As fans, we like to see two things out of the football players on our team; production on the field and anonymity off of it. Success in these tawo areas is frequently why teams like the Patriots and Steelers have been so rewarded and why others like the Bengals have not. Sure, Tom Brady makes the headlines off the field occasionally, but he doesn’t go searching for them. Contrarily, Chris Henry could write a book on how to put your self in the negative public spotlight through your personal decisions and how to miss keen on field opportunities all the while. Presales begin this fall!
Vikings rookie catch-all Percy Harvin came into the 2009 season with the ability to capture these qualities in both negative and positive ways. His production on the field was undeniable and his colored history off of it was infamous. Call it a need for a player to match their field production with their “character production”, but Brad Childress seemingly shared these fan concerns before the 2009 draft when he visited Harvin in Florida, knowing that this talented kid may fall to the Vikings. And due to these character marks, fall he did.
Harvin’s talents were clearly seen leading up to the 2009 season. He was the talk of mini camps in April and grabbed attention for his speed and cuts during training camp. But his absence from some camps in April and during the rookie symposium later in the summer helped to fan the flames that he was an unreliable and difficult player to work with. Coaches, both former and present, continuously denied these allegations and firmly made clear that they expected nothing but the best from Harvin. It seemed that the fans and other critical major media outlets would have to wait for the season to start until we were convinced otherwise, but rest assured that this process has begun.
Going into week three against the San Francisco 49ers, Harvin is already tops in several NFL categories. His two touchdown receptions tie him with several other players atop the leader board with only Marques Colston having more, with three. His all purpose yards rank him 10th in the NFL behind such notable players as the Vikings own Purple Jesus, Darren Sproles, Chris Johnson and Leon Washington. Finally, Harvin and Chester Taylor are currently tied for the most catches on the team with eight.
Are these numbers ground breaking? Has Percy Harvin smashed into the NFL landscape like a meteor into Earth, forever altering its history? No. But the absence of other rookie receivers in the tops of several NFL statistical categories whom were drafted ahead of Harvin is significant (Darius Heyward-Bey and Jeremy Maclin, notably). If anything, it addresses his undeniably talent and showcases his seamless transition to the NFL. Essentially, the kid can play.
Even more significant though is what you’re not hearing about Harvin. While producing on the field, there hasn’t been a single mention of a Harvin Headache off of it. No peeps of him missing practices, no fights with teammates, disapproval of his role … nothing. It’s quiet, and that’s not what a multitude of pundits expected.
Has Adrian Peterson gotten in his head? Has Brett Favre helped his development? Are the veteran receivers taking him under their wing? Yes may be the answer to all of these questions, and this can only benefit Harvin and the Vikings. The sooner this 21 year old prodigy learns what it takes to succeed in the NFL, both on and off the field, the better he’ll become, after an already stellar two game outing.
And as the Vikings come back to the Metrodome sporting a 2-0 record, Harvin will get his chance to curtail even more favor in his direction in front of the home crowd. Will he grab the fans attention like another moody receiving rookie once did? Only time will tell, but young Percy is well on his way.