The Minnesota Vikings' star seems to be on the rise. After squeaking out a win via the power of Blair Walsh's right leg during their Week 1 match-up with Jacksonville Jaguars and losing in Week 2 to the Indianapolis Colts via the power of Adam Vinatieri's leg, the Vikings looked like they had been more lucky than good. Then, in the week leading up to their game with the San Francisco 49ers, something clicked for the team in both performance and spirit and they astounded the NFL by beating the 49ers with physical play and displaying mental toughness too. People weren't sure if the Vikings were for real or if they had just caught the 49ers napping. Then, they built on that success and they went into Detroit and beat the Lions. Sunday's drubbing of the struggling Tennessee Titans looks like a confirmation that the Vikings are becoming a team to beat.
The Vikings have had such success resurrecting the team's old franchise identity as a strong defensive team that runs the football well. Much of Christian Ponder's success this season has been in letting Adrian Peterson do what he does best and then taking the short and intermediate passes that opposing defenses give them. That's come under criticism for being boring, but I've always been under the impression that a boring win was better than an exciting loss. But, and here's something Minnesota fans have had a few seasons to appreciate, how could any offense, or special teams, that includes Percy Harvin be considered boring?
Seriously, have they not seen Harvin in action?
Percy Harvin has been a dynamic game-changer since the Vikings drafted him in 2009. Supposedly, he was one of the first of his teammates that Brett Favre met when he arrived at Winter Park and, as the story goes, Farve joked with Harvin, "Make me look good."
Not a problem.
With Harvin's combination of speed and absolute lack of concern for his bodily well-being, he has distinguished himself as a formidable slot receiver who won't shy away from contact. His receiving yards and total receptions have gone up each season he's been in Minnesota and, just five games into the 2012 season, he's on pace to continue that growth again. Playing a larger percentage of the Vikings offensive snaps this season, if Harvin stays healthy, he's primed for a monster year. With his impressive yards after the catch (according to Yahoo! Sports he's averaging 8.7 YAC this season), that would be enough to keep opposing defensive coordinators awake at night trying to come up with ways to stop him. But a large part of Harvin's ability is in his versatility.
Percy Harvin is a receiver, a very capable change-of-pace running back, and a kick returner so dangerous that you have to wonder at the intelligence of a kicker who would give him anything he could possibly return. In just the first five games of 2012, Harvin already has a receiving touchdown, a rushing touchdown, and a kick off return for a touchdown. He's the only Viking to have a receiving, rushing, and return touchdown in three consecutive seasons--and he's in only his fourth NFL season. The list of records and honors he's had is such that you have to wonder at the recent attention Harvin has gotten for being an all-around awesome football player. He was the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2009 and a Pro Bowler that year too, yet with the recent attention he's garnered you'd think he was new to the league.
Perhaps the most fun element to come out this season as Harvin continues to be the multi-dimensional threat he's been throughout his career, is the effusiveness from his teammates and coaches that borders on bromance. Adrian Peterson, the Vikings' resident cyborg and a guy who knows a bit about being exceptional, described Harvin as one of the best players he's ever played with. Defensive end Brian Robison said he was glad he didn't have to try to cover Harvin. Jared Allen described Harvin as being like "Top Gun" because of his ability to stop and let defenders sail past him. And, there's also the general rumbling amongst his teammates that Harvin should be a league MVP, an honor that Harvin said was "humbling."
Well, Percy Harvin can add another honor to his already substantial list. This week he was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for September. Yes, after all the September games were played and all the special teams play was examined, it was Harvin that was considered the best guy in the NFC from the whole month.
Are Vikings fans surprised? No, we are not. And if the Vikings weren't treated like a red-headed step-child in terms of NFL coverage by the rest of the media, nobody else would be surprised either.
I'd sort of thought about devoting a track in the season soundtrack, Redemption Songs, to Harvin, but I didn't want to open it up to a contest because I firmly believe that the song for Harvin absolutely has to be "Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5. And, when the Vikings play the Washington Redskins this coming Sunday, I'm hoping for a whole lot of Jagger-esque moves from Harvin.
Congratulations to Percy Harvin on being named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for September! Enjoy your gratuitous musical selection.