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No Sophomore Slump For Harvin

Posted by cjsiewert on October 28, 2010 – 5:44 am

One of the greatest aspects of the NFL is to watch an up-and-coming star, fresh out of college, break through onto the professional scene with an outstanding rookie season.

In the past, the player to record the best season among rookies has rightfully earned Rookie of the Year honors. But so much has been made of what happens after that sensational rookie season – how will opposing teams approach playing the well-known Rookie of the Year during his 2nd season?

AP Offensive Rookies of the Year such as Denver’s Mike Anderson (2000) and Tampa Bay’s Cadillac Williams (2005) recorded standout rookie seasons but fell victims to the dreaded “sophomore slump.” Unlike Anderson and Williams, Vikings WR Percy Harvin – the 2009 ROY – shows no signs of experiencing a sophomore slump.

It was unclear at the beginning of the season as to whether or not Harvin would retain his valued characteristics as an elusive slot receiver and big-play kick returner because of reoccurring migraines during training camp, preseason and into the regular season. But as of Week 7 of the 2010 campaign, Harvin’s play is nothing short of spectacular.

More specifically, Harvin has re-launched himself onto the highlight reels since the Week 4 bye and the arrival of veteran WR Randy Moss prior to Week 5. When comparing his first 3 games (without Moss) to his last 3 (with Moss), Harvin has nearly doubled his average receiving yards per game from 35.3 to 61.0 – which seems to be at least partially a result of opposing defenses paying closer attention to Moss.

With Harvin reaping the benefits of a deep threat receiver as a teammate, one of Moss’ former teammates in New England, the team Harvin and the Vikings face this weekend, acknowledged the fact that the mere presence of Moss has a dramatic impact on coverage schemes.

“I think it keeps the defense honest and wanting to make sure he’s not going deep,” Patriots WR Wes Welker said. “You don’t know which play he’s going to all of a sudden take off on you. It definitely can put those safeties in check.”

Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress echoed Welker’s sentiments during his Wednesday press conference.

“I do,” Childress explained when asked if he feels the attention Moss receives results in open looks for other receivers. “Obviously Percy’s had a few good games and good looks at the football. (Visanthe) Shiancoe’s obviously spiked up here last week. You can’t serve all those masters in there. If somebody’s getting doubled, it means somebody’s singled usually.”

Since the bye week and the arrival of Moss, Harvin has not only found rejuvenation in the receiving game, but also on special teams. Harvin’s kick return average over the past 3 games sits at 30.0 yards per return and includes long returns of 44 and 48 yards with a 95-yard TD in the win over Dallas.

“First of all I feel like he’s in good shape,” Childress said of Harvin. “He’s in football playing shape right now. He’s doing a variety of different things, which he’s good at. Whether he’s in the backfield or he’s playing in the slot or he’s playing outside. I think he’s got a decent feel for what he’s doing. He can go full speed. He’s not thinking about much. You see that at practice and practice is carried over to the games.”

The best word to describe Harvin’s impact on the team is versatility. Over the past 3 games, Harvin has averaged 210.6 all-purpose yards per game. And versatility will be a beneficial characteristic when the Vikings face a Patriots defense that ranks 28th overall.


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Posted in All, CJ Siewert | 19 Comments »


19 Responses to “No Sophomore Slump For Harvin”

  1. By Carl K on Oct 28, 2010 | Reply

    Great story CJ. Now can you tell me why the 2009 rookie of the year and the most dangerous player in the NFL only gets 5.5 offensive touches per game?

  2. By Carl K on Oct 28, 2010 | Reply

    He needs more touches. More handoffs from an inside slot position… more shot possesion type screens to negate all the bitzes… line him up as a thrid down back and hand him the ball. (he is avg over 9 yards per carry). Snap it to him in the shot gun. The Vikings must work him in more!

  3. By Carl K on Oct 28, 2010 | Reply

    more short possession – sorry I cant spell

  4. By Mike Wobschall on Oct 28, 2010 | Reply

    He’s averaging 8.6 touches per game.

  5. By Carl K on Oct 28, 2010 | Reply

    According to the stats on this web site he has 8 rushing attempts and 25 catches. 33 “offensive” touches in 6 games is 5.5. What Am I missing Mike?

  6. By Carl K on Oct 28, 2010 | Reply

    Mike are you also telling me you would not want to utilize Harvin’s skill set even more in our offense?

  7. By Rick James on Oct 28, 2010 | Reply

    Yea, they need to get the ball in his hands more. He is a playmaker and you want your best players to get the ball as much as possible. Get him 5-10 rushes per game. Mix in those bubble screens like NE does. Let him aid in keeping AP fresh. I would suggest going single back with AP and motioning Percy into the backfield with the threat of a counter or misdirection. If nothing else it would be a decoy to see if you cant get Randy in single coverage…

  8. By Rick James on Oct 28, 2010 | Reply

    With the steady emergence of Toby Gerhart that would be a heck of a 3 headed monster in the running game. It would allow AP to have fresh legs and allow our playmakers more oppurtunity. I think Mike is counting kick returns into his total touches. If Percy has 33 touches this year and 4 have been TD’s that is roughly a 12% scoring average. So if you get him 10 touches a game he is theoretically scoring a TD every game, if not 2. I know that if he gets 10 touches a game he probly wont score every 10 plays, but he might! In football there is something to be said about playing the percentages. Scoring a TD once every 8-9 touches is a GREAT percentage!

  9. By Carl K on Oct 28, 2010 | Reply

    Rick – you are spot on!
    I can’t understand why no one in the Vikings organization can see this?
    We have problems most teams would love to have? And we can seem to fix it?

  10. By Woodboat on Oct 28, 2010 | Reply

    Carl, the one big problem that we do have is that the guy thats getting paid to fix these problems isn’t capable of doing it. I don’t think most teams in the league would be eager to take Childress off our hands.

  11. By purplehaze on Oct 28, 2010 | Reply

    he’s a freak in the slot, can you imagine him, Rice, and Moss all together, unstoppable…

  12. By purplehaze on Oct 28, 2010 | Reply

    i agree woodboat, Chilidog is maybe a decent offensive coach for any given team. Same happened to Charile W. when he came over to us here in Norte Dame country, the job was too much to handle, some guys just aren’t cut out to be head coaches.

  13. By taser brad on Oct 28, 2010 | Reply

    Percy – You are the greatest! I hope Rice comes all the way back soon. Hutch, I hope you are going to play. Brett, I hope you rest and understand, that just becasue you have done it before, (playing with injury, does not mean you should do it now) You be pationt and wait for health and let Jackson up for air. How about some 3 man wildcat with Webb, Percy and Peterson in the backfield. Let them blitz and get burned. Peterson in the left flat, Harvin in the right, Web can dump it or squirt off a run up the middle. Quick…yuur the backer, what do you do?

  14. By viking joe on Oct 28, 2010 | Reply

    i’d say open play book to the offense let them do what they know best is move the ball down the feild,and put faith that they’ll do it !! insted of being told what to like sohpmores…skol viks!!

  15. By Cor-XLVikings ! on Oct 28, 2010 | Reply

    I TOLD PERCY i would say this,,,, YOU ARE A MACHINE number 12 !!!! even Wes Craven fears you….Go Percy, Randy, A.P. Shank the tank, Brett, O-line !

  16. By TWVIKE on Oct 28, 2010 | Reply

    Great job Percy. By aquiring Moss the recievers have gotten better because Randy draws double coverage. If Sydney returns it will make it very hard for the opposition. Our problem is that Brett is getting the dog snot knocked out of him. Not many QBs can take that kind of punishment. You can have the best wide-outs, but that means nothing if your QB is on his back.

  17. By Vikings4Life on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    @ TWVIKE

    We have a good line…. Bret can’t always expect to have an hour to through look at most quarterbacks its One two three throw not One two three four. . . . ten eleven through…. We need to have timed routes and stuff. Look at the past teams that one Patriots have timed routs 3 secs then through to this spot….

  18. By gj on Oct 29, 2010 | Reply

    Find Harvin, and find sucess. Pretty simple.

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