By Joseph Gunther
Percy Harvin, WR #12
Hometown: Virginia Beach, VA
Experience: 4 years
Harvin is one of the most dynamic playmakers in the NFL. Not only can he take the ball the distance every play, but he can also do it from any position. He is officially listed as a wide receiver on the team’s roster, but has also lined up as a kick returner, running back and quarterback.
During Sunday’s victory over the Detroit Lions, he played all four positions. His best position is still as a wide receiver and kick returner.
He entered the game leading the NFL in receptions, but dropped to third after being held to three catches by the Lions.
Where would the Vikings be without Harvin? Even if it was never considered, Vikings fans received a scare during the offseason that it could happen.
It was reported in June that Harvin was unhappy, then demanded a trade and skipped a practice session. At the conclusion of the three-day mandatory camp all was well and he didn’t act as though anything big had happened.
The first assumption was money. Harvin did not say anything about it, other than that he was not happy. He has two years remaining on his rookie contract that has base salaries below $2 million. The memories of that weekend came back Monday when Harvin shed some light on the subject.
“I think it was just the identity of our offense,” he said. “Not only me, just guys knowing exactly what the coaches (were) asking of them on a week-to-week basis. Not playing one position one week, and come in and not totally having a grasp on what they’re asking for the next week.”
“I think (offensive coordinator Bill) Musgrave has done a great job, I said it all offseason, of putting (Kyle) Rudolph in great situations,” said Harvin. “We’ve got a package for (Jerome) Simpson, which you’ve seen, where we’ll take shots downfield. So everybody knows their role, knows what the coaches expect them to do. Now you can just sit back and try to do it at the highest level you can.”
All seems to be fine now with the Vikings atop the NFC North Division, despite posting little statistical production Sunday at Ford Field.
“That’s why it’s a team game,” Harvin said Monday. “I helped Jerome make a few key catches. That’s with one-on-one (coverage). We took a couple deep shots, so like I said, we all feed off each other. There will be games like that.”
He is only in his fourth NFL season, but he has already won several awards. In 2009, he was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week, NFL Rookie of the Month, NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and selected for the Pro Bowl as a return man. Then in 2010, he earned NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. In 2011, he was voted as the Vikings Offensive MVP by his teammates and was selected as the Korey Stringer Good Guy Award winner by the Twin Cities sports media for his cooperation with them.
Before the Vikings selected him in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, Harvin helped the Florida Gators win two BCS National Championships in three seasons. He set the Gators’ record for most career rushing yards by a wide receiver (1,852) and most rushing yards by a wide receiver in a season (858 rushing yards in 2007).
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Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. His work can be found on Examiner.com.