Earl Thomas and Bobby Wagner converged on Percy Harvin the last time he played in an NFL game.
The Seattle duo took Harvin to the CenturyLink Field turf more than a year ago when the Seahawks played the Minnesota Vikings, got up and headed back to the huddle. Harvin stayed on the ground. He grabbed at his ankle. His day and season were done.
Sunday, the Vikings return to CenturyLink. It appears Harvin will, too, finally making his Seattle debut after an offseason trade shipped the wide receiver to the team that hurt him.
Harvin practiced this week and is listed as “probable” on the official injury report for the first time since Aug. 1 hip surgery put him on the physically unable to perform list.
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If you ask him, Harvin is more definitive about his status.
“I definitely think I am ready to play,” Harvin said.
Based on multiple descriptions of his ability, it would appear as if Harvin has a bellyful of fuses.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, quarterback Russell Wilson, cornerback Richard Sherman and even Harvin have called him “explosive.”
In part, that’s a problem for his first game of the season.
Last year in Seattle, Harvin had to come off the field the series before he sprained his ankle. He had missed practice earlier that week because of a hamstring problem.
The 5-foot-11, 184-pound Harvin is swift but slight. He’s the lightest player on the Seahawks’ roster.
He also runs hard, often eschewing alternate routes when a tackler comes at him. Combining his typical style with the fervor of returning against his former team might prove explosive.
That means the Seahawks likely will manage Harvin’s touches.
“I won’t say what I can and can’t do,” Harvin said. “I would just say that it would be crazy for me to think that I can go out there and play the amount of plays I was able to play before. ... I’m able to do some of the things, but it’s still day to day.”
Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell formulated plays for Harvin for two seasons in Minnesota. He used Harvin in a variety of ways, just as Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave did the past two seasons.
Against the Seahawks last year, Harvin had meager numbers. He finished with two receptions for 10 yards and four rushes for 24 yards. But he was lined up all over the field to get those opportunities.
The Vikings tossed the ball to Harvin for a run. One play, he was split wide, sprinted toward the backfield on the snap as if he was going to take a reverse, then instantly cut back out to the flat for a reception. He also had an end-around and ran a couple of standard routes.
Sherman said the Seahawks had an intricate game plan for Harvin.
“If he’s here we do this, if he’s here we do this, so we’re glad we don’t have to deal with him anymore,” Sherman said. “I think we put more emphasis on him because he did so much for them. When he’s in the game, they can do anything with him.”
Harvin had trouble reaching this point.
Once the Seahawks allowed him to practice, they had a 21-day window in which to activate Harvin. If he was not added to the 53-man roster by the end of 21 days, he would have been ineligible to return this season.
His 21-day clock started Oct. 21 when he first practiced. But Harvin had soreness in his surgically repaired hip and made it through half a practice before being shut down.
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam didn’t show any structural damage where the surgery was performed, so Harvin had some fluid drained from the hip and said he was “right back” on his feet.
This week, he has practiced for three consecutive days without soreness.
Carroll was not definitive about Harvin’s availability, hedging his answer when he said Harvin “has a chance” to play.
That’s all Harvin has been waiting for since Thomas and Wagner crunched him last November.