At 9-1 in 2013 and 16-2 in their past 18 games, the Seahawks are full strength along a once-depleted offensive line with the returns of Unger, Okung and Giacomini.
The Seahawks Wednesday received an influx of talent. It came from their injury list.
Pro Bowl tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini practiced, and barring setbacks this week, will likely play Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings at CenturyLink Field (1:25 p.m., FOX). Returning too, is Pro Bowl center Max Unger and defensive end Red Bryant, both of whom missed last week with concussions.
“There’s no doubt we’ve had issues,” said offensive line coach Tom Cable. “I’m delighted. Our football team got a lot better through this tough time, if you will, in regards to depth. It’s pretty neat.”
Neat for Cable because of the makeshift offensive line he was forced to employ Sunday in a 33-10 win against the Falcons in Atlanta. The unit performed well in part because Cable moved offensive lineman Alvin Bailey, depending on the down and distance, from right guard to left tackle in place of struggling back-up Paul McQuistan.
With Okung and Giacomini returning this week, and Unger recovered from the concussion sustained against Tampa Bay, the Seahawks are back to full strength at the position group that needed the most work. Okung and Giacomini haven’t started a game together since Sept. 5 on Sunday Night Football, when Seattle thrashed the 49ers 29-3.
“It’s exciting,” said Cable. “What we have to do a good job of, is getting them in the right way. We’re playing pretty good football now, but hopefully we’ll get better and they’ll just add to that.”
Refreshed by the idea of a healthy, fully functioning offensive line, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll launched into the positive rhetoric consistent with the coach of a 9-1 team with a 2½-game lead in the NFC West.
“We’re in a good spot and hopefully we can take advantage of that. It’s a pretty exciting time,” Carroll said.
Wide receiver Percy Harvin, removed from the physically unable to perform list earlier in the week, possesses a return timetable less clear.
“Well we’re just going to bring him back appropriately, whatever that is,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We’re not going to play him until he’s ready to go full speed. There’s not a grand plan here because we don’t have enough information yet.”
Signed in the off-season to a five-year contract that included $25 million guaranteed, Seattle yielded first, third and seventh-round picks. Wednesday, Harvin was limited in practice and didn’t speak to the media, though Carroll was pretty clear about what his role will be when he does finally return.
When asked if he would be used as a kickoff returner, Carroll was uncharacteristically brief.
“Absolutely. Yeah, I’m counting on that.”
Adding a star-caliber talent in the middle of a season can be tricky, especially when a team is winning. The Seahawks are 16-2 in their last 18 games and own a 12-game home winning streak.
Perhaps that’s why offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell promoted the idea of patiently re-acclimating Harvin back into the league’s sixth-best scoring offense (26.5 points per game).
“We just have to see where Percy is at,” he said. “We just can’t go all wild and say, ‘Here are all the things we want to do with Percy.'”
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