Minnesota has been home to deep threat receivers like Randy Moss, Chris Carter, and Sidney Rice. Receivers like Randy Moss are notorious for taking the top off a defense and stretching the field. Percy Harvin is a unique type of receiver, one the Vikings and NFL have never seen before. His incredible elusiveness, quickness, and versatility labels him as one of the best receivers in the league and maybe even on of the best overall offensive players. The Vikings offense is centered around Percy Harvin and it wouldn’t function the same without him.
He can play multiple positions
Harvin, who is primarily positioned at the as a slot receiver, can be found making plays all over the field. As a receiver Harvin is tied for the league lead in receptions with 60 for a total of 667 yards. A majority of his catches come from screen passes with his longest play from scrimmage being 45 yards. He currently has 3 touchdowns on the year and leads the Vikings’ receivers in receiving yards, receptions, and touchdowns. Although the Vikings still lack a deep threat, Percy Harvin makes up with his ability to take a bubble screen for a massive gain. What he lacks in height is made up in pure heart, strength, determination, and speed. Minnesota uses Percy in every way they can. Percy is averaging 4.0 yards per carry and a long of 20 yards with a touchdown. He does a great job of taking pressure of Adrian Peterson while bringing the same intense running style that Peterson brings on every play. Not only can Percy take carries and catch, he is also one of the most dangerous kick returners. He is so dangerous when it comes to kick returns is openly shows his displeasure when the ball goes through the back of the end zone on kickoffs. Early this year he won the NFC Special Teams Player of the Month award highlighted by his 105-yard kick return against the Lions. His total amount offensive yards this season (rushing, receiving, kick return, punt return) is a league best 1, 274 yards. Since entering the league in 2009 Percy Harvin leads the NFL with 5 kickoffs return touchdowns.
Reliability to the offense
While second-year quarterback Christian Ponder is still in a developing stage as a young starting quarterback he knows he has a reliable offensive target in Percy Harvin. Harvin help take pressure off Ponder by getting open quick and allowing quick screens to turn into long, breakout plays. Screen passes thrown to Harvin account for a large part of the offense and help Ponder gain confidence in his quick check-down passes. Ponder has completed 36% of his passes to Percy and of his 1,743 passing yards, 667 of those yards have gone to Percy (38%). Harvin has been targeted 79 times and 60 of them have been completed (76%) and also has accounted for 36 of Minnesota’s 106 passing first downs (34%). He currently has the most games in Vikings history with 200+ total yards with 8 total games, edging Vikings legends Cris Carter, Randy Moss, and Adrian Peterson.
Quick and elusive
Percy is no doubt one of the most agile and quickest players in the league, but his most prominent attribute is his ability to break tackles and pick up yards after contact. Harvin’s 40 yard dash time of 4.41 seconds isn’t that impressive considering some of the times that have been coming out in recent years, but his deadly jump cuts and lighting-quick juke moves label him as one of the quickest players in the league. Breaking tackles is not something you would expect from the 5’11″, 184 LB wide receiver but it gives him an unexpected and dangerous advantage towards others.
Even during kick returns Percy always keeps an eye down field right up until he receives the ball and even then he’s looking for open holes. Using his smarts, speed, and versatility Harvin has establishing himself as one of the most dominant players in the league.
Does he have a shot a MVP?
There are a lot of great players in the NFL and a lot of talent being shown week by week. With quarterbacks winning the MVP award nearly every year it’s hard for any other position to contribute as much as an elite quarterback can week in and week out. There has never been a winner of the MVP award in the history of the NFL that has landed in the arms of a receiver, even with legend receivers Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, and Michael Irvin never winning it would be bizarre for Harvin to be the first. Harvin has been in the small talk for the MVP this year but realistically his odds are slim, but if there was a receiver of the year award he be at the top of consideration. Big names Calvin Johnson, Victor Cruz, Reggie Wayne, and Brandon Marshall have all been great this year and are big competition for Harvin, but they are all receivers and bring little to nothing in the running game (outside blocking) and nothing on special teams. If there is any receiver to name more explosive than Harvin it would have to be Victor Cruz from the New York Giants who leads the league in touchdowns (7), and is 6th in the league in receiving yards (650).
- Leads the League with 1,274 combined yards (rush, rec. and KOR yds.)
- Tied for 1st in the NFL with 60 receptions.
- Currently 2nd in the NFC in receiving yards with 667 yards.
- He is 2nd in the NFL and 1st in the NFC in kickoff return average (35.7).
- He has 103 rushes in his career which ranks 1st for Vikings wide receivers.
- He has the longest play in Vikings history, a 105-yard kickoff return touchdown vs Lions.
- Named NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for September (2012).
- Has 659 rushing yards as a Viking, breaking the Vikings record for rushing yards by a wide receiver.
- He notched his 8th career game with 200+ combined net yards at Washington (Vikings record) and notched his 3rd game of 2012 with 100+ receiving yards.
- Has 147 catches from the 2011-12 season, trailing only Wes Welker of the Patriots.
- Leads the NFL since entering the league in 2009 with 5 kickoff return touchdowns and trails only Devin Hester with 6 combined PR/KR touchdowns.
- Over the past two seasons, Harvin leads the NFL with a 34.0 yards per KOR average.