The Minnesota Vikings grabbed headlines by trading wide receiver Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks in March, particularly since that left the situation looking very dire for them at the position. Signing Greg Jennings in free agency helps things some, but the Vikings still need to add targets for quarterback Christian Ponder.
Wide receiver is one of the deepest positions in the 2013 NFL Draft class, which puts the Vikings in position to draft more than one pass catcher that could make an immediate impact. It’s possible one of the team’s two first-round picks will be used on a wide receiver, but adding someone else in a later round is sure to be a consideration as well.
Mark Harrison never had more than 44 receptions in any of his four seasons at Rutgers, but he had a strong workout at the NFL Combine that included a 4.37-second 40-yard dash and a good showing in the vertical jump (38.5 inches). He was one of the occupants of a hotel room that was trashed during the event, but multiple reports have said he was not involved and the incident should not have any negative impact on his draft stock.
In another stroke of poor luck, Harrison broke the fifth metatarsal in his left foot just prior to the school’s pro day and was unable to work out. The injury is not a major concern, and he is expected to be 100 percent by mid-May. Tony Pauline of Draft Insider.net has reported the Vikings are among a few teams that have had recent contact with Harrison, and he goes further by suggesting the former Scarlet Knight may be drafted higher than anyone expects.
Is Harrison a good fit for the Vikings? Let’s take a closer look at him.
Weight: 231 lbs.
– Has great size and a powerful build; boxes out defenders well
– Has long arms (35 inches)
– Is a capable red zone threat (18 touchdowns at Rutgers)
– Shows better quickness than expected
– Is effective with the ball in his hands; sheds arm tackles easily
– Does not consistently extend off his frame and attack the ball in the air
– Has inconsistent hands; drops easy passes at times
– Is not a fluid route runner; is stiff in the hips
– College production was not outstanding
If the positive buzz Pauline reported is to be believed, Harrison may now be a potential third or fourth-round pick. His size and athleticism surely has the attention of teams, and those attributes differentiate him from anyone else the Vikings have at wide receiver right now. The third round feels like a significant reach to me, for Minnesota or any other team, but if he is available late in the fourth or into the fifth round Harrison could become a value pick relative to the upside he offers.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.