Harvin shows up defenders while he looks oh so good

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 7, 2012 - 11:31 PM

Turning a bubble screen into a game-breaking touchdown, he also rushed for a 4-yard score.

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Percy Harvin caught a Christian Ponder pass and went 45 yards, helping to set up his own TD a few plays later in the first quarter.

Photo: Brian Peterson, Star Tribune

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Somehow, some way, Vikings receiver Percy Harvin managed to make six Tennessee defenders look bad while scoring two touchdowns that covered a grand total of 15 yards in Sunday's 30-7 rout of the Titans at Mall of America Field.

That's one missed tackle every 2 1/2 yards.

"That's not a surprise," receiver Michael Jenkins said. "That's just Percy being Percy."

Harvin made one defender miss and ran through two others on a 4-yard run between the tackles to put the Vikings on top 7-0 in the first quarter. Then he flipped that ratio later in the game, making two defenders miss and running through a third on a 10-yard reception off a bubble screen that every opposing defensive coordinator has seen dozens, if not hundreds, of times on tape the past two years.

"[Tennessee] did a good job of trying to take [the bubble screen] away," said quarterback Christian Ponder. "But he's Percy Harvin."

Indeed, he is. Harvin's second touchdown of the game and his second from scrimmage this season gave the Vikings a 23-0 lead late in the third quarter and earned him most of the fourth quarter off. A week after being held to 34 yards on six touches from scrimmage at Detroit, Harvin exploded with eight catches for 108 yards, including a 45-yarder to set up his first score, and two carries for 8 yards, including yet another unlikely between-the-tackles explosion for a guy who says he weighs 195 pounds but hits like someone much heavier.

At least that's what bigger defenders tend to tell him after they've finally caught and dragged him to the ground during games.

"A lot of times in the pile, guys will be saying to me, 'Man, I can't believe you're that strong,'" Harvin said. "Or, 'Man, slow down.' ... I am blessed with a lot of ability. That's my thing. Ever since I was younger, if I can get in open space, I feel like I can make things happen."

Harvin isn't the face of the franchise. But the face of the franchise might be one of Harvin's biggest fans, even if the little receiver keeps stealing red zone touches away from him.

"We need to keep getting the ball in his hands because he will make something happen," running back Adrian Peterson said. "He can do anything."

A week after his 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown set the record for longest play in team history, Harvin became the ninth Vikings player to catch a pass in 50 consecutive games. He has caught one in every game he has played.

With 256 career catches, Harvin needs 53 more catches over the final 11 games this season to surpass Randy Moss' team record for most catches through four seasons (308).

The way Harvin turns the simple bubble screen into a game-breaker, it seems safe to assume he will average 4.8 catches per game the rest of the season.

"It's crazy," Ponder said. "But it definitely makes my job easier. That's the bubble route that we've thrown a million times. Guys are always trying to take it away, but [Harvin] still does a great job of making it happen. ... He's one of the best players in the NFL right now."

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