What does 2010 hold for Harvin?
Percy Harvin was the rookie of the year in 2009, but this season could be even better, especially if his quarterback returns. Our Jamey Eisenberg recently caught up with Harvin to get his early take on the upcoming season.
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Percy Harvin and Brett Favre became fast friends in 2009. As the young wide receiver describes it, the veteran quarterback took on a mentor role in Minnesota. That's to be expected with Favre having 19 years of NFL experience and Harvin just a rookie.
But the relationship is more than just football. During the offseason, Harvin said he and Favre exchange text messages two or three times a week. They talk about "random stuff," but Harvin said one subject is off limits.
"I don't ask that question. I know he gets that a lot," said Harvin, who was in South Florida for an autograph session. "Brett is real goofy. We just clown and laugh at a TV show or stuff like that. He's a great person to be around. It was a blessing that I was able to play with him."
Harvin hopes to play with Favre again this season, and that question is if Favre plans to return in 2010. It's May, and he's given the Vikings no indication, although speculation is Favre will come back for a 20th season.
It would be hard for Favre to walk away from this Minnesota team, which fell short of its Super Bowl goal last year with a heartbreaking loss. The Vikings lost 31-28 in overtime to the Saints in the NFC Championship Game, with Minnesota turning the ball over five times. Harvin said the game "was a killer."
The Vikings are loaded for another Super Bowl run with a talented defense and plenty of stars on offense. Fantasy owners know all about Adrian Peterson, Sidney Rice, Visanthe Shiancoe, Bernard Berrian and Harvin. Minnesota also has one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. The only thing missing is Favre, and Harvin had to guess the answer to that question during our interview.
"I think so, but at the same time you never know," Harvin said about Favre playing this year. "He's played a lot of years. I don't know how his body feels. Only he knows that. I would say 50-50. But I hope he comes back."
Harvin also said he doesn't ask Favre about his injured left ankle, which was surgically repaired recently. That procedure is the first clear indication Favre is leaning toward a return in 2010.
"We don't even talk about football," Harvin said. "I don't want to be one of those guys. I don't want him to think I'm trying to pressure him. He'll make the decision that's best for him."
If Favre does return as expected, we still value him as a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback, even at 40, and he would be worth a mid-round pick. He was amazing last year with 4,202 passing yards, 33 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.
Favre's decision also impacts Harvin and the rest of the receiving corps. While the Vikings would still be OK with Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels as the starting quarterback, Favre makes them standout Fantasy options, especially Rice, Harvin and Shiancoe.
Rice, who was in his third season in 2009, set new career highs in catches (83), yards (1,312) and touchdowns (eight). Favre's return would make Rice a No. 1 Fantasy wide receiver worth a pick as early as Round 2 or 3 in all leagues. Without Favre, Rice's value is lower to more of a top-end No. 2 receiver.
"He exploded last year," Harvin said. "Hopefully he'll have an even better year this season."
Shiancoe also set career highs in 2009 with 56 catches and 11 touchdowns, and he added 566 receiving yards. Shiancoe has the potential to be a Top 5 Fantasy tight end with Favre. Without Favre, Shiancoe is just a quality starting option in all leagues.
As for Harvin, he was the rookie of the year in 2009. He had 60 catches for 790 yards and six touchdowns and 15 carries for 135 yards. He credits a lot of his success to Favre.
"It was amazing," Harvin said. "It was a blast. It was everything I could have dreamed of. I didn't expect to play with a Hall of Fame quarterback. I couldn't have asked for anything better."
Things could be better for Harvin this season. Chester Taylor signed with the Bears as a free agent, leaving a void for a receiver in the backfield. Peterson remains the workhorse for the Vikings and is an elite Fantasy running back, but he comes off the field in passing situations. The Vikings drafted Toby Gerhart in the second round to be Peterson's backup, but Harvin might also line up at running back.
It's a role Harvin played in college for the Gators, and he would enjoy doing it again. The more times he could touch the football, the better his Fantasy value would be. And Harvin should be considered a No. 2 Fantasy wide receiver -- as long as Favre returns. If not, Harvin is more of a No. 3 option.
"We hope that we can get me and Adrian Peterson in the backfield at the same time and cause some mismatches for the defense," Harvin said. "Hopefully it will work out for us. I think it will be a powerful weapon for us."
Harvin also could improve in 2010 if he can avoid the migraine headaches that plagued him last year. He missed a game and struggled in others because of issues stemming from the headaches.
"It's a work in progress," Harvin said. "I had a few of them still during the break. It's something I'm going to have to grow out of or figure out something. I've been to numerous doctors, but it's still a work in progress. It's a lot of things that can trigger them. We're trying to figure out a way to control them."
The headache for Fantasy owners will be if Favre decides to retire. His absence would hurt the Fantasy value for all the Vikings with the exception of Peterson. Harvin hopes that doesn't happen.
He wants Favre to answer that question with a simple answer. It could be a personal text message or a public statement. Harvin just wants Favre to say yes, he'll be back.
Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can also follow Jamey at @jameyeisenberg . Do you have a question or a comment for our Fantasy staff? Drop us a line at email@example.com .
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