The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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September 27, 2012

After rocky summer, Harvin becomes team leader

— Percy Harvin sat down at a table outside the Minnesota Vikings locker room after a long day of practice, the sun shining on his head and a big smile on his face.

Harvin leads the NFL in receptions, and that's just the beginning of his influence. He has become an indispensable piece of the team and presence in the locker room to help his Vikings get off to a surprising 2-1 start.

And make no mistake — these Vikings are becoming his team as much as anyone else's.

"Percy's the best player in the NFL right now," Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway said. "I'd like to see anybody challenge that with the way he's carrying the football and the way he's really driving our team along."

To see Harvin put up the kind of numbers he has through the first three games — 27 catches for 277 yards — is nothing new. His combination of speed, power and unyielding tenaciousness has made him a problem for defenses, and kick coverage units, ever since he broke into the league in 2009.

To hear him speak glowingly about the Vikings just three months after requesting a trade, and to watch his teammates follow his lead the way they have this season, is something altogether different.

Harvin requested a trade in June after growing unhappy with the Vikings. Now, he couldn't be happier with his role in the offense and is a member of the leadership council that acts as a liaison between the team and coaching staff.

His stature within the team is growing, and Harvin welcomes the responsibility.

"It just gives me all the confidence in the world and it makes me love this place even more to know your teammates and everybody have each other's backs," Harvin said.

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