Notebook: Harvin embraces Seahawks offense

Percy Harvin said Darrell Bevell's offense does the "exact opposite" of Bill Musgrave's, stretching the field. But, other than that criticism, Harvin talked warmly about the Vikings. Plus, Adrian Peterson is ailing, the Vikings changed their approach on the defensive line, and other notes and quotes.

The smile returned Percy Harvin's face and the explosiveness returned to his legs.

Harvin, the receiver the Vikings traded to the Seattle Seahawks for first-, third- and seventh-round draft picks in March, made his 2013 debut – against his former team.

According to the Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, Harvin played only 16 snaps. He was targeted once, a highlight-producing 17-yard catch on third down that kept a touchdown drive alive.

Although Harvin didn't go into details on why he wanted to be traded away from the Vikings, he didn't hesitate to point out the difference in the Vikings offense and his new version with the Seahawks.

"This offense does the exact opposite. It allows you to stretch the field, as you seen today," Harvin said. "You seen Doug (Baldwin) shake loose. You seen a lot of catches with the tight end, Zach Miller. This offense is built to have hot reads and to have deep shots."

Harvin admitted that his current offense under coordinator Darrell Bevell is much like the one Bevell ran in Minnesota under Brad Childress. But when Leslie Frazier was hired as the full-time coach of the Vikings, he elected to let Bevell go and instead hired Bill Musgrave.

While working with different personnel in Seattle, Bevell's offense does indeed have an explosive element. Even with Harvin the last two years under Musgrave's system, the Vikings have been routinely criticized for not stretching the field.

Harvin was used mostly on underneath routes and bubble screens with Musgrave, but Bevell proved Harvin can get deep in his first game with the Seahawks. He had just enough separation and leaping ability to haul in a pass over Chris Cook for his first catch of the season. But it was on a route that wasn't thrown his way – and maybe should have been – in which his speed stuck out to Carroll.

"There was another play in the game that we didn't hit that he ran through the defense and he looked ridiculously fast," Carroll said.

Of course, there are also the injuries that will be part of the Harvin storyline. He said he had three surgeries in the last year – an appendectomy in mid-December, his hip surgery on Aug. 1, and he said he had a tumor removed in the offseason but didn't expand with specifics there.

"It was just a lot built into this game other than just my hip," he said. "Emotionally, it was good to get out there."

To no one's surprise, Harvin still has his explosiveness on kick returns. He took just one shot Sunday, but he went 58 yards on the return, just what the Seahawks needed for a touchdown late in the first half.

"That kickoff return was pretty special. Nobody liked it more than Percy. He wanted to do something and he did and that was great. We're excited about that," Carroll said.

In typical Harvin fashion, there was plenty of lobbying going on. He was known for wanting to play through injuries during his days in Minnesota and he was pushing his head coach to let him return at least one kick in his Seattle debut.

"It's been a work in progress all week long," he said of the lobbying process. "Me, I've been having some of the teammates yell at him, some of the coaching staff. But he came to me before the game and let me know that he didn't feel real comfortable with me doing it for this game."

But then regular return man Jermaine Kearse suffered a concussion and Carroll quickly relented.

"He just ran at me and shouted, get your, uh, tail in there and I ran in there. I was excited," Harvin said.

He didn't stop running until the Vikings finally boxed him after a 58-yard return.

Before and after the game, Harvin talked with and embraced teammates. He exchanged pleasantries with Jamarca Sanford, Erin Henderson and Adrian Peterson – some of his closest friends still with the Vikings – along with Jared Allen and some of the coaching staff, and even general manager Rick Spielman.

"It was all good," Harvin said. "There was no love lost with (the Vikings)."

There could be bigger things in store for him with the Seahawks, who have their quarterback position in good hands with Russell Wilson.

"I've been in love with Russell since I got over here, just the way he prepares for the game," Harvin said. "… He's in control with everything."

PETERSON NOT AT FULL HEALTH

Peterson didn't practice last Thursday or Friday because of a groin injury, but he was listed as probable on Friday's injury report. He played, but Frazier admitted Peterson was "not 100 percent."

"The groin was bothering him. It definitely affected him (Sunday) as well," Frazier said. "There were a couple of moments where he was so close to breaking it and just couldn't – couldn't get that one key ingredient to get it going. But, no, he's not 100 percent."

Peterson agreed: "Actually, it was bothering me a lot. Playing in that first half, oh man, I knew if I was able to explode the way I normally do, I could have got some big chunks, even took it to the house. But that second half, I tried to get it to loosen up for me, but we couldn't create a drive."

Peterson finished with 21 rushes for 65 yards, but his long run in the first half was only 7 yards long on his way to 14 carries for 35 yards.

"We've got to keep running the football and keep giving the ball to him," Christian Ponder said. "He's a big part of this offense. We've got to keep getting better at it. He's making plays. We've got to take pressure off the running game by not turning the ball over in the passing game."

A DIFFERENT D-LINE PLAN

The Vikings defensive line came into the Seattle Seahawks game on a roll after getting four sacks of Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III. Kevin Williams accounted for 2½ of those while playing nose tackle in place of the injured Letroy Guion and Fred Evans.

Evans returned against the Seahawks and started at nose tackle with Williams moving back to his under-tackle position, but the Vikings changed their approach to rushing the quarterback, too, with Wilson presenting different traits.

"Russell and all the running around, we had a different rush plan this week because of what he does in the pocket and out of the pocket," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "So that, his style of play, makes you have to adjust your rush plan. We adjusted ours and I thought for the most part we did a pretty good job of containing him and making him a pocket passer, which is what we wanted to be able to do. But his style of play makes you alter things from a pass-rush standpoint."

Wilson was sacked just once.

NOTES

  • Marshawn Lynch averaged only 3.2 yards on 17 carries and Peterson averaged 3.1 yards on 21 carries. They entered the game first and second in yards after contact – Peterson at 3.3 yards and Lynch at 2.7, according to Pro Football Focus.

  • Jared Allen summarized the tale of the two halves for the Vikings pretty succinctly: "I think it was the points coming off the turnovers in the second half; minus four on the road, you are going to lose, bottom line."

  • Wilson on the addition of Harvin to the Seahawks offense: "The thing about him is he draws attention. It's hard to stop him because he's so fast, he's so electric. He loves the game, he's so physical. He's the type of guy that's so fast, he runs an easy 4.3 (seconds in the 40-yard dash), he can make guys miss, but he also wants to be physical with you. It's tough for defensive players to figure out how to cover him."


    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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