Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Harvin wins rookie of the year honor

Posted by: under Vikings, NFC, NFL draft, Super Bowl, Brad Childress, Vikings offense, Adrian Peterson, Brad Childress, Percy Harvin Updated: January 6, 2010 - 8:27 AM

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.

Given his talent level, Harvin almost certainly would have gone long before the 22nd pick last April had he not had to deal with issues surrounding his character. The likely final straw for many teams was the fact Harvin reportedly tested positive for marijuana last February at the NFL Scouting Combine.
 
But the Vikings decided that Harvin was worth the gamble when coach Brad Childress made a last-minute trip to Florida to visit with him and his family. Harvin was picked after wide receivers such as Maryland’s Darrius Heyward-Bey (No. 7 to Oakland); Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree (No. 10 to San Francisco); and Missouri’s Jeremy Maclin (No. 19 to Philadelphia).
 
About the only thing that slowed Harvin this season were migraine headaches.
 
Harvin has been dealing with them since he was 10 years old and the Vikings were well aware of the issue when they drafted him. He ended up missing several practices this season because of the migraines and was especially impacted in December when he was forced to sit out a game against Cincinnati.
 
Harvin, though, visited the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., before the Vikings played at Carolina on Dec. 20 and he said things have been much better since. “We’ve got a solution to it now so hopefully I won’t have to deal with that no more and look forward to being healthy,” he said.
 
Harvin also played through a shoulder injury early in the season, demonstrating his toughness.
 
"That may be as big of factor as anything," Childress said. "His physical toughness as well as mental toughness particularly this time of year to fight on and then throw in the shoulder, throw in the migraines, throw in the fact he's a rookie. To be strong willed and strong minded. I have a lot of respect for his toughness and then probably the second thing I would mention is his competitiveness. He has A [level] competes where it's, 'I'm not going to back down whether it's Charles Woodson standing in the slot covering me.' He's extremely competitive. Like Brett [Favre] says, 'He's pretty good.'"
 
Others who received votes for the Associated Press award were Maclin, Denver running back Knowshon Moreno and Pittsburgh receiver Mike Wallace. Each got one.

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