Mike Ferreri: The 'Percy Factor' suddenly looms in post season

SEATTLE - Percy Harvin was supposed to make the Seahawks offensive dynamic and explosive this season. Seahawks GM John Schneider dealt a No. 1 draft pick to Minnesota for Harvin, and it was a gamble worth taking to land one of the most talented playmakers in the NFL.

One week into training camp it didn't look like a good risk to take.

Harvin needed hip surgery. It was the type of surgery that could sideline a player for an entire season, but not Harvin. He had a target date to get back and make his Seahawks debut - Nov. 17 against his former team, the Vikings.

He made it back and played against Minnesota. He was in on 17 plays touching the ball only twice. One was a catch, a spectacular 17-yard diving grab that kept a Seahawks drive alive. The other was a 58-yard kickoff return that set up a touchdown. Seahawks fans finally got a glimpse of what Harvin was capable of and it was exciting. Then poof, he was gone again.

After that one game against the Vikings, Harvin's surgically repaired hip was sore, and he was back on the shelf. Week after week it was the same response from head coach Pete Carroll in his weekly press conferences to questions regarding Harvin's status: " He's still sore and won't practice this week."

It seemed like that glimmer of offensive brilliance that showed up that cold Sunday afternoon against the Vikings was just that - a glimmer - that wouldn't be seen again in a game or on the practice field until training camp in August.

One day after clinching the NFC West it seemed like Harvin was headed for a season-ending spot on the injured reserve list. In interviews, Carroll's response to Harvin questions began to take on a hopeless feel. Roster spots are at a premium in the post season and the Seahawks seemed destined to make a move. But Monday afternoon Pete Carroll surprised everyone at his weekly day-after game press get-together with this statement:

"Percy's going to practice with us when we get back with the intention on playing in this next game. We'll see what happens. That's the intention and we'll see how it goes. It's come to the point where we can go to that, and we'll keep our fingers crossed for him. He wants to contribute and be part of this team, and he's going to do everything he can to do that. We'll see what happens."

Harvin causes problems for opposing defenses. His presence alone serves as a distraction - one a visiting team will suddenly have to deal with in the divisional round of the playoffs at CenturyLink Field along with all the noise.

Pete Carroll will take whatever Harvin can give the team.

"We have a young guy that is trying to get back on the team and see if he can help his team win. We'll see what happens. There is no strategy to this or anything like that. We're just pulling for him, and if he can contribute that would be great."

Carroll, like the rest of us, saw what Harvin is capable of doing when he played that one game against the Vikings. He's hoping for more of the same if Harvin's hip responds well enough after practicing with the team.

"He showed when he jumped out at Minnesota, he looked like he could do something when he gets out there. So, you know, it may be pretty exciting if he does make it back."

The Seahawks won the NFC West, a No. 1 seed in the playoffs and home field advantage without Harvin. Think about what they may do "with" him this postseason.

Maybe it was a gamble worth taking after all.