The 2009 Minnesota Vikings: The Man Who Will Make or Break the Season
No, not Adrian Peterson. And no, not that starting quarterback who has yet to be identified.
The Minnesota Vikings have worked, prepared, and established themselves as one of the better teams in the NFC and the NFL for that matter. But there always seems to be one Achilles’ heel that prevents the Vikings from hoisting the Lombardi trophy in the Super Bowl.
For the upcoming 2009 season, the Vikings’ Super Bowl chances seem to hinge on one player.
Rookie and wide receiver—Percy Harvin.
The two-time NCAA Football champion from the University of Florida has the game-breaking potential on both offense and special teams to elicit an NFC Championship for the Minnesota faithful.
Making him the 22nd pick of this past NFL Draft has been said to be a risk versus reward pick. I believe we have found a much bigger reward in Harvin.
With that said, there are many ways within the X’s and O’s that Percy Harvin can elevate the adequate play that the Vikings have been making a mockery of this past decade.
First of all, we all know that Percy Harvin provides that game-breaking speed that is so rare to find at this level. He can make something out of nothing. Having a speed threat is always a plus; there’s the intimidation factor for opposing teams' defensive backs and points are scored much quicker. But most importantly, “speed demons” provide a sense of momentum that can’t be found anywhere else on the gridiron.
Percy Harvin brings all three of those qualities to the Minnesota Vikings.
With him, the Vikings will be a defensive nightmare. We could easily see some double teams on Harvin out wide. With that, more and more options open up for Coach Brad Childress. Maybe Bernard Berrian frees up out as the flanker, or Sidney Rice or Bobby Wade in the slot.
But the best possibilities, you ask?
Well, look no further than halfback. Adrian Peterson is ready to attack his third season in the league in full gear. The speed on the edge that Percy Harvin provides will ultimately even help MVP candidate Adrian Peterson elevate his game.
If Harvin can sustain some success in the wailing moments of the season, defensive coordinators will be scratching their heads as if they were aerospace engineers developing new futuristic aircrafts.
This past season, Peterson faced many nine-man fronts—by far more than any other back in the league. If it wasn’t a nine-man box, he was facing eight-man fronts—which is already a fierce battle for a tailback and his offensive line.
But with success out wide with Harvin, the chances the Vikings are confronted with another nine-man front is as likely as Brett Favre actually being done toying with the idea of returning to the NFL. In other words (for the non-sports fan) it’s not going to happen.
For Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin is a godsend. After two completely successful seasons for the Vikings’ run game in 2007 and 2008, Peterson is ready to embark on a second consecutive rushing title, rushing for more than 2,000 yards, and earning the coveted MVP award.
I can’t even imagine what Peterson will be able to do to defenses with only an eight-man box in front of him. The sky will be the limit, or at least the Metrodome ceiling.
So, we can already see the immediate impact that Harvin can have on the running game and his fellow receivers. But we aren’t even close to being done, well, maybe not.
Percy Harvin also has a legitimate shot at initiating big strides in the special teams aspect of the game. In the past few seasons, the Vikings have had dreadful special teams, aside from field goal kicking. After watching their coverage teams the past two seasons, I feel my USC Trojans can do a better job.
No, Harvin will not help the coverage teams. Or, at least, I wouldn’t think so. But he can electrify the Dome in an instance with a shifty punt return to the house. Or an equally exciting play in football—the 100-yard kickoff return for TD. He will definitely bring some smiles to Vikings’ fans that haven’t been evident in years past.
Another reason he is so crucial, and maybe the most obvious; Percy Harvin will help out the quarterback—whoever that may be.
While we don’t know who will be starting for Minnesota in 2009, either Tarvaris Jackson, Sage Rosenfels, or even Brett Favre, Percy will be a major factor in facilitating more options.
But regardless, the Vikings’ quarterback situation is iffy at best. And I’m still not confident—although hopeful—we have the quarterback for a late playoff run.
However, no matter who quarterbacks the Vikes, Percy Harvin will create creases against the defenses. This will definitely ease the job for the starting QB. His speed will create double teams, leaving holes for open wide receivers, and he will simply provide another solid option for the Vikings to look at for the upcoming season.
But lastly, Percy Harvin may even assist in running the offense. This past weekend, the usually conservative-minded Brad Childress finally broke out of his shell and, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, unleashed 30 new plays involving Harvin in the shotgun—all running the Wildcat offense.
With Harvin Having successfully ran the Wildcat in some fashion at the University of Florida, this is what really excited most Vikings fans, including myself. A player who can be utilized in various positions is always a weapon, especially if those include WR, RB, and QB. Just imagine him taking a snap with Adrian Peterson in the backfield.
Oh my, this could get exciting.
Or Percy Harvin running the option with AD right behind him.
Or Percy running a play-action with AD, and turning up the field for a 40-yard score.
Wow. I can’t wait for this season.
At this time, there can’t be any real accolades or predictions of how Harvin will perform in his rookie year. But, let me tell you; everything is shaping out to be exactly as I hoped.
It all seems like a perfect fit for Percy Harvin in Minnesota. With the off-field work and practices getting done, he just needs to keep on running like the Energizer bunny. If so, the Minnesota Vikings just might be playing in February.
Gosh, I sure hope so.
This article was first published on The Purple Trojan
Brian Wagner is a Staff Writer at Most Valuable Network
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