StarTribune.com

June 2009


Report: Harvin might have to attend 2010 symposium

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

We toned down the headline a bit after getting an official response from the NFL that is now the last graph of this story. 

Vikings rookie wide receiver Percy Harvin remained absent from the NFL’s rookie symposium on Tuesday because of illness and might have to attend the event next year, according to the NFL Network.

Steve Wyche, reporting for “NFL Total Access” from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., said Harvin wanted to return to the symposium Tuesday but that doctors gave him medicine and told him to remain at home. Wyche said Harvin is concerned about how people will perceive his absence because of the question marks that surrounded his character entering the NFL draft in April.

Harvin had top-10 talent but dropped to the Vikings with the 22nd-overall pick in part because he reportedly tested positive for marijuana at the NFL Scouting Combine in February in Indianapolis.

This is not the first time Harvin has dealt with an illness this offseason that has kept him from an NFL-related event. Harvin missed a Vikings rookie camp in early May after becoming so ill during a layover in Atlanta that he was hospitalized. Harvin, who had been traveling from Florida, was suffering from extreme dehydration and a virus. He returned home two days after being admitted to the hospital.

The former University of Florida standout reported for the start of the four-day symposium Sunday afternoon, but the medical staff suggested he return home after he told them he wasn’t feeling well. Harvin and his family live in the Gainesville area. Organizers of the event officially excused Harvin; all 256 draft picks were in attendance on Sunday, according to symposium officials.

The symposium focuses on helping rookies adjust to life in the NFL by bringing in guest speakers and experts in a number of different areas to discuss various issues. It is something the league takes very seriously. In fact, Wyche said it is taken so seriously that his understanding is that Harvin will have to attend next year’s symposium with the incoming rookie class despite the fact he will have been in the league for a year.

In an e-mail to the Star Tribune on the subject, league spokesman Brian McCarthy said: “[Harvin] was excused. Players who are excused are expected to make up the material presented. That may involve attendance at the following year’s symposium.”

Vikings sign fifth-round pick

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

The Vikings reached a contract agreement with the second of their five draft picks today, signing fifth-round linebacker Jasper Brinkley. The announcement came on the Vikings website and terms were not disclosed.

Brinkley, taken 150th overall in the April draft, had 193 tackles, 20.5 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks and three interceptions in 30 games (29 starts) at South Carolina. Brinkley earned all-SEC second-team honors last season after missing much of the 2007 season after tearing his lateral collateral ligament in his right knee.

The Vikings thought enough of Brinkley that they traded a fifth- and seventh-round pick to Washington in order to move up in the fifth round and grab him. The Vikings project Brinkley as the backup to E.J. Henderson at middle linebacker, a position they had to scramble to fill last season after Henderson was lost early in the season because of injury. Brinkley also should play a significant role on special teams this season.

Brinkley joins seventh-round safety Jamarca Sanford, who signed a four-year deal with the Vikings last week. The Vikings, who open training-camp practices on July 31, still must reach agreements with first-round wide receiver Percy Harvin, second-round offensive tackle Phil Loadholt and third-round cornerback Asher Allen.

Dawson on Favre: I don’t understand

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

A few weeks back former Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton caused a stir with his critical comments on Brett Favre’s potential return to the NFL with Minnesota. Now, another Hall of Fame quarterback is echoing some of the same things Tarkenton said about Favre wanting to play for an arch-rival of his longtime team, the Green Bay Packers.

“I don’t know why he wants to do it,” Dawson told Yahoo! Sports at the NFL’s rookie symposium. “What has he played, 18, 19 years? He’s relatively healthy. I assume he has all the money he needs. What made him what he was is what’s inside him, how he loved the game. To me, he’s picking some teams I don’t understand. To be in Green Bay all those years and then go to Minnesota, that will arouse a lot of people. … This is a strong rival, not just a rival.”

Dawson played 19 NFL seasons — Favre has been in the league for 18 years — and he spent the majority of that time with the Kansas City Chiefs. It was Dawson who helped lead the Chiefs to a 23-7 victory over the heavily favored Vikings in Super Bowl IV. Dawson made it clear to Yahoo!’s Jason Cole that he wouldn’t have jumped to one of Kansas City’s biggest rivals.

“Why? It’s a game. Why revenge? I don’t know all the circumstances about what happened in Green Bay. … Look at how much money they wanted to give him to stay home,” Dawson said, referencing the marketing agreement the Packers offered Favre to stay retired last year. “A lot of money. It’s not a bad offer, but he didn’t need the money. There was something else and that’s probably what spurred him.”

Harvin leaves rookie symposium due to illness

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Vikings first-round wide receiver Percy Harvin was sent home from the NFL rookie symposium after becoming ill, according to NFL.com.

Harvin reported for the start of the event Sunday afternoon in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, but after notifying the medical staff he was not feeling well, they suggested he return home. Organizers of the symposium officially excused Harvin; all 256 draft picks had reported Sunday, according to those who run the symposium.

The website, Pro Football Talk, reports Harvin may return to the symposium as soon as Tuesday if he feels better.

Harvin, the 22nd pick in the draft in April, also missed a Vikings’ mandatory rookie minicamp in early May after he became so ill during a layover in Atlanta that he was hospitalized. Harvin, who had been traveling from Florida, was severly dehydrated and eventually returned home.

Tuesday morning update: Harvin, who started a Twitter account to pass the time after getting sick in May, posted this tweet overnight. “Sick again … this time rookie symposium … sux [sic].”

Peterson discusses Favre’s potential return

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Adrian Peterson discussed the possibility of Brett Favre becoming his teammate this season when The Oklahoman columnist Berry Tramel caught up with the Vikings running back at his youth football camp in Oklahoma.

In his column, Tramel wrote that Peterson could end up like former Detroit Lions great Barry Sanders if the Vikings “don’t quit fooling around at quarterback, and that includes courting the ancient Brett Favre …”

“If the Vikes don’t show some smarts, Peterson will wake up one day, be 30 years old and will have traveled the Barry Sanders Parkway,” Tramel writes. “All those yards, all those memories and not a February to show for it.”

Tramel notes that in 10 seasons with the Lions, Sanders had 10 starting quarterbacks and a 1-5 playoff record in five trips.

Tramel’s column is accompanied by a video interview with Peterson at his camp, which can be found right here.

 

Peterson the passer?

Friday, June 26th, 2009

We noted during one of the Vikings minicamp practices last month that rookie wide receiver Percy Harvin and running back Chester Taylor were used as the quarterback in a Wildcat formation and that receiver Darius Reynaud also could get a look at that spot. Evidently, Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson also wouldn’t mind getting a chance to take the snap out of the Wildcat.

Peterson, who is conducting his youth football camp in Norman, Oklahoma, told the Oklahoman that he grew up wanting to play quarterback and that he could get that chance on occasion this season. “We’re going to be running a lot of scat formations, maybe the Wildcat,” Peterson told the paper. “You guys might see me on Sundays throwing the ball.”

Peterson declined to get into the subject of if he would rather have Brett Favre, Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels as his quarterback but Peterson’s father had no problem giving his opinion.

“Anybody who can keep nine guys out of the box would be greatly appreciated,” Nelson Peterson said. “I don’t care if it’s Tarvaris, Sage, Brett Favre or anybody else.”

By the way, here is a Peterson story written by the Associated Press. Asked about Brett Favre, Peterson said: “You’re talking about a Hall of Fame quarterback, a guy that I grew up watching. I love just the passion he played with. If he is a part of our team when the season comes around, when training camp comes around, we’re going to welcome him with open arms and see where the chips fall.”

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