Minnesotans will have plenty of ties to the Super Bowl when the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos get together for championship rights on Sunday in New York. From Heath Farwell to the Seahawks' front office, there will be quite a few familiar faces.
Percy Harvin– Seahawks wide receiver: The former Vikings receiver is finally healthy after a season filled with injuries. He missed the majority of the season recovering from hip surgery, and suffered a concussion in his return in a playoff game against the Saints three weeks ago. Minnesota traded Harvin to Seattle after the 2012 season.
Sidney Rice – Seahawks wide receiver: Rice, who has racked up 97 receptions for more than 1,400 yards and 12 touchdowns in three seasons with Seattle, hasn't played since tearing his ACL in late October. He last played for the Vikings in 2010. He was Brett Favre's favorite target on the 2009 team that reached the NFC Championship Game.
Heath Farwell– Seahawks linebacker: The former Vikings special teams star was named to the Pro Bowl while playing for the Vikings in 2009, where he joined Harvin and Rice on the team that came close to reaching the Super Bowl. Reaching the Super Bowl is something Farwell didn't think he would ever do.
“I never expected any of this,” Farwell told the Star Tribune. “I guess that’s the beauty of it and why I enjoy it so much. I can’t describe how unbelievable this feels.”
Steven Hauschka – Seahawks kicker: He began his career as an undrafted free agent signed by the Vikings in 2008. He didn't make the team, but he found a way to stick with Seattle. The last three seasons he's drilled 82 of 92 field goals (89.1 percent). He told the Star Tribune that he's had an "interesting journey."
Darrell Bevell – Seahawks offensive coordinator: He was also on the 2009 Vikings team that fell just short of reaching the Super Bowl. Bevell ran the Vikings offensive from 2006-2010 before getting booted when head coach Brad Childress was fired. Bevell reportedly interviewed for the Vikings head coaching job earlier this month.
John Schneider – Seahawks general manager: The University of St. Thomas graduate was hired along with head coach Pete Carroll in 2010. He's credited for drafting quarterback Russell Wilson and building a Super Bowl caliber team. The Star Tribune profiled Schneider's relationship with Carroll.
“We’re both real guys — no ego,” Schneider said. “We want to be very successful and do whatever we can to be competitive in anything we do, whether that’s Pete throwing the ball 50 yards in the pregame or us competing in cornhole [bean-bag toss], when we first met.
“We were the only two people in the building. Just competing in everything we do and knowing that as long as you’re pushing every single day, in every area, whether it be in our video department, in the cafeteria, whatever we’re doing, nutrition, sleep for the players, all that. As long as we’re doing that, it doesn’t matter [who gets the credit].”
Eric Decker– Broncos wide receiver: He's the greatest wide receiver in Minnesota Golden Gophers history, has a reality show with his country singing wife Jessie James and he's caught 24 touchdown passes from Peyton Manning over the last two seasons. As the New York post appropriately said, Decker is a local icon going back to his days at Rocori High School in Cold Spring, Minnesota, where he weathered a school shooting.
Jack Del Rio– Broncos defensive coordinator: Del Rio played linebacker for the Vikings from 1992-1995. He and Bevell agreed earlier this week that they wouldn't trade their shot at the Super Bowl for a chance to be head coach of the Vikings.