Vikings vs. Seahawks 2013 game preview: Percy Harvin is back

Percy Harvin is making his 2013 debut ... and he's playing against his former teammates.

Let's just get this out of the way:

Percy Harvin will be making his debut for the Seattle Seahawks and, yes, he'll be playing against his former teammates on the Minnesota Vikings. This is a big deal, and makes this game eminently watchable.

Otherwise, Sunday's game is admittedly not a big a matchup. The Seahawks will almost assuredly be going to the playoffs and the Vikings almost assuredly will not. The fact the game is in Seattle where the Seahawks have now won 12 straight means that the Vikings will likely be heading home with a loss in tow.

But that Harvin subplot, man -- How much will he play? Are his legs back? Has he been healthy for weeks now, and preparing in wait to blow up against the team that traded him? -- should make this game fun to watch.

Meet the Seahawks

The Seahawks scraped out close wins against the St. Louis Rams and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Weeks 8 and 9, and there was some trepidation among the fanbase that the team was slipping. Last week, they bounced back in a big way with a 33-10 win over the Atlanta Falcons on the road.

The Seahawks are among the most complete teams in the NFL. They rank top 8 in the NFL in both total offense and total defense. They are No. 1 in the NFL in rushing offense (153.4 yards per game) and No. 2 in pass defense (178 yards per game allowed).

They'll be without cornerback Brandon Browner for some time, but Harvin's return on the other side of the ball should help offset the loss.

Meet the Vikings

The Vikings, meanwhile, are 2-7 and holding onto slim mathematical odds of making the playoffs. They do have some momentum from a 34-27 win over the Washington Redskins last week, however. Christian Ponder entered the game with a tentative grasp on the starting quarterback job, but solidified his role with a 17-for-21 passing, 2-touchdown performance. He suffered a dislocated shoulder late in the game, but appears on track to play.

If the passing game can keep the secondary honest, Adrian Peterson will have a chance to gouge the Seahawks on the ground. Seattle ranks 15th in the NFL giving up 111 yards rushing per game at 4.2 yards per carry. Peterson is averaging 4.5 yards per carry this season despite non-existent support from the passing game for much of the year.

Local Takes: Seahawks

Danny Kelly at Seahawks blog Field Gulls looks at the evolution of Golden Tate:

Golden Tate's big-play celebratory reactions are on Russell Wilson dead-eyes level. This is the new Golden Tate. Lasered. In.

Does this represent a turning point for a sometimes-spectacular and somewhere-midlevel NFL receiver to become what we've thought he could become, a top-15, top-10 go-to guy? Well, I'm not saying that, but it sure felt like Tate was becoming a star in front of our eyes on Sunday when he made a one-handed grab in the corner of the endzone. (I only say that again because that was my actual in-game reaction at the time).

Local Takes: Vikings

Eric J. Thompson at Vikings blog Daily Norseman previews the game, and dismantles the Percy Harvin narrative.

Think about it. Does Percy Harvin strike you as a deeply loyal player that would hold a grudge against the team that gave up on him? Or is he just a colossally talented athlete that's amazing to watch on the field but difficult to understand off it? If Harvin has a big game against the Vikings it won't be because he had extra motivation. It will be because Harvin is a great football player (when healthy) and the Vikings defense isn't very good. Chris Myers and Tim Ryan will probably mention the Revenge of Percy at least a few times throughout the FOX broadcast on Sunday. Every beat writer and blogger between St. Paul and Sammamish has written about it this week. But in the end it's simply a really good wide receiver returning from an injury.

Follow the Fun

Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, Field Gulls and Daily Norseman, for more analysis and highlights from the game.

Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:

@DailyNorseman

@FieldGulls

@chipscoggins -- Vikings beat writer

@johnpboyle -- Seahawks beat writer

Prediction

SB Nation's panel of NFL experts has the Seahawks winning across the board. The Seahawks are too strong and playing too well, and the Vikings are ... well, they're the Vikings. Minnesota may be improving but Seattle has been playing at a high level all season.

Prediction: Seahawks 27, Vikings 13

Odds

The Seahawks are favored by 12 to 13 points depending on the sports book, according to Odds Shark.

Next Week

The Seahawks will finally be taking their bye week. The Vikings will take on the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

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