One of the more interesting sights at Friday's minicamp was the arrival of a larger Percy Harvin. The 2009 Offensive Rookie of the Year hasn't been a fixture at Winter Park. Friday was his first visit to the team's training facility since the end of the 2009 season and he said the time off has been good for him.
"It feels good," Harvin said of his conditioning. "I had a nice vacation in the sunny weather, so I feel good. It's good to see my teammates again out here and shake some of the cobwebs off."
Harvin wasn't exactly a fixture at the minicamps as a rookie, either, missing time because of bouts with migraine headaches. He said he comes to the Vikings for the weekend minicamp in shape and ready to go. But, he said he has no intention of changing his mindset from his rookie season, when he had something to prove to those who said he could be a problem child in the NFL. He said the second time around is much more comfortable for him, but he is trying to convince himself that he's starting over.
"It's easier, but I'm still taking the approach that I'm a rookie," Harvin said. "I know if I do that, I'll get better and better each day and not get complacent. I'm coming out here like I have something to prove just like everybody else."
The most noticeable difference in Harvin is his size. He weighs 205 pounds – what he said was 10-12 pounds more than his playing weight in 2009. He said that was one of the reasons he stayed in Florida and worked out with the strength and conditioning coaches for the Gators football team. He worked on adding some bulk strength and said he's feeling good about where he's at physically.
"I've put on a few pounds," Harvin said. "I went back to Florida and worked out with them. I just went through the whole process again on my own. I feel a lot better. I got a lot of rest this time and it feels good to get back out there."
He said that he played a little underweight last year and that adding some extra bulk was an offseason goal, trying to get back where he felt the most at ease.
"I played my last year in Florida at about 200," Harvin said. "I lost some weight before I got here (last) year. This is the weight I want to play at – about 200. I'll lose a couple of pounds here and there in training camp and hopefully be at 200 pounds and maintain that throughout the season."
He said it wasn't anything personal that kept him away from the offseason workout program, but more of a comfort zone with the staff that he worked with the previous three years at Florida. He said the grind of the 2009 season took a lot out of him and that being in familiar surroundings helped.
"I just took some time off," Harvin said. "I was comfortable with the people at Florida and the preparation they (did) to get me here. I figured I'd stay home with people I'm familiar with and do it that way. (The coaches and I) were in contact the whole time. They were comfortable with it…as long as I got here ready to work. I came here and I am."
He said he expects to be in top shape when training camp begins. He related that last year was a strenuous offseason in preparation for the Combine, Pro Day and individual workouts and said, at this point in the year, he feels much stronger now than he did then.
"I feel way better," Harvin said. "I didn't have all the Combine stuff, so I'm feeling like I'm rested. I'm familiar with the playbook, so now I'm just coming out here and getting back used to running and used to all the reads."
The one persisting, nagging question that remains is the concern over the migraines that have affected him since childhood. He said the he believes progress is being made, but that it is still a work in progress and still suffers from bouts with the headaches that afflicted his mother into her 40s.
"It's still an ongoing process," Harvin said. "(The doctors) haven't completely got it, but they putting their heads together and hopefully they will come up with something to maintain them throughout the rest of my career."
Harvin, like the rest of his teammates, will be gone from the end of this weekend's minicamp until the start of training camp. His arrival this July will be trumpeted as loud as it was when he arrived as a rookie, but Harvin said he is not going to change the approach he took last year – coming in with a chip on his shoulder with something to prove.
"I'm taking the approach that I'm still at the bottom and trying to get to the top," Harvin said. "That's how I'm looking at it and I hope good things will come from it."
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Harvin bulks up, underdog mentality remains
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