Saturday meant imagination and excitement for the Vikings offense, as offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell implemented some "wildcat" plays into practice for rookie wide receiver Percy Harvin.
This shouldn't be surprising, considering Harvin's speed and explosiveness. The wildcat offense consists of Harvin lining up next to a quarterback or running back out of the shotgun and running draw plays or handoffs to confuse the defense.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Bevell said the offensive changes will grant players the opportunity to use their best abilities.
“We’re up there trying to diagram everything we can,” Bevell said. “We’re looking at things we do, we’re looking at things other teams have done and trying to get the ball to our playmakers.”
Harvin agreed when asked about using the wildcat at the University of Florida, saying he had success with the formation because it lets him use his explosiveness.
“I did that a lot," Harvin said. "That is a lot of my versatility. They put that in now and we’re kind of working that with me and a couple of the other running backs.”
Along with practicing the wildcat formation, Harvin also impressed with many nice catches over the middle. He did say that it was a bit overwhelming with everything that was going on during practice.
They just want me to learn multiple positions," he said. "We don’t know quite where I’m going to play right now. I’m just learning kind of a little bit of everything. I’m just working hard and whatever they need me to play, that’s what I’ll do.”
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is also quite impressed with the young rookie and the way he plays the game.
“We’re throwing in some new plays and different looks out there," Peterson said. "I know that guy is exhausted because I’m exhausted for him— all the running around he’s doing. He’s a tremendous athlete, and he has a lot of ability.”
Peterson is also quite excited about some heat being taken off of him with the addition of Harvin.
"When you have guys out there with speed running around in different formations—you’ve got running backs out wide and motioning across and things like that— (defenses) are really going to have to be on top of their game," he said.
The offense is not the only unit making adjustments. The special teams unit has taken a cue from the new NFL rule that only allows a maximum of two players on a wedge during the kick return. New special teams coordinator Brian Murphy said the NFL is just looking out for the health of the players.
“It was player safety,” said Murphy. “To my understanding, they felt that if you had a two-man wedge, there was a better chance of a guy running around a wedge and not having to go in between two giants. That’s what it was. It was three offensive linemen running right into a safety or a corner.
"They felt like if they removed one of those guys it gives the safety or corner a chance to run around a block and make it, rather than have to put himself in harm’s way and go into the wedge.”
If a team has three or more players creating a wedge on a kick return, they will receive a 15-yard penalty from the spot of the wedge.
The Vikings will wrap up their first mandatory mini-camp session on Sunday. Check back for more updates from everything that is happening at Winter Park.
Photo by Jerry Holt/Star Tribune