Meyer gushes on Harvin's skills

Florida coach Urban Meyer chronicled the unique skill set that Percy Harvin brings to the Vikings during a conference call. Meyer also was impressed with the Vikings' level of research on the explosive player.

Vikings fans have been intrigued the last week over the potential that Percy Harvin brings to the table. While his natural gifts are self-evident, questions remain and, for fans who haven't had a chance to see Harvin play other than an occasional game or on highlight reels, who better to answer some of the burning questions than his head coach.

While the local media didn't have an opportunity to see Harvin in action on Friday because of his illness and subsequent hospitalization in Atlanta, Viking Update recently had a chance to take part in a conference call with University of Florida head coach Urban Meyer, who recruited Harvin and has coached him with the Gators the last three years. Meyer, who had extensive conversations with both Vikings head coach Brad Childress and director of player personnel Rick Spielman prior to the draft, said their wasn't much they took for granted during the due diligence process as Harvin is concerned.

"One of the things I thought about Coach Childress and Rick Spielman was how thorough they were as far as big shots in NFL franchises," Meyer said, adding that both made personal visits to Florida. "They could not have done a more thorough job. I think when you're talking the future of the franchise – the first-round pick – that's what you have to do."

Meyer said that the Vikings are getting a player who is committed to being the best player he can be and that extends beyond the field.

"He's an extremist as far as (being) a competitor," Meyer said. "He's a competitor in the weight room. He's a competitor at the offseason program. He's the type of kid if you played checkers with him, he's going to try to beat you as hard as he can and go as hard as he can. That's what you need out of a kid like him. He does not taking losing very well, which is a good thing."

Harvin was such a phenomenal game-breaking talent that Meyer said his offense changed its playbook to find ways to get Harvin in space and let him do what he does best.

"He was the first guy we've ever had that can do those things – motion as a receiver and run inside runs as well as perimeter runs," Meyer said. "I told Coach Childress, he's the best counter runner I've ever seen and when you run a counter play when you pull two people. That's not easy."

Meyer isn't shy about his admiration of Harvin's skills. He has coached many great athletes and coached against many more, but he believes Harvin is a unique talent that almost defies comparisons.

"I've never had (an explosive player) like that," Meyer said. "I don't believe we've ever coached against anyone like that. I've coached against some great players. I've coached some great players, but not a dual threat and a reckless runner like that. I've had our opponents say they've never faced anything like that. He's got the best first step I've ever seen. I keep hearing (comparisons to) Reggie Bush. I've never coached against Reggie Bush. I've watched some highlights of him. He's a phenomenal player, but (Harvin) is very unique."

Meyer said that as a potential way to maximize Harvin's potential, he considered moving him to running back last summer. He was convinced if he had, Harvin could have rushed for 2,000 yards and potentially have been drafted as a running back like Bush. Because the Vikings already have the game's best runner in Adrian Peterson, he believes the combination of those two will make game planning a lot of fun for the Vikings and cause for nightmares for defensive coordinators that play them.

"Our game-plan sessions would be a lot of fun with two players like that," Meyer said. "If you can put an offensive line together and be functional at receiver, with those two cats carrying the ball, those guys are going to be having a lot of fun in those staff meetings."


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  • Childress said the Vikings have about 52 players at their rookie minicamp. That number includes four of the five draft picks (minus Harvin), 14 undrafted free agents that signed contracts and more than 30 players trying out for the team without a contract. That includes about 18 players from the Minneapolis area, Childress said.

  • The rookie minicamp continues Saturday with two practices and a final practice on Sunday.

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