Friday, November 2, 2012

Percy Harvin aims for a record

Back in 2007 when I foolishly started the Grant's Tomb blog, there were a few Vikings sites I visited regularly because I liked what their bloggers had to say. Some of those blogs are no longer active and Defensive Indifference, which was written by Jason Winter, is one of them. A few months ago I tracked down Jason and tried to get him to join the Kick Ass Blog team. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to convince him. But Jason, who has shifted to blogging about gaming at Wintry Mix, agreed to whip up a guest post for our site in the not-too-distant future. Well, the future has arrived. In this post, he focuses on one of my favorite topics – Percy Harvin. 

The Vikings are 5-3. That's good.

The Vikings' remaining eight opponents have a combined record of 38-22, or a .633 winning percentage. That's bad.

And over the past three weeks – two of them losses – the Vikings have looked downright ugly.

Eight games into the season, it's easy to get down on the team right now, but it's even easier to forget all that negativity and make full-season projections – especially when they point to a Viking player having a realistic shot at an NFL record.

Percy Harvin, as you're no doubt aware, has been spectacular. He runs, he catches, he returns kicks – he flat out racks up yards, maybe at a rate nobody has ever done.

Through eight games, Harvin has 72 rushing yards, 667 receiving yards, and 535 kickoff return yards. That's a total of 1,274 all-purpose yards, tops in the league. To project that over 16 games, you just double the number and you get 2,548 yards.

How good is that? Only seven men have ever managed more than 2,500 APY in a season, and 2,548 would give Harvin the fourth-best total of all time. Harvin would need 149 more yards to overcome Darren Sproles' record-setting total from last year and claim the record for himself, cementing himself as the best all-around single-season yardage-gainer in NFL history.

But even if he falls short, he still might be better than the numbers indicate.

Consider this: Harvin has 15 kickoff returns this year, and the Vikings have 20 as a team. The NFL average is a shade over 19 per team, which charts out to an average of 38 per year. Last year, it was about 43.

But in 2010, when kickoffs were at the 30-yard line and not the 35, the average team returned 63.5 kicks. In 2009, it was 62.6. In 2008, it was 66.1. That averages out to about 64 per team over that three-year period, which is 64% more than what we've seen in 2011-12.

Granted, the returns themselves in 2011-12 have been a little longer – about 1.5 yards per – because players are taking them out from deeper in the end zones than they used to. Taking that into account, we can determine that, if Harvin had been returning kicks at the rate and distance that teams generally did in 2008-2010, then he'd manage 1,647 kickoff return yards – good enough for 10th on the all-time list.

Now, combine that number with his pro-rated rushing and receiving yards, that would total an astounding 3,125 all-purpose yards in 2012.

Making the same adjustment for Sproles' 2011 season, we get 3,283 yards – still not enough to knock him off his perch. But it would blow away every other player's season. And, if Harvin can find a way to sneak in those extra 149 yards, maybe we won't need this kind of mathematical kerjiggering in the first place.

Now, isn't that a much better thing to look forward to than the Vikings' upcoming schedule?

1 comment:

  1. No other comments on two straight KAB posts? It appears Viking fans have fallen asleep at the halfway point of the season.

    On a more serious note, thanks Jason for pointing out the potentially historic season Percy Harvin is having. I knew he was having a fantastic year, but didn't realize it's been this fantastic.