Former Florida Gators’ Star Percy Harvin Wins Super Bowl with Seattle Seahawks

Percy Harvin didn’t return kickoffs during his time with the Florida Gators. The do-everything weapon was reserved to doing almost everything but returning kicks. Then Harvin went to the NFL.

Percy Harvin, Seattle Seahawks

In four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, Harvin returned four kickoffs for touchdowns and twice led the league in kickoff return average. His 2012 average of 35.9 yards per return ranks third all-time; not in team history, in NFL history.

Traded to the Seattle Seahawks before the start of the 2013 season, big things were expected from the dynamic Harvin, but we would see him only touch the ball twice during the regular season. Of course, one of those touches was a 58-yard kickoff return. Even hobbled, Harvin is better than most at the football.

The playoffs came and Harvin was healthy once again, giving the Seahawks a threat barely seen during the regular season. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t return a kick during Seattle’s first game against the New Orleans Saints and would be held out of the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers due to a concussion.

Then came the Super Bowl and a ready-to-go playmaker. Harvin only caught one pass and ran the ball just twice, but oh that kick return. Up 22-0 over the Denver Broncos, the Seahawks hoped to put more points on the board during their first drive of the second half. They wouldn’t have to wait long as Harvin would go 87 yards for the score. It was the fifth touchdown return of his career and by far the biggest of them all.

My obsession with Percy Harvin is no secret. As much talent as there was on the 2006 and 2008 Gators’ national title teams, Harvin was over-the-top special. We may never see such a pure athlete in orange and blue again. There are other names I could mention here that contributed greatly to one or both of those teams, but when Harvin got the ball, you made sure you were watching. Something jaw-dropping was about to happen.

On Sunday night, the oft-injured star made his mark again, this time on football’s biggest stage. Plenty of former Florida players have won the Super Bowl, but last night was Harvin’s moment. Congrats Percy. Go Gators!

What Will Happen to Percy Harvin?

As Minnesota Vikings wide receiver/returner Percy Harvin enters his third year in the NFL, there is some uncertainty about the future of his role.  On offense, Harvin has lost his quarterback to retirement (we think).  On kickoff returns, he has lost a good percentage of his opportunities.

As Harvin became more of a focal point on offense and became more accustomed to the NFL, it was fairly obvious his contributions on kick returns would diminish.  Although he has been one of the better kick returners in the league over his first two seasons, Harvin’s future is on the offensive side of the ball and that’s where he’ll make his biggest impact.  The last thing the Vikings want is to see him go down for an extended period of time from an injury sustained on a kickoff.
The new rule the NFL has passed will also affect his ability to be as dynamic of a return man as he has been in the past.  Harvin and every great kick returner will have fewer chances in 2011 than they did in 2010 since they now have five less yards to work with.  Expect Harvin to be transitioned out of the role over time as it is a waste to have one of your offensive stars back there to field kickoffs if there’s not as much he can do with the ball in those situations anyway.
What we should see more of is the Harvin we saw at FloridaLeslie Frazier has already mentioned Harvin becoming a focal point of the offense.  The Vikings want Harvin to be able to flourish and use his abilities to exploit defenses and mismatches.  While his yards per carry went down (Harvin doesn’t carry the ball nearly as much as he did when he was a Gator), his catches and receiving yards went up in his second season in Minnesota despite playing one less game.  Harvin has clearly become someone that if healthy can put up 75 catches and over 1,000 yards consistently.  What he will need to do more of is get into the end zone.  Harvin has only scored on offense 12 total times in two seasons.  Not a bad number, but one he’ll need to increase as his opportunities to get the ball go up.
With the Vikings’ offense already anchored by Adrian Peterson, Harvin doesn’t have to worry about being the primary target for opposing defenses.  Stopping Minnesota’s run game is the first thing opponents look to do.  Harvin has the ability to make a dramatic difference in the passing game and especially on play action.  He hasn’t lost his field speed and still has the ability to separate himself from defenders.  What he needs most now is for the 2011 season to actually occur.  Harvin has lived up to expectations so far, but needs his third season to happen on schedule so he can continue his development as a star in the Vikings’ offense.  It’s not a make or break year as far as those go, but it is the one that could vault Harvin to the next level of the NFL pyramid.

Morning Reading: Vikings Confirm Percy Harvin’s Migraines

Browsing reader comments can be an enormous waste of time when it comes to the bigger sports sites.  At the same time, it can be extremely entertaining.

• The Minnesota Vikings have confirmed that Percy Harvin is indeed suffering from migraines and the team has no timetable on his return.  Harvin suffered from migraines throughout his career at Florida and during his first season with the Vikings.
No here’s the funny, reader comments part.  Reading the story in various places, I came across a number of comments that would make you laugh out loud.  On more than one occasion a certain sentiment came up.  That feeling was that Minnesota should seriously think about cutting their ties with Harvin because he is unreliable.  Basically the Vikings shouldn’t expect him to be able to play in anymore than half of their games each season.
Here is the grand total of games Harvin missed during his rookie season: 1.  So missing practice and a game these days has fans calling for the dismissal of a player.  It’s a harsh, harsh world we live in.
Harvin’s migraines are a serious issue and could be something he has to deal with for most of his career.  He could continue to miss practices and may even miss another game or two, but to suggest the Vikings would be better without him is more than humorous.  Of course, that’s the wonderful thing about the internet.  Anyone (me included) can voice their opinion regardless of how off it might be.
• I’d like to cash in my Darren McFadden chips please.  At least before their value drops any further.  The risk of injury and lack of production when actually healthy has me rethinking any investment in the former Arkansas star.
McFadden – trying desperately to earn more carries in 2010 and not be an afterthought to Michael Bush – is on the shelf again.  The Oakland Raiders running back injured his hamstring in practice over the weekend and will rest it until he feels he’s back to 100%.  Will there ever be a 100%?
Let’s take a look at McFadden’s career so far.  He was the first of five running backs selected in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft (McFadden – #4, Jonathan Stewart – #13, Felix Jones – #22, Rashard Mendenhall – #23, Chris Johnson – #24).  McFadden has less rushing yards and touchdowns and a lower yards per carry average than each one of the others despite playing in more games than Jones and Mendenhall.  In fact, McFadden has less rushing yards and touchdowns than any running back taken in the first three rounds that year.  The sole running back taken in the fourth round – Tashard Choice – has similar stats to McFadden, but you could argue Choice has been more valuable due to a much lower salary.  As I said, I’d like to cash in my McFadden chips.

Morning Reading: Percy Harvin Still Absent from Practice

Of course some players don’t need it as much as others.

Percy Harvin suffered a great personal loss last week when he grandmother passed away.  Since then, the Minnesota Vikings second-year wide receiver and kick returner has not been at practice.  While missing practice can cause a player to get behind the rest of the team, conditioning shouldn’t be an issue with Harvin who has proved to be quite the workout warrior over the years in the NFL and at Florida.
Harvin’s migraines though could be a concern.  Stress can be a trigger and if you’ve ever experienced a migraine or known someone who has, you know it’s not pretty.  It can shut you down completely.  Those that don’t know assume it’s just another headache.  Trust me, it’s not.
• The latest on Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing is that he works out too much.  In fact, he has what’s called overtrained athlete syndrome.  That syndrome is what contributed to him testing positive for HCG which led to his four-game suspension.  Allegedly.
Apparently overtrained athlete syndrome is a rare condition that can cause spikes in hormone levels and it caused Cushing to test positive for HCG.  Now that research has been conducted and supposedly determined that Cushing did not take a banned substance, the Texans are hoping to get his suspension reduced or even removed completely.
As someone who has been in the news before for similar issues, Cushing will always be looked at with a skeptical eye.  It’s just the way it goes.  This whole overtraining thing seems odd, but the NFL is reviewing the case, so it could become a viable “excuse” for positive tests in the future.
• The longer Darrelle Revis’ holdout goes on, the more likely it is that the New York Jets cornerback will sit out the entire 2010 season.  That seems like a long shot given that not many players ever sit out that long, but sources say Revis is standing firm.
His agents presented the Jets with a revised proposal on Friday, but the team has rejected it stating that it really didn’t change anything.  New York is prepared to offer Revis a long-term deal, but they aren’t close to reaching an agreement on exactly how much guaranteed money it should include.  Each day that passes makes it look more and more like one the league’s top players could not play in 2010.
It may be extremely rare, but if there’s also a lockout next season, Revis could go two full years without playing.  Think that’s good for his career?  He wants (and to a point deserves) more money, but he needs to get to camp.

Percy Harvin + The Wildcat Formation = Offensive Fireworks

Former Florida superstar Percy Harvin appears to be headed toward a familiar role. The Minnesota Vikings have been practicing the wildcat formation with Harvin taking direct snaps. If the thought of Harvin and all-world running back Adrian Peterson in the same offense makes you excited, think of what it’s doing to NFC North defensive coordinators. I will definitely be doing my best to catch every Vikings game during this upcoming season. It’s a shame they don’t play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers twice a season anymore. It would actually get me to go to a live NFL game more often than I do.

UPDATE: A little more on Harvin’s role.

Percy Harvin Released From Hospital

Don’t worry Florida fans (or should I say Minnesota Vikings fans). Percy Harvin is alright. Harvin gave everyone a little scare when he got sick during a layover in Atlanta airport. For those of you that have ever been through Atlanta airport, it’s pretty easy to see how this could happen. That place is chaos at its best. But Harvin is fine now. After being admitted to a hospital, Harvin was treated for dehydration and released. The entire incident was likely attributed to the rookie’s hectic travel schedule.

Florida’s Percy Harvin Selected #22 by the Minnesota Vikings

Florida star Percy Harvin didn’t drop as far as many thought as the Minnesota Vikings nabbed him with the 22nd pick in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Harvin gives Minnesota an added dimension on offense and with Adrian Peterson should create some excitement for a few years. More to come…