So what do you do when you’re best offensive player is also your best kickoff returner? It’s a question the Vikings have faced previously and will face again with respect to WR Percy Harvin, the team’s most dynamic offensive weapon as well as one of the best kickoff returners in the NFL.
It’s not a bad problem to have, but it’s one that still requires a solution. Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier was asked about the issue after his team’s training camp practice on Saturday. and summed it up pretty well.
“He’s such a threat as a returner, but at the same time he’s one of our most valuable players on offense,” Frazier commented. “We have to balance that, and he’s one of those guys that goes so hard that you don’t want to jeopardize what he can give you in totality.”
The good news is Frazier has good perspective on the matter. He’s a defensive-minded head coach, so he won’t have an innate bias whenever a decision has to be made, which will surely be on a weekly basis. Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave certainly has an expectation that Harvin will be available for offensive duties, and you can’t blame Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer for lobbying Frazier to have Harvin on the return team – Harvin was a Pro Bowl returner in 2009, after all.
“As far as I’m concerned, Percy is our number one kickoff returner,” Priefer said on Saturday. “We have several other returners on the roster and we’re going to work as many guys as we can in training camp and in preseason games. Come Week One, if he (Harvin) is ready to roll, we’re ready to have him back there, absolutely.”
Other players who took turns returning kickoffs in Saturday’s practice included DB Reggie Jones, CB Marcus Sherels, WR Kerry Taylor, RB Jordan Todman, WR Bryan Walters and WR Jarius Wright. Will the Vikings try to develop a regular starter among that group? Or will Harvin remain the primary returner? It sounds like Frazier and his staff have a pretty good idea, and that the situation will remain somewhat fluid.
“Yea we have an idea of how we want to use him,” Frazier said. “It’ll be one of those things where we’ll always be conscious of how much we’re going to be using him on offense and what we need from him on kickoff return. We do have a plan, but we’ll see how things go from game to game.”
Tags: Leslie Frazier, Mike Priefer, Percy Harvin
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