As Percy Harvin tumbled in the first round of the NFL draft last April because of character and injury concerns, many wondered which team would be willing to take a chance on the talented wide receiver from Florida.
The Vikings turned out to be that team, grabbing Harvin with the 22nd pick. So far, it looks to be a wise move.
That was made clear again on Wednesday morning when Harvin was named the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year in balloting by a nationwide panel of 50 sportswriters and broadcasters who cover the league. Harvin received 41 votes to easily win the award. Baltimore Ravens tackle Michael Oher was second with six votes.
Harvin becomes the sixth Vikings player to capture the honor, joining Adrian Peterson (2007), Randy Moss (1998), Sammy White (1976), Chuck Foreman (1973) and Paul Flatley (1963).
This comes two days after Harvin was selected as a late-addition to the NFC Pro Bowl roster as a return man. (Chip Scoggins wrote a story on Harvin that appeared in Wednesday's Star Tribune.)
"I'm excited for Percy," Vikings coach Brad Childress said. "He's worked hard and learned how to be a good pro. He's had a lot of good teachers in the locker room but hats off to him. I know he'd be the first to say he appreciates all the hard work from his teammates to help him."
Harvin -- who returned to his home near Jacksonville, Fla., this week to enjoy a few days off before the Vikings resume practicing Sunday in preparation for their Jan. 17 divisional playoff game -- said Monday he had not given this award much thought. He did admit, however, that “it’s a great honor.”
“I’ve always said since the beginning of the year to win that award and not win the championship is a failure,” said Harvin, who caught seven passes for 59 yards in the Vikings’ 44-7 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday.
The multi-skilled Harvin finished the season second on the Vikings with 60 receptions for 790 yards and six touchdowns. He also finished fourth in the NFL in kickoff returns, averaging 27.5 yards on 42 returns with two touchdowns. Harvin's 60 catches tied the Colts' Austin Collie for most receptions by a rookie in the NFL this season and were the second most by a Vikings rookie, falling short of Randy Moss’ 69 in 1998.
Harvin played both receiver and running back in college and the Vikings took advantage of his skills out of the backfield by having him carry the ball 15 times for 135 yards. Harvin’s 2,081 combined yards broke the franchise mark established by running back Herschel Walker in 1990 (2,051 yards).
Harvin’s focus on winning the Super Bowl comes as no surprise considering that he helped the Gators win two Bowl Championship Series titles in his three seasons at Florida.