Chris Wesseling

Training Camp Lowdown

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Oh Mercy, Draft Percy

Monday, August 17, 2009



As the Minneapolis Star-Tribune put it: "It doesn't take a football genius to see that he is a special talent . . . He definitely created a buzz amongst players, team personnel and media members with his versatility and playmaking. The Vikings now have two dynamic playmakers in Adrian Peterson and Harvin."

The glowing reports out of minicamp weren't enough to generate overwhelming excitement in fantasy football circles, but Childress ramped it up a notch once training camp hit. Praising Harvin's "high football acumen," the Vikes head coach immediately placed the rookie on the first-team offense during install. Even better, he proclaimed that Harvin wouldn't be spoon-fed and that "the sky's the limit in terms of different ways to get the guy the ball." Asked how, specifically, Harvin would be involved, Childress evoked Brian Westbrook: "From the I-back, to the split-back, to the single-back, to the wing, to the mid-spot, to all the way out and everywhere in between, I think we can do some of those things with Percy . . . Whether you're handing it to him, or throwing it to him, or he's in the return game, you're going to find a way."

Now, it's important to point out that football coaches are an ultra-conservative lot, especially when it comes to rookies. Childress' quotes, however, are almost almost identical to quotes coming out of Titans camp last summer where Jeff Fisher and Mike Heimerdinger told anyone who would listen that Chris Johnson was going to be the offensive fulcrum immediately, if not sooner. The Vikings coaching staff is telling us what is going to happen this season. Are you listening? Harvin and Adrian Peterson are going to be the Vikings offense this season.

So if we know that Harvin will be heavily involved starting Week 1, just what kind of impact will he have? "Purple Haze" has been preparing for multiple roles in camp, specifically tailback, reverse/cut-back runner, slot receiver, deep threat, wildcat quarterback, punt returner, and kickoff returner. One teammate called him "the fastest guy I've seen on the field yet" while beat writers have reported unanimously that he "just keeps making highlight plays." Beyond the speed and athleticism, Harvin has shown encouraging signs that he has the know-how to beat press coverage, run precise routes, and set up cornerbacks.

In other words, he possesses the total package needed to take the league by storm early in the season. Granted, Harvin isn't a workhorse running back, and he's not yet a true No. 1 receiver. Instead, he's a multi-talented runner/receiver who is a threat to hit a homerun every time he touches the ball. If he touches it 10-12 times per game, look out! My projections for this season are very similar to the computer-simulated numbers generated by scout.com/FoxSports, in which Harvin combines 92 rushes and 38 receptions for 900+ yards and eight touchdowns. I've been advising Dynasty leaguers to consider him with the No. 2 overall selection in rookie drafts – and certainly no lower than No. 4 overall. In re-draft leagues, I've been able to grab him as a WR4/5, but I'm very confident that I'll be using him as my WR3 starting in Week 1. Even if you need to snatch him up before round eight, don't be afraid to pull the trigger.

Hop on board this year's hype train. Seats are filling up quickly.


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Chris Wesseling is a senior football editor and Dynasty league analyst for Rotoworld.com. The 2011 NFL season marks his fifth year with Rotoworld and his third year contributing to NBCSports.com. He can be found on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.
Email :Chris Wesseling



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