More than one NFL mock draft has the Vikings taking Florida wide receiver Percy Harvin with the 22nd-overall pick in the first round. It’s diffuclt to question Harvin’s talent but there have been some other issues brought up about his personality and how easy he is to coach.
Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman, appearing on KFAN Radio today, was asked about Harvin. “Good football player, had some durability issues down there at Florida,” Spielman said. “There are some rumors going around now about [him] potentially being dirty at the combine, so we’re going through all that. But he’s a very explosive receiver. Everybody is projecting him as a potential punt and kickoff returner. He can probably do that but he hasn’t done it yet in college. Very versatile. They used him at running back, they used him at slot receiver. He has some unique skills.”
Spielman was referencing a report by NFLDraftBible.com that Harvin failed a drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. That publication reported on several positive tests, although there has been no confirmation that the information was accurate. The Vikings eventually will find out from the NFL whether a player failed a test at the combine, but Spielman said the team is yet to see those reports.
However, the Vikings do their own extensive due diligence on players and that’s why so far 78 prospects have received a “red dot,” meaning the folks at Winter Park aren’t going to take them either because of injury or character concerns. And that number could grow.
“Regardless who it is and who we bring into this organization, the one thing I know that we will do, we will drill down as deep as we can and any issues that pop up we are going to go through our pyschologists, we’re going to talk to the coaches, we’re going to talk to [people] all the way back to his high school,” Spielman said.
Spielman explained this background checking is important because not only does it help the Vikings eliminate players who could be potential headaches but it also can clear up information on a player who might have a bad reputation but is actually worth taking. ”There could be a guy with issues that, ‘OK, that’s going against the Vikings philosophy because they want good players and good people,’” Spielman said. “But we did that with Jared Allen because he had some issues but hasn’t had any issues since then and we felt very strongly after we did our due dilligence that he was what we wanted on our football team. Not only on the field but off the field as well.”