Vikings' Harvin hopes headaches stay away
By Jon Krawczynski, AP Sports Writer
EDEN PRAIRIE -- The awards and achievements piled up for Percy Harvin in his rookie season nearly as fast as the Florida speedster runs the 40.
He scored a touchdown in his first three games for the Minnesota Vikings, was named NFC special teams player of the week after returning a kick for a score in Week 3 and set the franchise record for all-purpose yards in a season en route to a landslide victory in the AP offensive rookie of the year vote.
He overcame a failed drug test just before the NFL combine that caused him to plummet down the draft board, quickly becoming one of Brett Favre's favorite targets to help the Vikings reach the NFC title game.
By any measure, Harvin's first professional season was a resounding success. Any measure, that is, except for his own.
"We didn't win a championship. I didn't play good enough to win it," Harvin said on Saturday after the team's minicamp. "The team didn't play good enough to win. So we all evaluate ourselves and are trying to get better."
The Vikings are still haunted by turning the ball over five times in that overtime loss in New Orleans in January that cost them a trip to the Super Bowl. Harvin was one of the culprits, with his fumble deep in Minnesota territory setting up a Saints touchdown in the fourth quarter.
With that play still fresh in his memory, Harvin set to work this offseason determined to improve. He did not attend any of Minnesota's optional practices in May, but when he reported to the team's headquarters this week in advance of the mandatory minicamp, it was easy to see that his first offseason has been productive.
"Percy looks good. He looks pretty rocked up, like he's been working hard," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "He's been running around out here well. You can still see his ability to make plays, catch the ball. I like what we see out of him right now."
Harvin added about 12 pounds of muscle to his 5-foot-11 frame while working out at home in Florida, and he looks even more prepared to absorb the punishment that comes with being Minnesota's Mr. Everything -- receiver, running back, return man.
"It looks like he wintered very well in Gainesville," coach Brad Childress said. "It looks like he hasn't just been sitting around."
About the only things that could slow him down last season were migraine headaches, a debilitating condition that has plagued him for most of his life. Harvin missed a game against Cincinnati in December and did not practice for most of the week leading up to the NFC championship.
He has visited the Mayo Clinic in a search for a cure, but so far has been unable to find a fail-proof answer.
"It was still meeting with a couple of doctors, and having a plan," said Harvin, who is loathe to talk about his health. "It's something you have to go through, outgrow. My mom had them when she was younger, and she's dealt with them."
For now, all he can do is stick to the plan his doctors have given him and hope that the most severe headaches do not come during the season before games. He prefers to concentrate on inducing headaches for opposing defenses as he did so often last year.