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Vikings offensive player to watch: WR Percy Harvin

Percy Harvin is dangerous as a receiver, running back and return man. (Genevieve Ross/Associated Press)

How he beats you: One of the most explosive athletes in the league, Percy Harvin leads the Vikings with 407 receiving yards. He leads the NFL with 231 yards after the catch. Even though running back Adrian Peterson has bounced back from a season-ending ACL injury in December 2011 to rush for more than 400 yards in his first five games, Harvin is a focal point of the Vikings attack because of his versatility on offense and special teams. The Vikings move Harvin around and try to get him the ball in a variety of ways – as a receiver, as a running back, running the wildcat – and Harvin produces, averaging 10.7 yards per catch, and 4.8 yards per carry.

  “They’re going to do different things to try to get him the football in space. …They definitely do a good job of lining him up and getting him the ball,” inside linebacker London Fletcher said.

 How to stop him: The Redskins must be assignment sound, and sure in their tackling. Cornerback DeAngelo Hall will likely see a lot of Harvin when he lines up in the slot. When Harvin gets the ball in open space, the Redskins can’t rely on one man to stop him.

 “You just have to stay around him, always know where he is,” Hall said. “He and [Adrian Peterson] are the most dangerous guys on those teams, so we have to know where he is at all times. You’ve got to be sticky in coverage. You know he’s going to make some catches. We’ve got to be able to [have] all 11 of us rally to him and get as many bodies to him as possible.”

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
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