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Updated: January 30th, 2014 9:03am
Zulgad: Can Percy Harvin be the difference? Like him, that's an enigma

Zulgad: Can Percy Harvin be the difference? Like him, that's an enigma

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by Judd Zulgad

As lousy as this season went for the Minnesota Vikings, and as well as it went for the Seattle, there is no debating the fact it appears the former fleeced the latter last March in the trade that sent wide receiver Percy Harvin to the Seahawks.

The Vikings acquired first- and seventh-round picks in 2013 and a third-round selection in 2014. Seattle, in turn, got the right to sign Harvin to a six-year, $67 million contract.

The Seahawks believed they were getting the dynamic playmaker that had made defenses fear him so much during his four seasons in Minnesota. Harvin could be recalcitrant at times and battled migraines that often served as a reason not to practice, but he also had the ability to win football games.

In his first three NFL seasons, Harvin also proved he was usually on the field when it counted. He missed three games in his first two years because of migraines, played in all 16 games in 2011 before sitting out seven games in 2012 because of an ankle injury.

It was thought the ankle problems would go away when Harvin got away from a Vikings offense he considered to be far from ideal for him.

But that didn't happen. Harvin showed up at training camp with a hip problem and underwent surgery to repair his labrum in late July.

Harvin returned on Nov. 17 to play against the Vikings and then ended up sitting out again until the Seahawks' opening playoff game against New Orleans. Harvin took two big hits in that game and was lost for the NFC title game against San Francisco because of a concussion.

That means he will enter the Super Bowl on Sunday against Denver having played in part of two games all season.

The Vikings, meanwhile, used the first-round pick they got from Seattle to take promising cornerback Xavier Rhodes with the 25th pick overall.

Having accumulated the additional selections, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman also felt comfortable enough to send second-, third-, fourth- and seventh-round picks to New England in order to move back into the first round and take Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.

Yet, there is a way that by late Sunday both teams could be very satisfied with this trade.

That's because Harvin's lack of playing time could help to make him the Seahawks' secret weapon against Denver.

The Broncos will have had two weeks to prepare for Seattle, but one thing they can't be prepared for is how much Harvin will play, where he will line up or how Seattle might use him.

With most players who have missed this much time in a season, the assumption would be that it would be difficult for them to make an impact in their team's biggest game of the season.

But as maddening as Harvin can be at times, there is no doubting that he is a special, special player. He is the rare guy who is worth the price of admission. He has the ability to make Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio a miserable man this offseason.

Quarterback Russell Wilson's play in recent weeks for the Seahawks hasn't been considered to be great and at times he has appeared to fall into the role of making a few nice plays but managing the game for the most part.

Having Harvin on the field, could make Wilson much more than a game manager at Met Life Stadium.

Harvin has the potential to turn Wilson into a star on Sunday and also make everyone, including members of the Seahawks' front office, forget that they got only two-plus games out of him this season.

This doesn't mean the Vikings will be unhappy with their deal. Patterson appears to have the same ability to make plays as Harvin, but is far bigger (6-2 as compared to 5-11) and appears to have much less baggage.

It's just that Seattle officials might finally have reason to smile about their end of the deal if Harvin plays like he can on Sunday.

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd