Former Viking Percy Harvin, at times the best player on the field in his prime, is retiring from the NFL, according to multiple reports Thursday.
Harvin, 27, spent four seasons in Minnesota after being selected 22nd overall in 2009 out of Florida. He often thrilled Vikings fans with his receiving, rushing and return ability. He had 29 touchdowns in those four Vikings seasons before being traded to Seattle in 2013. He played in just five games last year with Buffalo, his fourth team.
Harvin could be a game-breaker one week, and then out for a handful of weeks with a myriad of injuries. A favorite player one game, the most maddening player on the bench the next.
Harvin’s electric ability was on display most memorably on the NFL’s biggest stage in early 2014. Seattle was leading Denver 22-0 in Super Bowl XLVIII when the second-half kickoff bounced into the hands of Harvin. He blew past a swarm of Broncos for an 87-yard kickoff return touchdown and whatever comeback hopes Denver had were left in Harvin’s dust.
After two seasons in Seattle, Harvin landed with the Jets for a season and the Bills last season. He played in five games last season, eight for the Jets, and just six regular-season games in his two Seahawks seasons. Harvin has not played more than a half-season since his final year in Minnesota, 2012.
At Florida, he helped the Gators win two national championships (2006, 2008) but injury concerns helped contribute to his slide to the No. 22. pick.
The 2009 Offensive Rookie of the Year became the first Viking ever to score a touchdown in each of his first three games, as well as the second-youngest player to return a kickoff for a score in league history. He finished his rookie year averaging 9 yards per carry.
His most productive season was 2011, when he piled up almost 1,300 yards for scrimmage, led the Vikings with 87 catches, scored nine total touchdowns and played in all 16 games for the only time in his career.