The Vikings pre-draft: Can one player make that big of a difference in a team's outlook? Peering into the draft day crystal ball of the Minnesota Vikings, the answer is a resounding yes—especially if they were fortunate enough to land Florida scat receiver Percy Harvin.
The vision of Harvin catching a slant pass behind linebackers in an open field will be enough to keep opposing defensive coordinators up at night. Add the home run potential of Adrian Peterson and the long ball threat of Bernard Berrian, and the dream suddenly becomes a nightmare.
At 5'11", 192 pounds, and 4.37 speed in the 40 yard dash, Harvin would add a long overdue multidimensional aspect to Minnesota's offense. In his final season at Florida, he had 644 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, while rushing for 660 yards and 10 TDs, averaging 9.4 yards per carry.
Only Missouri's Jeremy Maclin could duplicate Harvin's expected impact with the Vikings.
Now, Maclin figures to be long gone by the time the Vikings draft with the 22nd pick of the first round. However, not only does Harvin match Macklin's skill set, he also brings a special intangible quality—he plays big when it counts.
As a freshman in the 2007 BCS Championship against Ohio State, Harvin had nine receptions for 60 yards and a touchdown to help Florida to a 41-14 rout. In his team's victory over Oklahoma in this year's BCS title matchup, Harvin caught five passes for 49 yards, while rushing nine times for 122 yards. Having another home run hitter that knows how to win in close games would be large for the Vikings.
If Peterson rushed for a league-leading 1,760 yards with eight men stacked in the box, how much better will he be when linebackers have to drop back for fear of Harvin slipping behind them?
Minor college injuries aside, Harvin's upside far outweighs the possibilities of him missing a game or two throughout the season. This is a risk that the Vikings can afford to take.
Harvin's speed, sure hands, and run after catch ability simply take the Vikings offense to the next level. His impact would be similar to that made by DeSean Jackson in Philadelphia and Reggie Bush in New Orleans. Harvin and Peterson would all but guarantee that the Vikings will score at least 28 points per game.
With one of the league's best defenses, the Vikings only gave up more than 28 points twice last season.
By drafting Harvin, the Vikings could go deep into the playoffs.