Harvin getting up to speed

First-round draft pick Percy Harvin is trying to learn a variety of roles that complement his versatile skill set. That process continues today with the start of the full-team minicamp. See what Harvin had to say about last week's OTAs and how he is being used so far.

Percy Harvin showed in last week's organized team activities (OTAs) that there is no trouble with his speed, but getting him up to speed on the Vikings offense is the challenge over the next month.

"It's a different speed," Harvin said after three days of practices last week. "Learning different plays, different system. It's going fast, but at the same time the coaches and players are helping me out a lot. I'm coming along pretty well."

Harvin will take the next step today when the team's official minicamp commences. Instead of mostly younger players or those new to the Vikings this year, the full minicamp is expected to feature the vast majority of the players – some won't be healthy enough to participate – for the three-day, four-practice session.

Last week's practices were the start of Harvin's fundamental foundation.

"I study a lot so I don't mess up too much on the field. I was told at a young age: If you mess up, mess up going full speed. Anything I'm doing I'm going full speed," he said.

"That's one thing I think a rookie is afraid of is coming out to practice and not knowing what to do and getting called out. That's one thing I don't like. I like to know what I'm doing when I come out here. I know there are some things I can't catch on, but for the most part I'm going to know what I'm doing."

For Harvin, it might be a bit more complicated than most rookies because of his abilities and the way the Vikings plan to use him. It's unknown if he will be used much in the backfield, like he was at Florida, where he rushed for more than 1,900 yards and 19 touchdowns in three seasons. So far with the Vikings, he has at least been put in motion into the backfield.

On the receiving end, Harvin has been used in the slot and on the outside, and those skills were just as successful with the Gators over a three-year period, when he had more than 1,900 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns.

"I can't tell you where I'll end up. We're kind of doing a little bit of both. A little bit of plays running out of the backfield and some slot. They're just trying to get me used to all the positions and I guess toward the end we'll figure out what I'll play," he said.

"I'm just trying to come in and be a contributor, whether that's catching 100 passes or whatever it is, special teams. I just want to contribute to the team and be on the field and help any way I can."

His chance to immediately do that was delayed a week after the Vikings drafted him No. 21 overall. A strenuous predraft schedule that included more than a dozen visits and workouts for other NFL teams finally caught up with him on his way to Minnesota for the rookie minicamp.

He vomited multiple times at the Atlanta airport before he was supposed to catch a connecting flight and ended up in the hospital there for three days. After his release, he was told to take another two days off before he resumed his physical workouts.

Some people wondered if there might be more to the story because of his background (he tested positive for marijuana at the NFL Scouting Combine, Fox Sports reported, and had other behavioral issues in high school). Harvin said he didn't concern himself with other people's perceptions.

"I didn't worry about that. It hurt me that I couldn't be here. I was texting coach the whole time, ready to get out of the hospital. They kept keeping me over and over," he said. "I knew it was something that had to be dealt with. I never got down on myself or worried about what people were saying. I knew once I got here I would work as hard as I can."

That process will continue this weekend as Harvin searches for his place among the receiving corps and kick and punt returners.

"It feels great. There's no better experience than what I'm going through right now," he said. "I'm glad to get the Combine and all the stuff over with and finally lace it back up and get on the football field. It's a wonderful feeling."


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