Pete Carroll has been enamored with Percy Harvin for years.
When Harvin was coming out of Landstown High School in Virginia Beach, Va., he was “arguably the best player in America,” Carroll said last season. Carroll had recruited Harvin while coaching at USC, but he opted for Florida.
|Percy Harvin: The Newest Seahawk|
Name: William Percival Harvin III
Age: 24 (born May, 28, 1988)
Height/weight: 5-11, 184
High School: Landstown in Virginia Beach, Va.
How entered NFL: First-round draft choice by the Vikings in 2009
Prior to the Seahawks’ game against the Minnesota Vikings at CenturyLink Field in November, Carroll offered, “He’s a fantastic player. He’s so good you just have to showcase him.”
Now, the Seahawks’ coach can finally call Harvin a member of his team.
The Seahawks acquired Harvin on Tuesday, the start of NFL free agency, in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings. They gave up a lot to get a lot, as Harvin is one of the most versatile and productive players in the league. To acquire Harvin, the Seahawks gave the Vikings their first-round pick and one of their three seventh-rounders in next month’s NFL Draft, as well as a third-round pick next year. Harvin also was signed to a multiyear contract.
And no one knows this any better than Darrell Bevell, the Seahawks’ offensive coordinator the past two seasons after spending the previous five seasons with the Vikings. But Harvin’s new teammates also were excited about his arrival.
“He’ll make a huge impact. He’s a dynamic playmaker,” All-Pro cornerback
Harvin, who will be 25 in May, is one of those players who make the players around him better. And the Seahawks already have some talented skill-position players – starting with All-Pro running back
“We have a great offense already with Russell, Marshawn, Sidney, Golden, Doug (Baldwin), Zach and he’ll just add a different element with the zone-read and the read option and how everything has been evolving,” Sherman said. “He’ll just add another resource and another playmaker.”
The 5-foot-11, 184-pound Harvin made an impact with the Vikings as a receiver (280 receptions for 3,302 yards and 20 touchdowns in four seasons), kickoff returner (27.9-yard average on 114 returns and five touchdowns) and even runner (682 yards and four touchdowns). And with Harvin, it wasn’t so much that he ran the ball but when he ran it – 36 of his 107 carries produced first downs.
“He’s a running back at times in their system,” Carroll said when Harvin was still a Viking. “They know that he’s a great athlete, a great player and can produce. They figure out ways to get him the football.”
That definitely was the case last season. Before a high ankle sprain sidelined him for the final six games, Harvin already had caught 62 passes and was averaging 35.9 yards on kickoff returns. Entering that Week 9 game against the Seahawks, Harvin had 60 receptions to share the league lead and was second in receiving yards (667) as well as kickoff return average (35.9); fourth in first downs (41); seventh in third-down receptions (15); and ninth in total yards (739).
But then Harvin has been flaunting his game that is as diverse as it is productive since the Vikings made him the 22nd selection in the 2009 NFL Draft. He was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year after catching 60 passes for 790 yards and six touchdowns; averaged 9.0 yards on 15 carries; and producing 1,156 yards and two TDs on 42 kickoff returns.
Harvin upped his reception total to 71 in 2010 and then had a career-high 87 in 2011; had 345 rushing yards and two rushing TDs in 2011; and scored on kickoff returns of 95 yards in 2010, 104 yards in 2011 and 105 yards last season.
Even the blanket “do it all” tag might not cover everything Harvin is capable of doing in any given game, on any given touch. Discussing Harvin’s diverse talents is like listening to one of those late-night TV commercials. You keep expecting to hear, “Now how much would you pay?”
Imagine Harvin as the slot receiver in a three-receiver set with Rice and Tate. Imagine Wilson in the shotgun formation with Lynch on one side and Harvin on the other, providing one more nightmarish wrinkle to the zone-read that was so productive for the Seahawks in limited use last season. Imagine Harvin lining up in any number of spots in any number of formations. Imagine Harvin being used as a kickoff returner.
The Seahawks coaches have, because they’ve seen Harvin do so many things during his stay in Minnesota.
As Vikings general manager Rick Spielman put it at the NFL Scouting Combine last month, “I think everybody understands what type of player Percy Harvin is. He’s a dynamic playmaker, not only on offense but at different positions because of what he also brings as a kickoff returner.”
And Harvin is bringing all that to the Seahawks.