Harvin: 'Minnesota is where I wanted to be'

A lot of athletes who are speculated to be a top-10 draft pick would have been upset to fall out of the top 20. But, after falling to the Vikings at No. 22, wide receiver Percy Harvin said he felt it was a blessing that he ended up in Minnesota.

Typically most draftees claim that they are happy with the team that selects them in the draft, but Percy Harvin – projected by many to be gone well before the Vikings made their selection at No. 22 – sounded downright ecstatic.

Several teams were interested in Harvin, including the Raiders and Jaguars at pick Nos. 7 and 8, the Jets, who moved up to the fifth pick to take QB Mark Sanchez, and the Patriots, who were rumored to be attempting to move in front of the Vikings with Harvin in mind.

But in his mind, Harvin knew where he wanted to land – with the Vikings.

"The whole time I was just looking at my agent (Joel Segal) like, come on, get to No. 22," Harvin said. "I just had so much faith that me and coach got along through the whole process and got a really good feel for each other. The whole time I wasn't worried about whether I was going in the top 10. I was just like, let's hurry up and get to this No. 22 pick because I knew the opportunity I would get."

Unlike most of his other potential NFL suitors, the Vikings had a rare commodity – not requiring the rookie to be a No. 1 receiver. Had he landed with a team like the Raiders, Jaguars or Jets, he would likely have been asked to be the centerpiece of the passing game very early on. With the Vikings, who have Bernard Berrian, Adrian Peterson, Sidney Rice, Bobby Wade and Visanthe Shiancoe as established weapons, Harvin won't be the center of attention for defensive coordinators, which makes him all the more dangerous.

"It's a great fit," Harvin said. "We (myself and Segal) just kind of (went) through the teams that we wanted to go to and Minnesota was kind of No. 1 on our list, just being a team I could grow from. Being under Bernard Berrian and being that they already got the workhorse in Adrian Peterson. I'm just looking to come into a puzzle and help us win. I'm just looking forward to being a Viking and helping the team win."

Harvin said one of the primary selling points was a visit earlier this week from head coach Brad Childress. To the dismay of the reporters asking him questions, he described Childress as an outgoing laugh riot, which most of those who have covered the Vikings since Childress' arrival haven't seen.

"It was tremendous," Harvin said of the visit. "We didn't specifically talk about any subject. Anything that went on, we just kind of talked about it. It was kind of like we was like buddies, just doing a lot of things. We went out to eat. We didn't specifically talk about anything like football or anything like that. For the most part, it was just hanging out and getting to know each other. It was a great, tremendous visit. Even after that, we texted each other. Everything went very good.

"The visit we had here, it wasn't a sit-down let's just talk football," Harvin added. "We just kind of shared some stories, some funny stories. We laughed, we giggled. We played around. I had a lot of faith that if the No. 22 pick was over, I was going to land the whole time. It came true and it was really just a good blessing to me.

Giggled? Childress? When asked about that, the coach, back in his more familiar demeanor, simply said, "Preposterous." Normalcy has returned. However, both men came away from their meeting with a mutual respect and Harvin said he wasn't intimidated or nervous about meeting his new head coach and being grilled with a lot of personal questions.

"I'm a person who's willing to put everything out there," Harvin said. "A lot of the things that were in question, I knew the whole time, deep down I'm a genuine person and a good-hearted person. I did get into some things that I feel. I never had a problem with any of the coaches coming down because I feel, at the end of the day, all I could do is be me. Me and (Childress), we got along very good. My parents loved him. We loved him. It was a great experience for both of us."

Although he made the visit sound extraordinarily cordial, Harvin knew that the reason for Childress' visit was to get answers to the character questions that have followed him during his college career, including testing positive for marijuana at the Combine. Harvin said he didn't have a problem being honest about his off-field issues.

"I've always been good with getting things out in the open," Harvin said. "I knew the question that had to be answered so I had no problem with answering it. With these coaches, I opened up to them, they opened up to me. When we got to those subjects, the only thing I could do was tell them the truth, be up front and let them judge me from there. We had a great respect for each other and obviously them picking me showed that they believed in me. I've got their back and they've got mine. I'm just looking forward to coming there to the Vikings."

While Harvin lost out on millions of dollars being taken with the 22nd pick as opposed to being in the top 10, he said he wasn't disappointed about his slide down to the Vikings. When asked if he was upset that he stayed on the board so long, he said he landed where he wanted to be.

"Not at all," Harvin said. "I'm privileged. This is a blessing. I'm in a situation not many people get to be in so I wasn't worried. When all is said and done, I'm where I need to be. I'm playing with the great Adrian Peterson. I'm just going to be another piece to the puzzle. I'm where I need to be."

Harvin knows that he will be viewed with a critical eye because of his off-field issues, but said one of the reasons he wanted to come to the Vikings was because of the Childress visit with Harvin and his family. He appreciated the effort shown and said he is not going to be the risky pick so many have claimed he will be.

"People have their own opinions," Harvin said of those who felt he was a risky pick in the first round. "That's why I have so much respect for Minnesota because they took the time out to send the head coach down here. They sent scouts down here. They really took time to dig in and see the real Percy Harvin. Through all that, they determined this thing (failed drug test) and all the high school stuff was just growing up. It was a mistake and I grew from it. I'm just looking forward to playing football."

While it's clear the Vikings will try to use Harvin in many of the same ways he was used in college, he said his success won't be measured by how many times he touches the ball. He knows he is just one piece in the puzzle and simply wants to make the most of the opportunities he receives.

"I don't have a number," Harvin said when asked how many touches a game he would like to get. "It's an honor just to be there. I'm not looking forward to how many touches I can get or all that. I know they primarily have Adrian Peterson there. I'm there just to contribute. However I can or wherever I do. If I touch it one time, two times, I'll make the most of it. If I get it once or twice, that will be once or twice where I try to make the fans stand up and cheer."


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