Expect some rust on Harvin's debut

November, 13, 2013
11/13/13
8:00
AM ET
RENTON, Wash. -- Don't expect too much too soon.

That's my message to all the Seattle fans about the debut of receiver Percy Harvin, which could come Sunday against his former team, the Minnesota Vikings.

Harvin
If Harvin does play, it will be the first time he's taken the field in an NFL game in more than a year. No matter how good a player is or how talented, a year away from actual game action is bound to leave him a little rusty.

Coincidentally, the last game Harvin played was in Seattle on Nov. 4, 2012, when Seattle beat the Vikings 30-20 on the day Harvin injured his ankle.

It will be interesting to see how much Harvin is used, and how he's used, if he plays Sunday. It's likely to be a limited role at first, just an opportunity for Harvin to get his feet wet, so to speak, and see some action before the big Monday night against the New Orleans Saints on Dec. 2.

The Seahawks have their bye week after the Vikings game, so Harvin will have two more weeks to get in playing shape before the next game.

And the Seattle receiving corps is coming off its best game of the season in the 33-10 victory at Atlanta. Golden Tate and Jermaine Kearse each had a TD catch. Doug Baldwin had five receptions, Tate had six (including a 46-yard catch-and-run on a quick screen) and Kearse had three catches, including the 43-yard TD.

Throwing Harvin into the mix will take some maneuvering. At first glance, one would expect him to take some of Kearse's playing time, but it's complicated.

Harvin is mostly a slot receiver, although he can line up anywhere, including the backfield. Baldwin plays the slot most of the time for the Seahawks, but he has played more snaps outside since Sidney Rice went down with a knee injury two weeks ago.

The Seattle coaches probably will go with a rotation and try to let all four receivers get meaningful playing time as much as possible, at least until Harvin settles in after a few games.

At first, what Harvin will add more than anything else is his presence. Defenses have to account for his speed and will see him as a deep threat. That could open up things underneath for Tate and Baldwin.

But don't expect Harvin to step onto the field Sunday and be at a Pro Bowl level. Give it time. He'll get there.

Terry Blount

ESPN Seattle Seahawks reporter

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