MANKATO, Minn. — While many rookies who hold out of training camp fall dangerously behind as their teams practice without them, Percy Harvin took advantage of a luxury that few others enjoy: his friendship with Tim Tebow.
While Harvin's agent, Joel Segal, negotiated with the Minnesota Vikings, the speedy receiver spent his days on the campus of his alma mater catching passes from Tebow, his Heisman Trophy-winning teammate the past three seasons at Florida.
"He's probably the best thing other than a pro quarterback," Harvin said Sunday, after signing a five-year deal with the Vikings. "Of course he's not a pro quarterback, but I got the best work in I could do without actually being here."
Harvin, the 22nd overall pick, missed the first two days and four practices of training camp but hopped an early flight from Florida to the Twin Cities to make sure he got there in time for Sunday's practice.
"I don't think anybody was more anxious to get on the field than me today," Harvin said.
Well, maybe there was one.
Coach Brad Childress said that it was important for Harvin to get into camp as soon as possible so he didn't fall too far behind. He'll be asked to play a variety of roles for the Vikings, including wide receiver, running back and return man, so he has plenty of studying to do.
"We're going to challenge him," Childress said. "It's not like we're going to spoon feed him."
While many scouts and draft analysts said Harvin had top-10 talent, he slipped to the Vikings due to concerns about his durability and a failed drug test at the NFL combine.
Childress had some of the same concerns, so he flew to Florida and met personally with Harvin and his family before the draft. The coach came away impressed by his willingness to take responsibility for past mistakes and didn't hesitate to draft Harvin when the Vikings came on the clock.
"It's a dream come true," Harvin said after his first official practice. "For me, there was a lot of bumps that prevented myself from getting to this point. It seemed to be a little farther than it actually was.
"But to actually get here, everything's behind me. I can kind of start over here. I'm just glad to be here and thankful and ready to hit the ground running."
The versatile playmaker is expected to complement Adrian Peterson in Minnesota's ramped-up offense. During minicamps earlier this summer, Childress and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell began experimenting with their new toy. They lined up Harvin at receiver out wide, in the slot, and motioned him into the backfield on reverses and other running plays.
His arrival could also bring a version of the Wildcat offense to Minnesota. Harvin and Peterson in the same backfield would give the Vikings a dynamic element that's been missing since Childress took over in 2006.
Harvin also could bolster the team's mediocre return game. His quickness and ability to change directions in a heartbeat make him ideal for the job.
"Return man. Slot. A little bit in the backfield," Harvin said. "The motions. The screens. I'm looking to be all over."
The Vikings threw him right into the mix on Sunday, giving him some time with the No. 1 offense during a goal-line installation and running reverses, catching passes and fielding kickoffs.
"He's playing big, he's playing fast, making turns like on the drop of a dime," tight end Visanthe Shiancoe said, "and he's catching everything."
FORMER HIGHLAND HIGH STAR INJURED: Eagles middle linebacker Stewart Bradley injured his knee and cornerback Ellis Hobbs left with a stinger during practice Sunday night.
Both players will have MRI tests today. Bradley left the field on his own after getting hurt about halfway through the session. The extent of his injury wasn't immediately known, though trainers appeared concerned.
Bradley, a third-round pick in 2007, had 151 tackles in his first full season as a starter last year. He's the primary signal caller on a defense that already lost veteran safety Brian Dawkins in free agency.
Hobbs, acquired in a trade with New England, is competing for a starting job with Sheldon Brown.
A total of 31,786 fans came out to Lincoln Financial Field to watch the inaugural Eagles Flight Night. Proceeds from the event benefit the team's charities.
MARSHALL PULLS UP LAME: Disgruntled Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall missed the last hour of practice Sunday after pulling up with an apparent hamstring injury while running a deep sideline route.
Marshall hobbled to the sideline, tossed his helmet and dropped to the grass. He didn't return to action, staying on the sideline a few minutes before limping to the trainer's room.
Coach Josh McDaniels said after practice that he wasn't sure how badly Marshall was hurt.
Marshall has had another drama-filled offseason, this time complaining about his contract and requesting a trade four months after appearing in his first Pro Bowl.
He has made several spectacular plays at camp so far, showing no ill effects from offseason hip surgery.
QUINN, ANDERSON IN FOR BATTLE: Browns coach Eric Mangini says he will not rotate quarterbacks, that he has no timetable on picking a starter and that he envisions both Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn on Cleveland's roster once the regular season begins.
Mangini, who will spend the bulk of training camp evaluating his two QBs, said Sunday that he has no plans to switch starters on a weekly basis. He also said that once he decides on Anderson or Quinn as his No. 1 quarterback, he intends to stick with that player.
Mangini added that he sees both players staying with the Browns for the foreseeable future.
Anderson and Quinn are expected to split playing time and practice reps over the next few weeks. The Browns open their preseason Aug. 15 in Green Bay.