Even when the end had passed with the conflict irreversible, the finality felt awkward.
On March 12, there was Percy Harvin, for four seasons a Viking, all of a sudden sitting at an introductory news conference in Seattle with a new head coach and a new general manager, flashing an effervescent smile.
From 1,600 miles away, with the Vikings taking cursory interest in the proceedings, it just felt odd.
An array of Seahawks logos adorned the backdrop, driving home the reality of the blockbuster trade/exit strategy that Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman had devised to separate from a player who no longer fit.
Even with fulfillment in a deal that brought back three draft picks, a few ounces of disappointment percolated.
If only things could have worked out …
They hadn’t of course. So Harvin’s enthusiasm during his Seattle introduction briefly complicated the closure.
It exposed both the anguish associated with saying goodbye and the satisfaction of saying good riddance.
Seven days later, at the NFL’s annual meetings in Phoenix, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier still struggled to summarize it all. He acknowledged unwavering admiration for Harvin’s toughness and elite playmaking ability. Yet Frazier felt somewhat hollow too.
“I wish things could have played out differently,” he said. “I do. But it’s hard for me to talk about Percy Harvin now knowing that he’s a Seattle Seahawk.”
Harvin, meanwhile, instantly embraced his new opportunity. It was obvious from the minute he sat between Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider that he was giddy.
This was the fresh start he craved. He characterized his arrival in Seattle as “a blessing,” “a big relief,” “a dream come true.”
He expressed enthusiasm about the chance to join forces with promising quarterback Russell Wilson.
He sounded liberated. But from what exactly?
That’s the mystery that, despite a whirlwind of speculation, still hasn’t been solved. The Vikings continue protecting the details. Four years of on-again, off-again drama with Harvin had grown exhausting.
But the flash point that severed the relationship never has been leaked.