposed to be rebuilding chemistry with his fellow starters, middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu has been adjusting to new faces.
@5. Sports notes:With Leroy Hill (hamstring) and Julian Peterson (knee) sidelined by injuries, Tatupu was the only starting linebacker in action Tuesday.
“You hate to lose guys, especially guys as talented as Leroy and Julian,” Tatupu said. “But when one guy goes out, someone else has to step up.”
Kevin Bentley has been working in place of Hill, while Lance Laury joined the No. 1 defense Tuesday to fill in for Peterson.
Tatupu was especially impressed with the work of Laury, who played with the No. 1 base defense, the No. 2 base defense and the No. 3 nickel defense at Tuesday’s morning practice.
“That’s triple duty, right there,” Tatupu said. “For someone to do that, it’s pretty impressive.”
The injuries to Hill and Peterson are not believed to be serious.
Peterson entered Monday’s morning practice with a knee brace but could not finish. He was wearing ice on his right knee by the end of that session and was not in attendance during the Tuesday sessions.
Coach Mike Holmgren may have more information on Peterson’s injury today.
@5. Sports notes lead:Wallace extends deal: Backup quarterback Seneca Wallace signed a three-year extension with the team.
@5. Sports notes:Wallace, who turned 27 earlier this month, went 2-2 as a starter last season while filling in for Hasselbeck. On Tuesday, Wallace said he’s content being a backup even though there might have been starting opportunities in other NFL cities.
“I’m just happy to be here,” Wallace said. “I have no complaints. I’m not going to say, ‘I wish I was here or there.’ Right now I’m happy to be in Seattle.”
According to several reports, the extension was worth $5.4 million over three years.
@5. Sports notes lead:Beating the pros: During a post-practice exhibition on the Seahawks’ practice field, punter Ryan Plackemeier out-did a pair of professional golfers at their own game.
@5. Sports notes:Plackemeier won a closest-to-the-pin contest against Senior PGA Tour participants Jim Colbert and Jerry Pate, who were in town for the Boeing Classic in Snoqualmie.
Plackemeier, who has a 5-handicap, landed within four feet of the pin after teeing off 115 yards away on a portable piece of Astroturf.