<
>

The goods on Percy Harvin

4/23/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- So what is it about Florida receiver Percy Harvin? What makes him attractive enough that Minnesota would consider making him a first-round draft pick two months after he reportedly produced a positive drug test at the NFL scouting combine?

  Harvin
Harvin was an all-purpose star for the Gators last season, rushing for 659 yards (on only 70 carries) and catching 40 passes for another 644 yards. He accounted for 17 touchdowns and runs a 4.41 in the 40-yard dash.

You could make a compelling argument for Harvin making a big impact in the Vikings' short passing attack, turning quick throws into big gainers. Here's how Scouts Inc. evaluated his open-field ability:

"Shifts into another gear when he gets a seam and has rare breakaway speed. Makes crisp cuts in space and can make multiple defenders miss. Above-average balance and flashes ability to bounce off arm tackles but isn't a powerful runner that can bulldoze defensive backs in the open field. Can let the football get away from his frame when trying to make defenders miss in space."

Harvin is a bit on the short side at 5-foot-11, but he could play all over the field in the Vikings' offense -- forcing defenses to account for him when they are normally focused on tailback Adrian Peterson. And in the short term, the Vikings believe Harvin could help them as a kickoff and punt returner as well.

Here's what Scott Studwell, the Vikings director of college scouting, said Thursday on the latter issue:

"His ball skills are exceptional. There may be an adjustment period as far as judging punts moreso than kickoffs. But there is a little projection there, from the standpoint of has he done it. No, he hasn't done it. Do we think he has the ability to do it? Yes. Just because he's a tremendous athlete. But you could say the same for a lot of these players that don't do it, but you project they have the skill set to do it and we think he's one of them."

The other side of the story: Harvin not only reportedly failed a drug test, but his résumé is tainted by numerous character questions. Part of it could be immaturity; Harvin doesn't turn 21 until next month. But check out this review from Scouts Inc.:

"Extremely competitive when motivated, but there are major concerns regarding his ability to consistently self-motivate and his overall character in general. According to multiple NFL scouts... there are concerns regarding his 'trust issues,' 'lack of leadership qualities' and that he lives in 'Percy-World'."

(For the record, I'd love to have one dateline from Percy World. Just to see what it's like.)

Even Florida coach Urban Meyer recognizes that Harvin will need some maintenance on the NFL level.

Meyer: "He's got to be in the right place. ... I think he'll be a great NFL football player. I just hope he goes to a good team with good coaches."

If nothing else, this story will be a fun sideshow as we wait a few hours Saturday afternoon to find out what happens at No. 22.