Harvin shines as Seahawks pummel Vikings at home

Published 8:52 am Monday, November 18, 2013

SEATTLE — Before he stepped on the field for the first time in more than a calendar year, Percy Harvin made sure to find old friends on the Minnesota sideline.

After his new team, the Seattle Seahawks, were done improving to 10-1 with another convincing victory, there were more reunions between Harvin and his former teammates at midfield.

And in the time between, Harvin reminded Minnesota of his special skills the Seahawks saw for the first time on Sunday.

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“He’s an extraordinary football player, but he’s a better competitor,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “That’s what we love about him.”

Harvin’s debut was highlighted by a juggling 17-yard reception that led to one Seattle touchdown and a 58-yard kickoff return late in the first half that gave the Seahawks a 24-13 halftime lead on their way to a 41-20 win over the Vikings on Sunday.

More than a year after an ankle injury suffered in Seattle while still playing for Minnesota ended his 2012 season early, Harvin was back on the field, three months delayed from his Seahawks introduction because of hip surgery in August.

It was a first test for Harvin’s hip and a chance for Seattle to spend two more weeks tinkering with its offense to see how best to use its newest offensive option going forward.

“It all worked out good,” Harvin said. “I didn’t get banged up today. I’m feeling pretty good. I’ll stay during the bye, keep rehabbing, and get ready for Monday.”

Russell Wilson was done early in the fourth quarter after completing 13 of 18 passes for 230 yards and a career-best passer rating of 151.4. His TD pass to Doug Baldwin at the end of the half was dropped into a tiny throwing window just over the outstretched arm of Minnesota’s Xavier Rhodes.

Then he added a second TD in the fourth quarter when he backhanded a pass between two Vikings’ defensive linemen to a wide-open Marshawn Lynch for a 6-yard TD. Lynch also had two touchdowns rushing.

Wilson’s passer rating was second best in Seahawks history, behind only Dave Krieg’s 153.3 against San Diego in 1986.

Here are five other things learned as the Seahawks won their 13th straight at home and dropped the Vikings to 2-8:

QB QUESTION REMAINS: Christian Ponder wasn’t bad in the first half. He completed 9 of 13 passes for 114 yards and a 38-yard touchdown to Jarius Wright where he badly beat Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman.

The second half was a far different story. Ponder was 4 of 9 for 15 yards and two bad interceptions. He threw behind Adrian Peterson and was intercepted by Bobby Wagner early in the fourth quarter leading to another Seattle touchdown. Four plays later, Ponder threw into the belly of Walter Thurmond and he returned the interception 29 yards for his first career touchdown.

Ponder was replaced by Matt Cassel and coach Leslie Frazier said the position would be evaluated early this week.

COUGH IT UP: Seattle’s defense forced four turnovers on Sunday, the eighth time in 10 games the Seahawks have forced at least two turnovers. This time it was Thurmond and defensive lineman Clinton McDonald getting the first interceptions of their careers.

CHUNK PLAYS: In the past two weeks, the Seahawks are getting larger chunks of yardage on offense. Seattle had eight offensive plays of more than 15 yards last week against Atlanta and followed up with seven plays of 15 yards or more against the Vikings. Wilson had four completions of 26 yards or more, including a 44-yarder to Baldwin and 34-yard throw to tight end Zach Miller.

“We got the ball out to seven or eight different guys and that’s what we want to do,” Wilson said. “We want to be able to make it tough on the defense to figure out who to cover.”

AILING ADRIAN: Adrian Peterson galloped through the Seahawks defense for 182 yards a season ago. On Sunday, he saw some of the same running lanes, but bothered by a lingering groin injury was unable accelerate to his fullest and take advantage of the openings. Peterson was held to 65 yards on 21 carries and his longest run went for 13 yards.

“There were a couple plays that first half that I knew if I was able to explode the way I normally do, I could have gotten some big chunks, even taken it to the house,” Peterson said. “That second half, I still had time to get in the groove and start to settle in, started to loosen up for me. But we couldn’t even create a drive.”

REST TIME: The Seahawks will go into their bye week with the best record in the NFL as the league’s only 10-win team and a looming showdown coming in two weeks when they host New Orleans. Seattle doesn’t have many bumps going into the break with Jermaine Kearse’s concussion the only lingering injury coming out of Sunday’s game.