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Monday, March 8, 2010
Daily Mailbag: Harvin as a RB?

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

As the pace of free agency slows, we’ll get a chance to consider more closely the costs and repercussions of recent activity. Tim of Stoughton, Wis., gets credit for a question many of asked after tailback Chester Taylor jumped from Minnesota to Chicago:

Percy Harvin
Giving Percy Harvin more carries could actually reduce his overall effectiveness.
Would the Vikings ever consider Percy Harvin as [Adrian] Peterson’s backup? RB is his natural position and he would get more touches per game.

My short answer: ARGGGHHHHHHHH.

OK, I’ll try again: Thank you, Tim, for your thoughtful and well-received suggestion. I respectfully posit that it might not represent the best use of Harvin’s skills.

I understand where Tim and others are coming from. Harvin is electric in the open field, he was a game-breaker from the backfield in college and there is no easier way to get him the ball than to thrust it into his stomach.

But to me, making Harvin a more-than-occasional running back would reduce his overall impact. Every play that starts with him in the backfield is one less play where he is pressuring defenses downfield or at least taking attention away from somewhere else.

Even making Harvin the third-down back is problematic. I wouldn’t want him picking up a blitz; I would want him catching a conversion pass against the blitz.

No one is quite sure yet how the Vikings will replace Taylor. We’ve discussed free agents Brian Westbrook and LaDainian Tomlinson. There are some who believe former Iowa running back Albert Young, who has spent two years in development, could get a shot at the role. But let’s just say it’s my opinion that Harvin shouldn’t be one of the possibilities.