Percy Harvin plays wide receiver. But really, that’s just a name. Although he’s fully capable of doing awesome stuff while split out wide, there’s often very little that’s wide about his alignment. He’s pretty damn good at being a slot receiver, where his speed in open space is utilized on crossing routes.
But over the past two seasons — and also his final two seasons in Minnesota — he was aligned in a position where both the words “wide” and “receiver” don’t apply.
Does not compute.
Harvin being used in the backfield and being handed the ball as a running back isn’t new, but the frequency of his backfield usage has increased. In 2011 he was given 52 carries that he turned into 345 yards and two touchdowns, with his longest run a 39 yarder. Then this past season over just nine games he logged 22 carries, establishing a 39-carry pace over a full season. Put those two seasons together and that’s 74 carries since 2011, after Harvin was given only 23 carries during his rookie and sophomore years.
Even with that lower 2012 total which likely dwindled due to lingering injuries, he still had two games with at least 20 rushing yards. That’s some tasty fantasy gravy and two extra fantasy points on top of Harvin’s receiving production, as he was on pace for over 1,200 yards through the air despite dealing with Christian Ponder’s mediocrity.
So it’s nice to hear that he’ll still be featured as a running back periodically and pouring us that gravy this year in a much more diverse Seattle offense. From the Seattle Times, here’s the nugget Harvin dropped yesterday:
“I’ll be moving around — pretty much all around,” said the 5-foot-11, 184-pound Harvin. “There’ll be a little bit of running back coming up. But right now, we’re just trying to get the foundation set, just running the base plays, and we’ll see where it goes from there.”
Harvin could see even greater success in the running game with defenses now forced to be wary of both his explosiveness in addition to Russell Wilson’s ability to find the edge fast on read-option plays. While his overall carry total in any single game will still be minimal, having a backfield with two other dynamic athletes — Wilson and Marshawn Lynch — increases Harvin’s opportunities to pop one of his rushing attempts for a long gain.
In 2011 he recorded five +20 yard carries while averaging 6.6 yards per carry, and now the pieces are in place for a similar output.