Harvin talks receiver acquisitions

Percy Harvin could use a top-notch running mate in the receiver corps, but are the Vikings more likely to go after a rookie like Justin Blackmon in the draft or one of many available free agents? Harvin gave his take on what type of receivers would fit.

The combination of Justin Blackmon's Fiesta Bowl performance Monday night and the desperation of Vikings fans for a big-bodied outside receiving threat leads to the thinking that Blackmon would make for an intriguing selection with the Vikings' third overall draft pick.

Blackmon, a junior from Oklahoma State, declared his intention to enter April's NFL draft after the Fiesta Bowl.

The Vikings' best receiver, Percy Harvin, also might benefit from having a bigger threat on the outside, and Blackmon, listed at 6-1, 215 pounds seems to fit that bill. But don't count Harvin among those insisting that an influx of receiver talent has to include a deep threat.

"This offense is not particularly built for that 6-5 guy that can stretch the field. You can look to Atlanta and it's identical to our offense," Harvin said. "You don't see (big receivers) catching too many balls. It's (tight end Tony) Gonzalez catching 10-yard passes off of option routes. It's (Roddy) White catching 100 balls a year off the same routes. It's not too many flat-out deep balls. I don't think this offense is tailored for that deep pass, although we've been able to draw some up this year. We'll see what direction and how much coach adds to the playbook."

Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave's scheme is patterned after his most recent experience with the Atlanta Falcons, but in 2011 the Falcons traded up in the first round to draft receiver Julio Jones and the move paid off. Jones, 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, bucked the rookie receiver trend and had a very productive initial season, catching 54 passes for 959 yards and a healthy 17.8 yards per catch.

White is listed at 6 feet even and 211 pounds and had 100 catches for 1,296 yards, a solid 13-yard average, for the Falcons in 2011.

Despite Harvin's contention that a "6-5 guy that can stretch the field" isn't needed in the Vikings offense, the front office made a strong effort to re-sign free-agent receiver Sidney Rice last year after the lockout ended. Rice (6-4, 202 pounds) eventually signed with the Seattle Seahawks when the Vikings balked at the $18.5 million guarantee he was offered. As it turned out, injuries once again played a dominating theme in Rice's season, as he played in only nine games, had 32 catches and two touchdowns in his initial season with the Seahawks.

Blackmon isn't considered a blazing deep threat – he is more physical than fast – but he does enough with his strength, extension and body control to create separation. During the 2011 regular season, he caught 113 passes for 1,337 yards and 15 touchdowns, and he only solidified his place as the top receiver in the draft with eight catches, 186 yards and three touchdowns in Monday's Fiesta Bowl.

As for Harvin, he says he will be fine with whomever the Vikings bring in, but he did caution that the offense can be a challenge to learn.

"I'm for whoever the staff feels can come in here and play. It's tough to learn the offense, but people have done it numerous times, so that's not to say a wide receiver can't come in and with OTAs pick up on the offense," Harvin said.

The list of potential free-agent receivers is an impressive one – Vincent Jackson, Dwayne Bowe, Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker, DeSean Jackson, Marques Colston, Reggie Wayne, Steve Johnson and Pierre Garcon, to name some of the best.

With a full offseason of preparation and immersion into Musgrave's offense, Harvin expects the production to "make major leaps next year."

Whether that includes the addition of a first-round wide receiver remains to be seen.


Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.



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\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":"The combination of Justin Blackmon's Fiesta Bowl performance Monday night and the desperation of Vikings fans for a big-bodied outside receiving threat leads to the thinking that Blackmon would make for an intriguing selection with the Vikings' third overall draft pick. Blackmon, a junior from Oklahoma State, declared his intention to enter April's NFL draft after the Fiesta Bowl. The Vikings' best receiver, Percy Harvin, also might benefit from having a bigger threat on the outside, and Blackmon, listed at 6-1, 215 pounds seems to fit that bill. But don't count Harvin among those insisting that an influx of receiver talent has to include a deep threat. \"This offense is not particularly built for that 6-5 guy that can stretch the field. You can look to Atlanta and it's identical to our offense,\" Harvin said. \"You don't see (big receivers) catching too many balls. It's (tight end Tony) Gonzalez catching 10-yard passes off of option routes. It's (Roddy) White catching 100 balls a year off the same routes. It's not too many flat-out deep balls. I don't think this offense is tailored for that deep pass, although we've been able to draw some up this year. We'll see what direction and how much coach adds to the playbook.\" Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave's scheme is patterned after his most recent experience with the Atlanta Falcons, but in 2011 the Falcons traded up in the first round to draft receiver Julio Jones and the move paid off. Jones, 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, bucked the rookie receiver trend and had a very productive initial season, catching 54 passes for 959 yards and a healthy 17.8 yards per catch. White is listed at 6 feet even and 211 pounds and had 100 catches for 1,296 yards, a solid 13-yard average, for the Falcons in 2011. Despite Harvin's contention that a \"6-5 guy that can stretch the field\" isn't needed in the Vikings offense, the front office made a strong effort to re-sign free-agent receiver Sidney Rice last year after the lockout ended. Rice (6-4, 202 pounds) eventually signed with the Seattle Seahawks when the Vikings balked at the $18.5 million guarantee he was offered. As it turned out, injuries once again played a dominating theme in Rice's season, as he played in only nine games, had 32 catches and two touchdowns in his initial season with the Seahawks. Blackmon isn't considered a blazing deep threat – he is more physical than fast – but he does enough with his strength, extension and body control to create separation. During the 2011 regular season, he caught 113 passes for 1,337 yards and 15 touchdowns, and he only solidified his place as the top receiver in the draft with eight catches, 186 yards and three touchdowns in Monday's Fiesta Bowl. As for Harvin, he says he will be fine with whomever the Vikings bring in, but he did caution that the offense can be a challenge to learn. \"I'm for whoever the staff feels can come in here and play. It's tough to learn the offense, but people have done it numerous times, so that's not to say a wide receiver can't come in and with OTAs pick up on the offense,\" Harvin said. The list of potential free-agent receivers is an impressive one – Vincent Jackson, Dwayne Bowe, Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker, DeSean Jackson, Marques Colston, Reggie Wayne, Steve Johnson and Pierre Garcon, to name some of the best. With a full offseason of preparation and immersion into Musgrave's offense, Harvin expects the production to \"make major leaps next year.\" Whether that includes the addition of a first-round wide receiver remains to be seen. 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