49ers Blog and Q&A

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February 11, 2013
Percy Harvin would fill a 49ers need, but ...


Viking wideout Percy Harvin may or may not be on the trade block. Despite that vague status, he's worth discussing as it pertains to the 49ers because 1.) San Francisco still is in need of a wideout despite loading up on them last year. 2.) Harvin is a gifted athlete and a true talent who was being talked about as a league MVP before going down with an injury this past season.

1. Harvin and Michael Crabtree came into the league together in 2009 and seem to complement each other nicely. Crabtree put all diva- and prima donna- talk far, far in the rearview mirror this season with his gritty and clutch play, and he emerged -- obviously, if you watched the 49ers final three offensive snaps -- as Colin Kaepernick's favorite target. What the team needs is someone with deep speed, which Harvin possesses.

2. Harvin isn't just a sprinter. He's extremely versatile having played both receiver and running back at Florida. The Vikings used him in a variety of ways as well, and a creative offensive coordinator like Greg Roman seems perfect for pulling the strings on how Harvin is utilized in the offense. Can you imagine a system that has Crabtree, Harvin, LaMichael James, Vernon Davis and Kaepernick at the same time?

3.) If the Vikings are looking for draft picks, the 49ers are the team to approach. They are expecting to have 14 in the upcoming draft once compensatory picks are announced, and that number could rise if they can move Alex Smith. That is, the 49ers could acquire Harvin and still be able to move up in the April draft.

1.) The Vikings are struggling with what to pay Harvin, who is signed only through 2013 and who is due for a contract extension. Any team that acquires him -- he'll likely want a top-wide receiver contract -- will have to face the same issue. Meanwhile, Crabtree has two more years left on his rookie contract while Kaepernick is eligible to have his modest rookie deal renegotiated after next season.

2.) While Crabtree is the wide receiver who went into the 2009 draft with a diva reputation, Harvin has been the one with well reported blow-ups at coaches. Randy Moss wasn't happy with how he was utilized in the 49ers offense but kept his mouth shut and was the good soldier. Would Harvin behave? And if he didn't, how would that sit in a locker room led by blue-collar Patrick Willis and Justin Smith?

3.) Harvin missed seven games with an ankle injury last season and has a long history of missing time with migraine headaches. However, it should be noted that while the migraine episodes have knocked him out of practice, he missed only three games in three seasons prior to 2012.

4.) Harvin has special teams ability, but it's as a kick returner, not a punt returner. If the 49ers parted ways with Ted Ginn, their big needs would be on punts. They currently have LaMichael James handling kick returns.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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