The Vikings figure to be doing their final draft evaluations on a number of wide receivers in their early 20s in hopes of the likely intersection of opportunity and need leading to an upgrade at that position during the NFL draft Thursday-Saturday. We talked about that at length on the most recent Access Vikings draft preview podcast.
But another receiver a decade older than those prospects has also tossed his helmet back into the ring.
Former Vikings standout Percy Harvin told ESPN that he is “ready to return to the NFL” and has “that itch” to return to a league in which he hasn’t played since 2016.
He says he’s been training with a former Olympian. A video of Harvin sprinting accompanied a tweet by ESPN’s Josina Anderson announcing the Harvin news. He does look quite fit, though the comments on the sprint — which is shown in slow-motion — amusingly note that he looks slow because of the camera speed.
I’m not sure if this should make you feel old or young, but Harvin is ONLY 31. He was a huge part of the Vikings’ success in 2009 as a rookie. In 2012, he was a legit MVP candidate for the first half of the season before injuries and dissatisfaction with the Vikings ultimately led to him being traded in March 2013.
(That was the first time Vikings GM Rick Spielman said he wasn’t going to trade a receiver, only to do it shortly thereafter. The same thing happened last month with Stefon Diggs).
His post-Vikings career was, to put it bluntly, a mess. He played four seasons for three teams, amassing just 724 yards receiving before leaving the league in 2016 after playing with Buffalo. In an interview last year with Bleacher Report, Harvin said he was high during every game he played in his NFL career.
But Harvin is pitching a chance at redemption.
“My body is feeling good,” Harvin said, per ESPN. “Mentally I’m better. My family is good. The timing is right.”
Those first three points could be true and I hope they are. But that last part is questionable. When healthy and engaged, Harvin was a breathtaking player. But he’s also eight years removed from his last productive season and will be competing against both established NFL receivers and a highly touted draft class for a shot on a roster during a time when NFL teams are idled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Still, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Harvin get some sort of chance. Harvin is one of the three most electrifying Vikings offensive players of the last 25 years, with Randy Moss and Adrian Peterson being the others.
With players like that, you never say never.