NFC West: Walter Thurmond

The San Francisco 49ers' options for a free-agent receiver shrunk Saturday when, as expected, Julian Edelman returned to the New England Patriots.

The Bay Area native visited with the 49ers on Friday. However, the pursuit was considered somewhat tepid. Edelman wasn’t a natural fit for the 49ers, anyway. He is a slot receiver and that’s a role Anquan Boldin occupies nicely.

The 49ers need a speed receiver and that’s why they are talking to Pittsburgh’s Emmanuel Sanders. He was supposed to visit the team Saturday night.

There is a possible hurdle for Sanders. ESPN.com’s Scott Brown is reporting some teams are worried about Sanders’ lingering foot issue, and it could affect his price tag. The 49ers, who currently have less than $4 million in salary-cap room, likely wouldn't pay Sanders much, anyway.

If the 49ers go on to look at other receivers in free agency, potential options are James Jones, Santonio Holmes and Sidney Rice.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Seattle cornerback Walter Thurmond is planning on taking other visits. He was in San Francisco on Friday. The 49ers are still interested in him.
Free agency is entering its fifth day (it only seems like 43) and the San Francisco 49ers have been busy making roster changes. Let's take a look at what has gone on so far:

Returning free agents: Receiver Anquan Boldin, kicker Phil Dawson, cornerback Eric Wright.

Departed free agents: Safety Donte Whitner (Cleveland), cornerback Tarell Brown (Oakland), running back Anthony Dixon (tweeted he is signing with Buffalo on Saturday).

Released: Cornerback Carlos Rogers.

Free-agent addition: Safety Antoine Bethea (Colts), Cornerback Chris Cook (Vikings).

Acquired in trade: Quarterback Blaine Gabbert from Jaguars; tackle Jonathan Martin from Miami.

Who are they interested in? Cornerback Walter Thurmond (Seattle),receivers Julian Edelman (New England) and Emmanuel Sanders (Pittsburgh).

Remaining 49ers free agents: Center Jonathan Goodwin, receiver Mario Manningham, quarterback Colt McCoy, receiver Kassim Osgood, cornerback Perrish Cox.

Starting lineup changes: Bethea for Whitner; likely Daniel Kilgore for Goodwin.
The San Francisco 49ers are getting a veteran cornerback. But they might not be done adding at the position before the draft.

Cook
An NFL source confirmed the team will sign Minnesota free agent Chris Cook. He is expected to sign a team-friendly one-year deal. The team still has interest in Seattle cornerback Walter Thurmond, who is vising the 49ers on Friday, and have interest in retaining Tarell Brown.

Cook will battle for a roster spot. He has experience and at 6-foot-2, he is big for a cornerback. But he has struggled on and off the field at times. He has no career interceptions.

Still, the 49ers -- who added quarterback Blaine Gabbert and offensive lineman Jonathan Martin -- are banking they can salvage Cook's career. If not, the team doesn’t have much invested. ESPN analyst Matt Williamson thinks taking a flier on Cook is worth the 49ers’ while.

“He has a lot of talent,” Williamson said. “Maybe he can resurrect his career in San Francisco.”
The player poaching between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks has been a well-documented part of the most heated current rivalry in the NFL.

Thurmond
But if the 49ers land Seattle free-agent cornerback Walter Thurmond it would change the landscape. Thurmond is set to visit with the 49ers. If the 49ers sign Thurmond, he’d be -- by far -- the best player either has landed from the other during this recent rivalry.

In the past both teams have signed the others' former players, claimed them off waivers or signed them off the practice squad. Among the names that have made the San Francisco-Seattle shuffle in recent years:

Perrish Cox, B.J. Daniels, Ricardo Lockette, Cameron Morrah, Chris Harper, Charly Martin, Ryan Seymour and Seneca Wallace.

Few of these players have made a big impact. Thurmond would be different.

The Seahawks are strong at cornerback, so they likely can handle losing Thurmond. But seeing the 49ers improve with the addition of one of their players would not go over well in Seattle.
The San Francisco 49ers may turn to their greatest rival to address one of their few needs.

Thurmond
Seattle free-agent cornerback Walter Thurmond tweeted Thursday that he is headed to San Francisco for a visit. He visited Jacksonville on Thursday.

Thurmond is a versatile player who can play inside and outside. He’d be an upgrade for the 49ers at the cornerback position, which is still somewhat of a work in progress.

Interestingly, Thurmond and 49ers free-agent cornerback Tarell Brown have the same agent. Because the 49ers have limited cap room, they may be hard pressed to keep Brown -- who reportedly has received interested from Miami -- and sign Thurmond.

The 49ers also are visiting with Minnesota cornerback Chris Cook. He is not considered the player Thurmond or Brown are.

In other 49ers news:
  • Tackle Jonathan Martin passed his physical and his trade to the 49ers from Miami is official. The 49ers are giving Martin, who played for 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh at Stanford, a change to salvage his career after being at the center of a bullying case in Miami last season.“Any time we acquire a player we give him a clean slate, along with every opportunity to demonstrate his value to our organization, both on the field and in the community,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. “It will be no different in Jonathan’s case. As a former Stanford student-athlete, we are very familiar with Jonathan and look forward to working with him.”
  • Free-agent running back Anthony Dixon tweeted that he is going to Buffalo for a visit. He left Tennessee on Thursday. He is not expected to be back with the 49ers. While the salary cap is still fluid, the 49ers are expected to have about $3-4 million remaining.
Free agency starts at 4 p.m. ET (1 p.m. PT) Tuesday.

It is clear the San Francisco 49ers' plan of attack will be to sign their own top free agents. They secured their top free-agent priority, receiver Anquan Boldin, last week. Their other targets are safety Donte Whitner, cornerback Tarell Brown and kicker Phil Dawson. Dawson and Brown both may get quick action on the open market.

If any of these players leave, the 49ers will likely have to go find a replacement in some form. Let’s take a look at who they may be:

Safety

Possible free-agent options: Mike Mitchell (Panthers), Malcolm Jenkins (Saints), James Ihedigbo (Ravens).

Summary: The free-agent market is thin, and, in my opinion, signing Whitner is, by far, the best option. If not, one of the above-mentioned players could be a suitable, but not equal signing. If Whitner’s market doesn’t get crazy, the 49ers need to try to keep him. In-house potential replacements are C.J. Spillman and Craig Dahl, but neither are considered top options.

Cornerback

Possible free-agent options: Nolan Carroll (Dolphins), Antonio Cromartie (released by Jets), Champ Bailey (released by Broncos), Walter Thurmond (Seahawks), Asante Samuel (released by Falcons), Antoine Cason (Cardinals), Charles Tillman (Bears), Captain Munnerlyn (Panthers).

Summary: Replacing Brown may be easier than replacing Whitner. There are a ton of decent cornerbacks. Carroll is one of the players the 49ers have checked in on. If the 49ers lose Brown, they could wait out the market and get a decent player or two here. A wild card could be Darrelle Revis, who reportedly either is going to be traded or released, as soon as this week, by Tampa Bay. He will likely be pricey but if something crazy happens, perhaps the 49ers could get involved.

Kicker

Possible free-agent options: Steven Hauschka (Seahawks), Adam Vinatieri (Colts), Josh Brown (Giants), Dan Carpenter (Bills).

Summary: There are some decent kickers available, but I think Dawson is the best fit and I expect him to be back. If not, any of these kickers could be the fix. Just a guess, but I don’t think it gets to that point.
In an Insider piece, ESPN analyst, and former NFL general manager, Bill Polian gives San Francisco 49ers' cornerback Tarell Brown high praise.

Brown
Polian ranks Brown as the best cornerback in unrestricted free agency Insider. Polian gives Brown the nod over several top-notch free-agent cornerbacks such as Vontae Davis, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Aqib Talib.

If just one NFL team agrees with Polian, the 49ers may be hard pressed to keep Brown. Cornerbacks are often paid at a premium price, so if Brown is coveted, he may be looking at a big contract.

Brown is one of the 49ers' free-agency priorities. CBS Sports reported the team is pushing to get a deal done before free agency starts next Tuesday.

Brown was a starter last year, but lost his job late in the season when he was hurt. However, he did regain it in the playoffs.

Brown would likely be a starter again if he re-signs. If not, the 49ers will get Chris Culliver back from a torn ACL. At the very least, he will be the nickel cornerback. They could also try to replace Brown in free agency with someone like Seattle's Walter Thurmond. In either scenario, the team will likely use an early draft pick at the position.
Wilson and KaepernickUSA TODAY SportsQBs Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick meet for the second time this season on Sunday night.
SAN FRANCISCO -- It is not going to be the most important game of the season, as many thought when the schedule was released in April.

The Seattle Seahawks, coming off an absolute beat down of New Orleans on Monday night, are 11-1 and the San Francisco 49ers are 8-4 heading into their meeting on Sunday, which will be the second-to-last game at Candlestick Park. The Seahawks will clinch the NFC West with a win. The 49ers need a win more because they're holding onto the sixth and final NFC playoff spot by a game.

There is plenty at stake and there is plenty of animosity. Seahawks reporter Terry Blount and 49ers reporter Bill Williamson hash it all out.

Blount: Bill, almost everyone expected this to be the game that would possibly decide the NFC West title. It still can, but not the way people imagined. The Seahawks can clinch the division crown at San Francisco on Sunday with a victory. Why aren’t the 49ers the team everyone thought they would be, and can they still be the team they were a year ago at this time?

Williamson: Terry, I think the 49ers are fine. They are 8-4 and they have won seven games by double digits, which is tied with Denver for the league high. This is an elite team. Still, there are two issues at play. The 49ers are 2-4 against teams with winning records. They were blown out by the Seahawks and the Colts early in the season and then they lost back-to-back games to Carolina and New Orleans by a total of four points last month. If the 49ers have anything to prove, it’s that they can beat a quality team. Another reason why this race hasn't been close is the Seahawks are playing out of their minds. They simply ran away from a good team. Terry, do you think the Seahawks can stay up for this game after the huge win? Or could this be a letdown game?

Blount: I really thought this was going to be a big letdown game for the Seahawks and a chance for them to come in flat, but now they have the opportunity to clinch the title in the most unlikely of places for them. The Seahawks would love to walk away from this one and be able to tell the 49ers that they clinched the division crown "in your house." So I think they'll be pretty focused, but the short week of preparation and coming off an emotional Monday night game could take a toll.

Bill, the Seahawks had a convincing 29-3 victory over the 49ers at CenturyLink Field in the second game of the season, but Seattle has lost four consecutive games at Candlestick Park by a combined score of 109-54. Is this a game where the 49ers feel they have something to prove?

Williamson: Oh, certainly. Players were talking about this game in the locker room Sunday after beating the Rams. I think that was a first for this season. The 49ers want to win this game because I think they want to prove to themselves as much as anyone else that they can end the Seahawks’ mini-dominance over the 49ers. The 49ers want to protect their territory in this game. What struck me is players talked about not overthinking this game and not getting caught up in the moment. It’s a sign they learned from some previous mistakes. I’m looking forward to seeing it play out. Terry, do you get the sense the Seahawks respect the 49ers as much as they did going into Week 2?

Blount: Honestly, my sense is most of the Seahawks just really don't like the 49ers, and it's no secret that Richard Sherman can't stand Jim Harbaugh, along with the fact that Harbaugh and Pete Carroll won't be sending each other Christmas cards. Certainly, the Seahawks realize San Francisco has a lot of very talented players who can beat you in many ways. Publicly, they will say they respect the 49ers. Privately, they can't stand them and respect just doesn't enter the picture.

Bill, Colin Kaepernick was the toast of the NFL a year ago as a young quarterback with limitless talent. He’s had some rough moments this year, but also has had flashes of brilliance. What's different for him this season and is he as good as he was a year ago?

Williamson: I think it is a combination of things, including the fact that he is still learning and the offense is still evolving. I think the key was that he lacked all his weapons. It was startling how much better the passing game was Sunday in Michael Crabtree's debut. He had just two catches, but it opened up the entire game against St. Louis. Terry, do you think the 49ers can have success against this top-notch Seattle secondary that they didn't have in the past two meetings?

Blount: Certainly, having Crabtree back makes the 49ers a more formidable receiving corps than the game in September. And the Seahawks are down a man from that game with Walter Thurmond's suspension. Some people probably have forgotten that Brandon Browner didn't play that night because he had a hamstring injury. But the job backups Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane did against the Saints, as good a passing team as you'll find, showed how much depth Seattle has in the secondary. I think Vernon Davis is the key for San Francisco, and I can't see Anquan Boldin being shut down this time the way he was in Seattle.

Rapid Reaction: Seattle Seahawks

December, 2, 2013
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SEATTLE -- A few thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks' 34-7 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Monday night at CenturyLink Field:

What it means: The Seahawks proved they are the best of the best in the NFC with a convincing victory over the Saints, which gives Seattle a two-game advantage in the race to have home-field advantage in the playoffs. But in reality, it’s more than two games because the Seahawks have defeated both the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans, which gives Seattle the tiebreaker over both teams that are two games behind them with four games to play, and the Saints and Panthers have to play each other twice.

Stock watch: In MVP considerations, Russell Wilson has moved ahead of Drew Brees by clearly outplaying his idol Monday night. Wilson was sensational in the first half, completing 14 of 19 passes for 226 yards and two TDs. And the Seattle defense destroyed the potent New Orleans passing game, including a 22-yard touchdown for defensive linemen Michael Bennett after defensive end Cliff Avril knocked the ball out of Brees' hand and Bennett caught the deflection.

Miller a tough tight end, too: This game was supposed to be about the Seahawks defense against New Orleans star tight end Jimmy Graham, but the Saints had a tough time covering Seattle tight end Zach Miller, who had a 2-yard TD catch after a 60-yard catch in the first quarter.

Maxwell and Lane up to the task: Fears of Brees lighting up the Seattle backups in the secondary were unfounded. All the distractions this week surrounding the suspension of Walter Thurmond and possibly Brandon Browner, who is out with a groin injury, didn’t hurt the Seahawks at all. Byron Maxwell played well as the starter, and Jeremy Lane also did a good job in the slot on the nickel packages.

What's next: The Seahawks fly south to play their archrivals, the San Francisco 49ers in Candlestick Park. This was expected to be a game that might decide the NFC West, but Seattle has a three-game lead with four to play, so it isn’t the game it might have been, but it is important to San Francisco’s playoff hopes.

For a Monday night game in early December, this is as good as it gets. The 10-1 Seattle Seahawks play host to the 9-2 New Orleans Saints in a game that could decide home-field advantage for the NFC playoffs.

The last time these teams faced each other was in a playoff game following the 2010 season, which Seattle won 41-36. Drew Brees passed for 404 yards and two touchdowns for the Saints, and Marshawn Lynch rushed for 131 yards, including the legendary 67-yard "Beast Quake" touchdown run in the fourth quarter for the Seahawks.

If this game is anything like that one, it will be one heck of a show.

The Seahawks will have to try to stop Brees with a reworked secondary after a week in which two Seattle cornerbacks (Walter Thurmond and Brandon Browner) ran afoul of the NFL's substance-abuse policy. Thurmond was replacing Browner as a starter due to Browner’s groin injury.

The whole suspensions issue put a damper on a big week. Now everyone will see whether the Seahawks can overcome it or whether Brees will make them pay.

ESPN.com Seahawks reporter Terry Blount and Saints reporter Mike Triplett look at the key issues entering the game:

Blount: Mike, this is a great matchup between the veteran Brees and a young quarterback who idolized him in Russell Wilson. Wilson always saw Brees as someone he could emulate, a player who, like him, wasn't tall but had a great arm and great leadership qualities. As someone who sees Brees every week, how do you compare them?

Triplett: I don’t know that much about Wilson, but I certainly see why he would choose Brees to emulate. It’s remarkable how Brees, at just 6-foot, has been able to not only succeed in the NFL but truly dominate. It would take me too long to rattle off all the reasons why Brees is so successful. For one thing, he’s as competitive and driven as any athlete I've ever been around. That shows in his work ethic both in the offseason and during the season. He also sees the field (through passing lanes since he can’t peek over the top) and anticipates things about as well as any quarterback who has ever played the game. He's not as mobile as Wilson, but he's elusive in the pocket and avoids sacks. I'd say both guys are proof that those intangible qualities count for a lot in the NFL, even if you don't have prototypical size.

I haven't seen the Seahawks' offense light up scoreboards in the few games on national TV this season, especially early in games. Can Wilson keep pace if the Saints are able to put points on the board?

Blount: Most of the time, he hasn't needed to because the defense has played so well. However, after watching him now for two seasons and seeing his growth, I believe Wilson is capable of doing whatever he needs to do to win football games. He has proven it over and over. Three times this season he has led the team to a fourth-quarter comeback, and he’s done it seven times in his brief NFL career. Wilson never is going to be the type of guy, like Brees, who puts up huge passing numbers. That’s not what they want him to do in an offense that wants to run the football with Lynch. But Wilson has demonstrated he can adjust the game plan to fit the needs of the moment. Frankly, he is one of the best I've ever seen at finding a way to win.

The Seahawks have a lot of weapons on offense, and now have added Percy Harvin to the mix. Obviously, Rob Ryan has a done a good job in getting New Orleans' defense back on track. How do you see him approaching this game against Seattle’s power running game with Lynch and a mobile quarterback in Wilson?

Triplett: I know this: Ryan will definitely have a plan. He is one of the league’s most innovative game-planners. Former player Scott Fujita described him as a “mad scientist.” We saw that quality more than ever two weeks ago when the Saints played the San Francisco 49ers. Ryan unveiled two new packages for that game, including a five-linebacker formation to corral the 49ers’ run game and the threat of the read-option. We may see the same thing this week, or maybe a new wrinkle since he likes to be unpredictable. I know the Saints’ defensive players will be amped to prove they’re just as good as the more-hyped Seahawks defense. Ends Cameron Jordan and Akiem Hicks, outside linebacker Junior Galette and cornerback Keenan Lewis are having breakout years, in particular.

Seattle’s defense has obviously been outstanding this year as well. How do you think they’ll hold up against the Saints’ versatile offense? Who might match up against tight end Jimmy Graham and running back/receiver threats Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas, among others?

Blount: The first thing to watch is how the backups in the secondary handle going against a wily veteran like Brees. No doubt he’s going to test Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane. And Graham is a major concern. The Seahawks have struggled at times this season against tight ends. In this case, they might have cornerback Richard Sherman shadow Graham as much as possible. And this is a big test for strong safety Kam Chancellor. The key for the Seahawks is the defensive line, much improved over last year, getting to Brees and taking some of the pressure off the depleted secondary.

Mike, if you had to name one area in which the Saints must outplay the Seahawks in order to win the game, what would you pick?

Triplett: Easy one: turnovers. I know you could say that about every team in every game. But it’s especially huge in this matchup. For one, the Seahawks lead the NFL with 26 takeaways. I imagine that’s why they’re second in the NFL in points scored (27.8 per game) even though they don’t have a prolific offense. The Saints need to set the pace in this game and try to force Seattle to keep up with their offense. They can’t afford to give away any freebies or short fields. And based on what we’ve seen from the Saints this season, I think they can do that. Their run game started slowly but has improved. And they showed a patient offensive approach in a Week 5 victory at Chicago and in their last two wins against San Francisco and Atlanta. The Saints have turned the ball over just 13 times, and they lead the league in average time of possession.

Terry, how do you think the Seahawks will handle this game if they don’t set the tone? To be honest, I expected a bit of a sophomore slump from Wilson and the Seahawks, since we see it so often in the NFL. Why have they been able to avoid that? And do you think there’s any risk of the pressure affecting them in a game of this magnitude?

Blount: None whatsoever, Mike. In fact, Wilson thrives on games like this. He is at his best when things seem their worst, along with playing at a high level in the most difficult situations and the high-pressure games. That character trait is what makes Wilson such an exceptional athlete. He never gets rattled. Seattle fullback Michael Robinson said Wilson has the one trait all great quarterbacks need: “A short memory.”

Winfield would help the Seahawks

November, 25, 2013
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RENTON, Wash. -- Assuming the Seahawks can talk him out of retirement, and he passes a physical, expect to see Antoine Winfield back in a Seattle uniform later this week.

Coach Pete Carroll said the Seahawks could consider re-signing the veteran cornerback to come in and help the depleted secondary.

Winfield
Cornerback Walter Thurmond is facing a four-game suspension due to non-PED substance abuse, so Winfield is a veteran player who knows the system and could step in immediately.

That’s also assuming he has stayed in good physical condition and is ready to go. Winfield's last real NFL game, excluding preseason, was the Minnesota Vikings' playoff loss against Green Bay on Jan. 5 last season when he started at left cornerback. Winfield started all 17 of Minnesota's games last season.

So it would be almost 11 months since his last meaningful game if he is re-signed and plays against the New Orleans Saints on Monday night.

In Winfield's case, he probably can step in and make a positive impact. He knows the defensive schemes since he was here for training camp and the entire preseason. And he’s a 15-year veteran, including 173 starts, so it’s not exactly his first rodeo. But he’s bound to be a little rusty.

If they sign him, the Seahawks probably would use Winfield in the slot on their nickel package, while Byron Maxwell starts at cornerback for Thurmond. Second-year corner Jeremy Lane also will play in the slot, but having a veteran guy like Winfield in the mix certainly could help against a wily veteran quarterback like Drew Brees.

Implications of Thurmond's suspension

November, 24, 2013
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RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks hoped to get through the bye week without any controversy. They didn’t make it.

Cornerback Walter Thurmond is facing a four-game suspension for non-PED substance abuse, a league source confirmed Sunday to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

On Monday, Nov. 18, when the bye week began, Seattle coach Pete Carroll gave the players a little warning about doing the right thing and realizing what a rare opportunity they have for a special season by getting to the break at 10-1.

Whatever happened with Thurmond likely took place before that speech was given, but they shouldn't need to hear it. Isn't it obvious?

And this is one player the Seahawks can ill-afford to lose. Thurmond is starting for injured cornerback Brandon Browner, who is out with a severe groin pull and probably won’t return until the end of the regular season or the first playoff game.

Byron Maxwell, who would start for Thurmond, is another capable backup who plays that spot when the Seahawks go to their nickel defense and move Thurmond to the slot. This would change the dynamic on how the Seahawks line up in obvious passing situations.

Jeremy Lane, a second-year player from Northwestern State (La.) will get more playing time. Lane started the final three games of the regular season last year when Browner was suspended for PEDs. But Maxwell has played well this season, so Lane probably will move to the slot in the nickel package and Maxwell will stay outside at corner.

The Seahawks also could make a roster move now to add depth to the secondary. If so, the likely addition is cornerback DeShawn Shead, who is on the practice squad. Like Browner, Shead (in his second year out of Portland State) is a big corner at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds. The coaches are high on his athletic ability.

So even without Thurmond, the Seahawks could be OK. But it doesn't address the bigger picture of a player making such a senseless mistake at a critical time for a team that has so much to gain. Seattle has two of its biggest games of the season coming up -- Dec. 2 at home against 9-2 New Orleans, followed by the 49ers at San Francisco.

This situation for Thurmond also could have contract implications for next season. Both Thurmond and Browner are unrestricted free agents at the end of the year.

It’s unlikely, if not financially impossible in salary-cap terms, for the Seahawks to keep both of them. Thurmond could have played his way into Seattle’s decision about whom to keep. This didn't help his chances.

Power Rankings: No. 2 Seattle Seahawks

November, 19, 2013
11/19/13
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A weekly examination of the Seahawks' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 1 | Last Week: 3 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

Back-to-back convincing victories have enabled the Seahawks to move up each of the last two weeks in the Power Rankings, from fourth to third last week and third to second this week behind Denver.

Seattle is 10-1 heading to its bye week after winning the last two games by a combined score of 74-31, including the 41-20 victory over Minnesota on Sunday at CenturyLink Field.

The Seahawks are in the unusual situation of heading into the last five games of the season almost fully healthy. Offensive tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini returned Sunday after being out for two months, and receiver Percy Harvin got everyone's attention in his debut game as a Seahawk with a 58-yard kickoff return that gave fans a glimpse of his explosiveness.

The only major injury for Seattle right now is starting cornerback Brandon Browner with a severe groin pull. However, it looks as if Browner might be able to return for the playoffs, or possibly even the end of the regular season.

And the secondary may be the deepest area of the team. Walter Thurmond, who started for Browner on Sunday, had a 29-yard pick-six in the second half.

Rapid Reaction: Seattle Seahawks

November, 17, 2013
11/17/13
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SEATTLE -- A few thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks 41-20 victory against the Minnesota Vikings Sunday at CenturyLink Field:

What it means: The Seahawks head to the bye week at 10-1, in control of their own destiny and are the team to beat as far as home-field advantage goes for the playoffs in the NFC. With receiver Percy Harvin finally on the field and the offensive line healthy again, this game showed just how good the Seahawks can be and what a dangerous team they are when they have all their weapons. Seattle now has won a franchise record 13 consecutive home games.

Stock watch: Running back Marshawn Lynch scored three touchdowns, two rushing and one receiving. Receiver Doug Baldwin came up big again with an outstretched catch in the corner of the end zone for a 19-yard TD.

Hot Harvin: Everyone quickly learned why receiver Percy Harvin might be worth the $67 million contract the Seahawks paid to get him. In his first game as a Seahawk, Harvin had a 58-yard kickoff return to set up one touchdown, and a spectacular diving 17-yard catch to keep another TD drive alive. He also lined up in the backfield on one play in the third quarter.

Defensive dominance: The only TD for Minnesota came on a rare blown coverage by Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman in the first quarter, but the defense was superb otherwise until a meaningless late TD for Minnesota against Seattle backups long after the outcome was decided. Cornerback Walter Thurmond had a 29-yard pick-six, defensive end Cliff Avril had a sack/forced fumble on Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder, and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner also had an interception. And who would have guessed defensive tackle Clinton McDonald would come up with an interception, thanks to a defection by defensive end Chris Clemons.

Jermaine Kearse suffers possible concussion: That’s the reason Harvin got a chance to return kicks. In what might be the strangest “tackle” of the season, Kearse was running full speed on a first-quarter kickoff when he slammed into Seattle’s J.R. Sweezy like he was hitting a brick wall. Kearse was helped off the field and did not return to the game because of concussion symptoms.

What's next: The Seahawks finally get their bye week and have 15 days before the big Monday night game against the New Orleans Saints at the CLink.

Sherman dubs Thurmond 'Monopoly man'

October, 15, 2013
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RENTON, Wash. -- In the eyes of Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, teammate and fellow cornerback Walter Thurmond now is known as "the Monopoly man."



Thurmond had quite the outfit on (top hat, tails and double-breasted vest) when he left the locker room Sunday after the 20-13 victory over the Tennessee Titans.

“That takes a lot of swagger to do what Walt did there,” Sherman said Tuesday. “He did look like the Monopoly man, but it was smooth. I thought he was going to pull a monocle out. That would have been awesome. And did you see the pocket watch? That was incredible.”

ESPN’s Cris Carter had some fun with Thurmond attire before the Monday night game with the weekly “C’Mon Man” list.

"I don’t know if you’re playing DB for the Seahawks or parking cars,” Carter joked. “C’Mon, man.”

Thurmond just laughed it off.

“I saw a little clip of it,” Thurmond said Tuesday. “But that’s OK. I wasn’t mad.”

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