Vikings find potential starters in Harvin, Loadholt

It’s always a snap judgment to immediately evaluate the success of a team’s draft. With that disclaimer aside, it’s easy to see that several teams exited the first day of the draft with several potential starters. Among those are the Vikings.

The Vikings hit the daily double with WR Percy Harvin and OT Phil Loadholt — landing highly rated players at two positions of need.

League sources say the Vikings really did their due diligence in getting to know Harvin. Vikings coach Brad Childress flew down to Florida to visit with Harvin last week after reports surfaced of a failed drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine — and Childress must have walked away convinced that he could live with whatever issues (or non-issues) surrounded Harvin. Remember, this is the same front office and coaching staff that traded for DE Jared Allen after investigating his alcohol issues and came away convinced they wouldn’t be a concern. This also is the same organization that not so long ago treaded the waters of the Love Boat scandal, resulting in the Wilf family putting a premium on “character” players.

The Vikings do take players off of their draft board because of such concerns — but Harvin wasn’t one of them.

As for Harvin on the field, league sources say he’ll be able to play any of the receiver positions, including the slot. That’s likely his best position, but he has the ability to get off the line of scrimmage, which will allow the Vikings to use him in multiple spots. Think of the way the Panthers use Steve Smith.

The Vikings have Loadholt slated for right tackle and expect him to beat out Ryan Cook, the incumbent starter there. With Bryant McKinnie (6-foot-8, 335) on the left side and Loadholt (is there a more appropriate name for a monster tackle?), who goes 6-8 and 332 pounds, the Vikings give new meaning to the term “bookend tackles.”

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