Harvin impresses in Seattle debut
SEATTLE — He re-emerged from injury obscurity and was classic Percy Harvin — demanding, dynamic and revelatory. Still confounding after all these years.
The Vikings' former Pro Bowl playmaker made his anticipated debut for the Seahawks on Sunday and delivered a two-touch performance that thrilled his new teammates and fans in Seattle's 41-20 romp at CenturyLink Field.
He made a spectacular catch the first time quarterback Russell Wilson targeted him in the second quarter, tipping the ball over his head with one hand and cradling it before crashing to the turf. He added a 58-yard kick return in the final minute of the half to set up Seattle's most important touchdown of the day.
Harvin offered nothing on his abrupt divorce from the Vikings but still made news, revealing without elaboration that he had surgery during the off-season to remove a tumor. That would have been before the wide receiver/kick returner had a hip operation in early August to repair a torn labrum, an injury that threatened his season.
"It was just a lot built into this game (more) than just my hip," he said. "So, emotionally it was just good to get out there to be with my teammates again. I don't see any more setbacks. I'm looking to take off from here."
Harvin was giddy during a post-game news conference in which he expressed gratitude for playing for a 10-1 team after a yearlong hiatus and for Seattle coach Pete Carroll finally green-lighting him to return kicks after a concussion sidelined regular returner Jermaine Kearse.
"I don't know who did what, but (Carroll) just ran and shouted at me, 'Get your, uh, tail in there,'" Harvin said. "I think I showed them I've got the confidence to play football again."
Harvin's last game with the Vikings was Nov. 4, 2012, at this very stadium, where he suffered a season-ending ankle injury following a sideline tantrum in which he screamed at coach Leslie Frazier.
The temperamental star was in his coach's ear again Sunday, leading the collective lobbying to let him return kicks despite Carroll's reluctance.
"I talked to him. I had every offensive coordinator yelling at him on their headsets. I had the guys upstairs on the box yelling at him," Harvin said. "I had his son (offensive assistant Nate Carroll) yelling at him. It was something I wanted real badly not just because I wanted a big play. I'm a kick returner. It was a chance to make a big play. He came to me and I was able to make it."
After his 45-yard field goal shaved Seattle's lead to 17-13, Blair Walsh kicked 4 yards deep into the end zone, where Harvin corralled the ball and burst through a crease between the hash marks, eluding the kicker before Marcus Sherels made a touchdown-saving tackle at the Vikings' 46.
Harvin said he was unsure whether the Vikings would even kick to him.
"I didn't think they'd know I was going to be back there so I kind of tried to sneak back," he said. "Once I got back there and seen his approach to the ball I knew he was still kicking it deep. I was just hoping he wouldn't kick it out of the end zone because he's got a big leg."
Frazier said the Vikings were not caught by surprise.
"I thought we could cover the kick. We didn't and they ended up with great field position and they scored," the Vikings coach said.
Harvin played a spare 16 snaps but was open more times than he was targeted.
"He just looked ridiculously fast," Carroll said.
Harvin spent time before, during and after the game joyfully reuniting with Minnesota players and staff. General manager Rick Spielman pecked him on the cheek and gave Harvin a pre-game hug. Downfield he slapped butts and helmets with cornerback Chris Cook following a Seattle running play.
After the game, Harvin and running back Adrian Peterson shared a long embrace and laughed at midfield. Harvin insisted there was "no love lost" with his former team despite the well-chronicled acrimony about playing time and contract status during his four productive and tumultuous seasons in Minnesota.
"I still have great relationships with a lot of those guys," he said. "A.P. helped me through a lot of situations. His fiancee and my girl are very close friends so it's constant just talking to those guys. The media blew it all out of proportion with the whole Minnesota thing, but I've still got love for those guys and I think they have love for me. It's all good."
Harvin was asked why he could not coexist with the Vikings.
"That's not for me to decide," he said. "Things didn't work out there. I'm here. I'm enjoying myself. I'm having a blast. Life goes on."