Thursday, July 30, 2015

percy harvin

When discussing the possible reasons for Percy Harvin’s departure from Minnesota this offseason there is a grab bag full of options to choose from.  One speculative reason that kept coming up, and was fueled in part by Harvin’s unwillingness to deny it, was that he had no faith in Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder to take the Vikings to the next level.

This week, however, Harvin was asked directly about Ponder on Jim Rome’s radio show and he made sure to say all of the right things.

“That was false,” Harvin said of the speculation. “Me and Christian had a great time together. I respect him a whole heck of a lot.”

“I never had a problem with (Ponder),” he continued.  “I’ve never stated I had a problem with him. I’ve never seen a problem he has had with me. He has never said he’s had a problem with me.  (Ponder and Harvin were) on the same page, it’s just a lot of articles that tried to pick up on things that weren’t there.”

Harvin may have never publicly slammed Ponder, but he had many opportunities to endorse his quarterback since the end of the 2012 season, and never did.  There was also the March 11th article from Yahoo! Sports reporter Jason Cole that said Harvin had “bemoaned” that his quarterback was “not good enough.”  In the nearly three months since that article was posted, Harvin did not deny that those feelings existed, either.

In the end, Vikings fans are moving on from Harvin and are excited about the team’s three first round picks, and they have little choice than to go into 2013 hoping Ponder can up his game in a meaningful way.  Other than some added drama to Minnesota’s November 17th trip to seattle, Harvin’s thoughts on the matter are now irrelevant.

 

We continue to formally introduce you to our newest Vikings with our in-depth series.  If you missed the one on Sharrif Floyd then click here and you can click here for the article on Xavier Rhodes.

Up next is Tennessee wide out Cordarrelle Patterson who we identified as a possible Vikings target back in January.  Shortly after that article came about, Patterson began to skyrocket in terms of his perceived draft stock.  Despite growing concerns about his lack of experience, football intelligence, and general maturity, Patterson remained near the top of his class and was one of only three wide outs selected in the first round.

CORDARRELLE PATTERSON, WR, TENNESSEE

ATTRIBUTES

Height:                   6′ 2″

Weight:                  216 pounds

Arm Length:         31 3/4″

Hands:                   9″

COMBINE RESULTS

If Patterson’s game tape hadn’t caught the attention of NFL front offices, then his performance at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine should have done the trick.  Despite his size, Patterson was clocked as the sixth fastest wide out in the forty yard dash.  He also tied for the fifth highest vertical jump and the sixth longest broad jump.  As was expected to be the case, however, Patterson’s athleticism could not mask some inconsistencies in the positional drills.

Forty:                      4.42 seconds

Vertical Jump:      37″

Broad Jump:         128″

The Vikings were among the teams that met with Patterson at the Combine, and there are mixed reports about how well his interviews went, but we do know that he scored an “11” on the Wonderlic test which has led to the “dumb” label being applied often and heavily by anyone with access to the internet.  Patterson, however refuses to accept that label and has a simple answer for why we shouldn’t be concerned about it.

“You can’t judge anything on the Wonderlic,” Patterson said plainly. “That has nothing to do with football.”

Keyshawn Johnson also scored an 11 on the Wonderlic, prior to being the #1 overall pick of the 1996 NFL Draft, and he came to Patterson’s defense prior to the Draft.

“If somebody is using the Wonderlic to determine if a player can play football, then the scouting department needs to be checked,” Johnson said.  “…But I played 11 years, and was always accused of being one of the smartest players on the team.”

The NFL Draft has the same allure as a record Powerball jackpot.

Men (and some women) from around the globe converge onto the internet for about 11 and a half months to try an predict, analyze, and grade the next year of fresh prospects.  We follow their every move, chart their plays, scour police blotters, and argue about their potential all the way up until their names are called… and then some more.

I’m not going to say that analysts, bloggers, or fans know nothing about these prospects.  They know quite a bit, actually, and it really is impressive how much more the common man knows about Tyrann Mathieu’s pee than he knows about… oh, we’ll go with Darfur here in order to maintain my long and proud tradition of being completely cliche.

While we know quite a bit about these prospects, and know even more about the rosters that make up our favorite teams, the truth is that the ultimate reality show that is the NFL Draft process gets it’s appeal from the fact that it is almost completely, utterly, 100 percent unpredictable.  Outside of some obvious top three picks, the only thing that is predictable about the NFL Draft is that it will be unpredictable (see, cliche after cliche, I can’t help myself).

Now, I have been predicting all offseason long that the Vikings would aim to select Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o in the first round of this week’s Draft, and wavered on that prediction only momentarily between Percy Harvin’s departure from Minnesota and Greg Jennings’ arrival.

That is why I was shocked to see someone much older, much more experienced, and someone that is supposed to be much wiser than me make a bold and perhaps foolish statement.

As we prepare for the 2013 NFL Draft in these parts I came to the realization that the very first Draft I covered as a blogger, the 2009 Draft class, have all completed their rookie contracts, and I can now be held accountable for the grades I assigned the Vikings back in my first days of blogging at VikingsGab.com.

Every year we dismiss draft grades as useless opinions that couldn’t possibly be accurate prior to these guys even stepping on an NFL field.  With the career paths of the 2009 class now taking shape, however, I thought it’d be fun to go back and see just how useless my grades were exactly.  The entire post of my 2009 draft grades an analysis can be read right here.

WR Percy Harvin (First Round, Pick 22)

What I said then:

GRADE:  “C”          There is no denying that Harvin could become a premier player with his game changing abilities, but he also runs the risk of doing more damage than good if his character flaws come out again.  For now a “C” until he earns the respect of Minnesota fans.  The fact that he was chosen over offensive tackle Michael Oher is another reason why I didn’t give the Vikings a higher grade here.

What I say now:

The Vikings ended up getting an elite talent out of Harvin, but health and character issues did indeed taint his time in Minnesota, which ended up seeing him shipped to Seattle for three picks including the 25th overall selection this year.  Harvin was that year’s Offensive Rookie of the Year and made multiple Pro Bowls as a return man.  I was wrong about Michael Oher being the superior player here, but only one of those two guys is still with the team that drafted him.

Well, the first wave of free agency has come and gone, and there were some fireworks involving our favorite team.  Percy Harvin was traded, Antoine Winfield was released, Greg Jennings and Matt Cassel were signed, and a lot of Vikings were retained.  Now it is time to put a nice exclamation point on this first wave as we wade closer into the second, and else edge towards the Draft.

 

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