Harvin signs 5-year deal

August 2nd, 2009 – 11:17 AM by Judd Zulgad

MANKATO — The Vikings signed first-round wide receiver Percy Harvin to a five-year contract on Sunday.

Harvin’s agent, Joel Segal, said his client was en route to Mankato this morning and the Vikings say Harvin will arrive in time for today’s 3 p.m. practice. It’s the Vikings only scheduled practice today. “Percy is excited to get to camp,” Segal said. “He was talking about wanting to be at practice and getting ready to start helping the club win a lot of football games.”  

Harvin, the 22nd overall pick in the draft last April, missed the first two days of training camp (four practices) while negotiations between Segal and Vikings vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski continued. Segal did not want  to get into any specifics of the sticking points between the two sides. Segal also declined to give the financial terms of the contract. Running back Felix Jones, selected with the 22nd pick of the draft in 2008, received a $10.53 million contract with $7.67 million guaranteed and a $3.57 million signing bonus.

Harvin’s arrival is expected to generate excitement in the Vikings camp. A multi-talented threat at the University of Florida, Harvin dropped into the second portion of the draft because of concerns about his character and about some injury issues he had in college. Harvin reportedly tested positive for marijuana at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

Harvin’s talent, though, caused the Vikings to stop his fall in the draft. Coach Brad Childress made a visit to Harvin’s home shortly before the draft to talk to his family and came away convinced that Harvin was a player he wanted. Harvin was used both as a wide receiver and running back during his three seasons at Florida.

Harvin started 26 of 36 games he played at Florida and set school career records for wide receivers with 32 touchdowns (19 rushing, 13 receiving) and 1,852 career rushing yards. Harvin became the first player in Florida history with 1,000 rushing and 1,000 receiving yards in a career, passing both milestones during a sophomore season in which he earned all-SEC first-team honors.

The Vikings are expected to use Harvin in a variety of ways, including out of a Wildcat formation. Harvin also will be a candidate to return kicks and punts, something he did not do at Florida. Because of the numerous ways he will be used in the offense it was crucial for Harvin to get into camp and begin learning and getting on-the-field reps.

Asked on Saturday evening if he was getting concerned about Harvin’s absence, Childress said: ‘You can’t put a value on snaps and it just is all cumulative. It doesn’t go back. … It will be up to him to catch up.”

Segal said Harvin is glad the contract situation is past him. “He’s looking forward to working hard, getting ready for the season and now he’s ready to focus on football,” Segal said. 

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