Versatility: What Percy Harvin Brings To The Vikings Playbook
Before the 2008 season, I was optimistic that with the addition of speedster wide receiver Bernard Berrian, the Vikings would be able to effectively stretch the field and he would become the Vikings first 1,000 yard receiver in a season since Nate Burleson in 2004.
Well, as much as Berrian helped with his ability to get behind defenders and force safety help by the defense, running back Adrian Peterson still faced stacked defensive lines with no second receiver standing out.
Perhaps this is what the Vikings were thinking when they selected wide receiver Percy Harvin out of Florida with the No. 22 overall pick in this year's draft.
Harvin, who ran a 4.41 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, should definitely bring some versatility to the Vikings' offense this season.
He will take over as the team's No. 2 receiver, lining up opposite Berrian and sometimes in the slot when the Vikings use only two receivers in a formation.
In his career at Florida, Harvin recorded 1,929 yards receiving. However, what surprised me when looking through his stats, was what he did on the ground. When running the ball, Harvin amassed 1,852 yards in his career.
What can that bring to the Vikings playbook?
Well, many have thought about lining him up in the shotgun formation, along with Peterson, and running the wildcat offense similar to what the Miami Dolphins did last year with running backs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams.
I wouldn't expect offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to dial up the wildcat too much in 2009, it just wouldn't be the Vikings' style.
What I do expect to see with the addition of Harvin is more end-arounds, utilizing his speed. When watching film of Harvin's runs last season at Florida, he often took end-arounds from quarterback Tim Tebow and was very effective.
Also, don't be surprised to see him line up next to whoever is starting for the Vikings at quarterback, out of the shotgun formation, and take the hand off running either way.
Besides what Percy Harvin can do when running the ball, let's talk about the real reason the Vikings brought him in, to catch the football.
Look for Harvin to run a lot of drag routes and short posts over the middle where he can catch the football on the run and use his agility in the open field.
Also, I am sure we will also see a few shots deep with Harvin. With two receivers who can open up a defense's secondary, you can expect to see a few more long balls in 2009.
Whichever way Harvin is used, he definitely brings some variety to a Vikings offense that was very one-dimensional with Adrian Peterson in 2008.
Now, with Harvin added to the mix, expect to see some new schemes as well as energy brought to Minnesota in 2009.
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