NFL Draft 2013OpinionSpeculation

Draft Target: Tavon Austin

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The Vikings are about as needy at the receiver position as any team in the NFL.  That is why, at least on the surface, it might seem odd that they are very rarely being linked to one of this Draft class’s most dynamic pass catchers Tavon Austin.

The biggest reasons Austin is being overlooked by Vikings observers is his small frame that is likely going to prevent him from ever being a true #1 wide out in the NFL.  At 5′ 8″ and 174 pounds, Austin is built for the slot and flanker position, which the Vikings already have nailed down Percy Harvin and Jarius Wright.

Austin, along with quarterback Geno Smith and receiver Stedman Bailey, put on quite the show during his time at West Virginia.  In 2012, his senior season, Austin had the best season of his career.  He had 114 catches for 1,289 yards with 12 touchdowns, while also gaining 643 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.

I am not big on using “player comparisons” as a way of evaluating rookie prospects, as it sometimes creates a false sense of expectation, but it is hard not to describe Austin’s skill set without pointing to Harvin’s production since entering the league.  He is incredibly fast, agile, and quick.  He turns on a dime and plays bigger than he is when contact is made, and seldom seems to miss an opportunity to make a play.  Like Harvin, he is plenty capable of playing as a scat back and return man, with the versatility to move all around the field and keep defenses on their toes.

At the same time, Austin will be knocked for the same things Harvin was dinged on coming out of Florida (minus the character worries, though) such as his small size and durability concerns.  Other than that, however, there is very little to worry about when evaluating him.

I will admit that the Vikings aren’t the most likely landing spot for Austin, even though #23 seems about right for him to come off the board, but the guy has such incredible talent that I would be surprised if there was an NFL team that has completely dismissed the idea of drafting him at some point.  On one hand it might seem like there is no spot for him on the Vikings, but on the other hand it is hard to watch his tape and not find yourself assuming he would be a playmaker in any offense.

Where things could get really interesting is if the Vikings do end up swinging a pre-Draft trade that ships Harvin out of town, like some have speculated will happen, because drafting a guy like Austin would suddenly make a whole lot more sense.  After all, he is an awful lot like Harvin, except without the headaches… or the migraines.


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Adam Warwas

Adam Warwas (Founder) has been writing about the Vikings for a total of eight years. Five of those years have been here at Vikings Territory where he continues to surround himself with enough talented individuals that people keep coming back. As proud as he is of what Vikings Territory has become, his real treasures are in his home... a beautiful wife and three amazing children (and a dog named Percy).

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  1. If Minnesota could get a 1st rounder for Percy than drafting Austin would make since. But only concern is Austin doesn’t share Harvin’s physical style of play. Speed + Power = the unique player named Percy Harvin. I only see the speed half with Tavon.

  2. Pass on this dude.

    We need a few big, strong, durable wide receivers for Ponder to develop with over the coming years. These little “scat backs” are fun to watch but their long term value in professional football is limited. We need wide receivers who have the threat of moving the defensive backs off the line of scrimmage so Adrian has room to run. This dude certainly isn’t Percy.

  3. 2nd the pass on,
    Percy has 10 pounds on him and gets banged up, Tavon will have the same problem.
    I’m not saying the kid doesn’t have talent, Because he does But Percy has Proven he does in this league…
    I’m with Freds on a Big, Strong, Durable WR.
    If we got a # one in F.A. ( They won’t pony up the money)
    Might steer me that way a little…
    Still in all, The DT ,LB, positions need to be addressed, Plus some blue chip player could slide down to us, Wouldn’t pick him…

  4. I think Tavon Austin is very durable for a little guy. 72 rushing attempts and 114 reception this year is a heavy work load not to mention all the kick and punt returns. Austin has handled a heavy load for 2 years without a problem. I think he is well built for a little guy… And he seems to know how to protect his body from big hit and nagging injuries. Austin might be more durable than Harvin?

    I think Austin will be successful in the NFL. If I had to put money on who would win rookie of the year… Austin might be the guy in this draft class to do it.

    Is he a good fit for Minnesota… Right now I would have to say no.

    If we trade Harvin and land a couple high picks, I might change my mind. Austin is a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball. Austin is not used much as a down field or deep route runner… he is outstanding at creating yards after a short pass.

    My first reaction to Tavon is to say he is not a good fit in Minnesota. However, Musgrave doesn’t take too many shots down field so maybe Austin would fit?? A quick guy like Austin who can get open on a quick slant on 3 and 5 might be the ticket?

    I think I would rather have K Allen, D Hopkins, Q Patton or Justin Hunter… AND try to resign Harvin..

    Sorry Tavon Austin, I think you will be a hit in the NFL… But I got my eye on other WRs

    1. huge difference in the nfl, being durable in college won’t necessarily transfer over. hope we keep harvin, too, but we have a back up for him in wright, and we do need a big no. one WR