Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson looks at NFC North players on the verge of a breakout in 2011.
Harvin It could be argued that Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin is already a star. But I contend that the best is yet to come and Harvin will soon be among the best players at his position.
Of course, defining Harvin’s position isn’t an easy task. But the Vikings would be wise to increase his role and exploit his immense versatility. Remember, Harvin didn’t even play wide receiver at the University of Florida and is just a puppy with his development at the position. And already he is terrific.
Before we get carried away though, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Harvin’s history of migraine headaches that have sidelined him in his two-year pro career. Though Harvin has appeared in 29 of a possible 32 games, it should be noted that he began the 2010 season behind the eight ball after missing much of training camp with headaches. But I have little doubt about his toughness or competitiveness.
Harvin isn’t the biggest wideout around and might even be best suited to be a slot receiver, but he is very well built, strong and runs like a running back with the ball in his hands. In fact, I see Harvin taking the slot receiver position to new levels over the next season or two -- assuming he gets some sort of competent quarterback play in Minnesota. His ability to run option routes when given a two-way go out of the slot will only improve, but he does need to have a quarterback (think Tom Brady for Wes Welker) to be on the same page as the Patriots receiver.
Also, it would sure help Harvin if the Vikings re-signed Sidney Rice to give Minnesota a suitable option outside the numbers. But in the meantime, the Vikings just need to get Harvin the ball. He can cause tremendous personnel problems for opposing defenses with his ability to align all over the formation, including in the backfield as a true running back.
Harvin is already among the best return men in football and could be classified as an offensive star as well. But he will get better -- much better.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.