We’ll continue our series of posts counting down to training camp with a question that may not make or break the season, but definitely carries a lot of curiosity — how many carries will receiver Percy Harvin get this season?
Harvin (pictured above left in a Bettina Hansen photo during OTAs) was Seattle’s marquee off-season addition, essentially serving as the team’s first-round draft pick, acquired in a trade with Minnesota and then signed to a six-year, $67 million contract.
With the Vikings, Harvin was not only a standout receiver but a more than occasional ball carrier.
He had 107 carries for 683 yards in 54 games over four years with Minnesota.
That’s an average of almost exactly two carries a game.
But his ball-carrying role expanded quite a bit the last two seasons — he had 52 carries for 345 yards in 16 games in 2011 and then 22 carries for 96 yards in nine games last season.
The Seahawks have said they expect Harvin to continue to get some carries, and so has Harvin.
“I’ll be moving around pretty much all around,’’ said the 5-11, 184-pound Harvin during OTAs. “There’ll be a little bit of running back coming up. But right now, we’re just trying to get the foundation set, just running the base plays, and we’ll see where it goes from there.’’
One of the many reasons the Seahawks were willing to gamble so much on Harvin is that he already is familiar with much of the offense, having worked with Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell when Bevell held the same role with the Vikings from 2006-10.
That leads to the easy conclusion that Harvin will be used pretty similarly here as there. That may mean again 2-3 carries a game, often in the red zone, and also often being used as a decoy.
Harvin’s greatest value, though, will be as a receiver. And with Seattle having one of the best running backs in the game in Marshawn Lynch and what appears to be a deep stable of quality backups, the Seahawks won’t have to force the running game issue with Harvin, who has had some noted issues with injuries. So it won’t be a surprise if the Seahawks are pretty selective in when they give Harvin the ball, while making sure he has an opportunity to turn in his fair share of big plays.
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