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Vikings GM: 'No issues' with Harvin

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Vikings GM: 'No issues' with Harvin

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman said Thursday the organization has no concerns about Percy Harvin's character or attitude with a pivotal offseason ahead for the wide receiver's future with the Vikings.

Harvin, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, badly sprained his left ankle on Nov. 4 at Seattle and didn't play again. The Vikings placed him on the season-ending injured reserve list a month later.

Spielman sidestepped a question about whether the Vikings will initiate talks about an extension for Harvin. He said the front office must complete its full evaluation of every player on the roster before decisions on who to keep.

``Percy comes to work every day. Everybody sees what Percy puts on the field,'' Spielman said during an interview session with reporters. ``He plays the game as hard, or harder, than anyone else in the NFL, the effort that he puts up out there. So we have no issues with Percy Harvin.''

Players don't normally land on injured reserve one month after suffering ankle injuries, but the Vikings have said the move was not based on any motive beyond his unavailability to the team.

``It's something that we felt was best for Percy. We didn't want to ruin any long-term or longevity issues and put him out there if he wasn't going to be able to play and risk further injury,'' Spielman said, adding: ``I think our medical staff is the best in the business in the NFL, and ... we're going to listen to what they have to say and make the decisions from there.''

Harvin went home to Florida for his rehabilitation after he was placed on injured reserve, but coach Leslie Frazier downplayed his absence, noting that others have often chosen to do the same. Harvin also made waves last summer when he expressed unhappiness with the organization and requested a trade, but by the time training camp arrived he had simmered down.

He started playing like a Most Valuable Player award candidate, leading the league in total yards (receiving, rushing and returning) through nine games until he was hurt. Harvin still led the team in receptions (62) and yards receiving (677) despite playing barely half of a season, and he had a kickoff return for a touchdown as well as 96 yards rushing and one score on the ground.

With an offense revolved around NFL rushing leader Adrian Peterson, who carried the ball 348 times in 2012, the second-most in franchise history, there's a question about whether Harvin can touch the ball enough to be happy and fully effective with his unique skill set. But Spielman said the Vikings want both of them on the field together.

``There are guys that are blue-chip receivers and blue-chip running backs that do coexist in this league. My job is to try to find those guys and get as many of those type players on the field for us as possible,'' said Spielman, who finished his first season as the general manager, a promotion from his previous post as vice president of player personnel.

Harvin, though, will be expensive to keep past 2013 if the Vikings consider him part of their future core. They already have Peterson, linebacker Chad Greenway and center John Sullivan under long-term, pricey contracts, so the salary cap is an important part of the equation in Harvin's status, particularly if the Vikings plan to use some of that room on free-agent upgrades for some of the holes remaining on their roster.

``He's built like a smaller running back. He's not built like a typical, leaner receiver. We believe he does have the durability to do what he needs to do and to play 16 games in the NFL,'' Spielman said.

The Vikings have often finalized extensions for key players before they reach the last year of their deals, but they didn't do any of those during the 2012 season. Spielman said, however, the lack of action didn't signal a shift in philosophy.

``We've talked to some agents. We've talked to some agents before the season, and sometimes we'll just say, `Let's wait until the season ends,''' Spielman said.

Now the season is over, and the Vikings are approaching a significant dilemma with Harvin, particularly since trades in the NFL are difficult to consummate, given cap constraints and the preciousness of draft picks.

On other subjects:

- Spielman said the Vikings will try to re-sign Pro Bowl fullback Jerome Felton and even wide receiver Jerome Simpson, whom he said ``has the potential to really thrive'' despite an underwhelming first season with the team hampered by a three-game suspension and an injury to his lower left leg.

- Cornerback Antoine Winfield will be 36 next season, and defensive tackle Kevin Williams will be 33. Both will count heavily against the salary cap, too, but Spielman acknowledged the importance of factoring in experience and leadership when deciding whether to bring them back. ``If you don't have all those high-character guys down in that locker room, it could very easily have gone the other way,'' Spielman said of the 10-6 season.

- The Vikings several players to reserve/future contracts this week, including punter T.J. Conley, who kicked for the New York Jets in 2011. But Spielman said that's part of the typical offseason process, not a sign of disinterest in bringing Chris Kluwe back.

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Bol Bol

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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Bol Bol

The Washington Wizards will have the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects who could fall around where the Wizards will select...

2019 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Bol Bol

School: Oregon
Position: Center
Age: 19
Height: 7-3
Weight: 208
Wingspan: 7-7
Max vertical: N/A

2018/19 stats: 21.0 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 1.0 apg, 0.8 spg, 2.7 bpg, 56.1 FG% (8.2/14.7), 52.0 3PT% (1.4/2.8), 75.7 FT%

Player comparison: Kristaps Porzingis, Thon Maker

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 12th, NBADraft.net 18th, Bleacher Report 9th, Sports Illustrated 17th, Ringer 12th

5 things to know:

*Bol has a chance to be perfectly suited for this era of NBA unicorns. He is over 7-feet tall, yet is highly skilled for his size. He can run the floor, make plays off the dribble and shoot from outside. He is also an adept shot-blocker with the instincts to maximize his height and length.

*Bol is the son of former Bullets player Manute Bol. His father was drafted by Washington in 1985 and played three seasons with the team to start his career. He later returned to play for the Bullets in 1993 for another year. The elder Bol was 7-foot-7 and is among the tallest players in NBA history. He famously was teammates with Muggsy Bogues, who stood just 5-foot-3.

*He only played in nine games with Oregon due to a stress fracture in his left foot. A stress fracture is always ominous for a basketball player, but especially for a big man. If it weren't for the injury, Bol would probably be in the top-five range. Whichever team takes him will be going high-risk, high-reward, not unlike the Nuggets with Michael Porter Jr. last June.

*Bol unsurprisingly turned heads at the NBA Combine. He measured in about 7-foot-3 and with a 7-7 wingspan. If it weren't for Tacko Fall, those each would have led this year's class. Bol also has a 9-foot-7 1/2-ing standing reach. That means he can nearly touch the rim without jumping.

*Perhaps the most interesting stat when it comes to Bol is his three-point shooting. Though it was a small sample size, he shot 52 percent from long range and on nearly three atempts per game. For a guy his size, having any sort of three-point shot is noteworthy and to shoot at that clip is exceptional, no matter the position. 

Fit with Wizards: Bol would be a great fit for the Wizards in some regards in that he plays a position of need and would offer star potential. He also would add rim protection, which the Wizards sorely lack. And it would be a nice story, Bol beginning his career with the same franchise that his father did.

But Bol is the type of risk that the Wizards may not be in position to take. They ideally would get someone who does not have injury concerns, someone who could step right in and represent a legitimate building block for the future. 

Maybe that changes if the Wizards' medical team gives him the clear. But Bol seems more likely to fit with the Wizards if they pull off a trade to adde more picks. If they moved back from ninth and got another first round selection, taking Bol wouldn't be nearly as risky.

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Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott handcuffed by police at Vegas music festival

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Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott handcuffed by police at Vegas music festival

LAS VEGAS -- Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott was handcuffed by police, but not arrested, after a scuffle involving event staff at a Las Vegas music festival.

Police Officer Laura Meltzer said Monday that the 23-year-old running back was detained briefly early Saturday during the Electric Daisy Carnival at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Cellphone video posted by celebrity website TMZ appeared to show Elliott speaking with a woman and then with several security and event staff members, including one who falls backward over a metal parking area barricade.

Elliott's attorney, Frank Salzano in New York, told TMZ that event security misconstrued the situation and overreacted and that Elliott left Las Vegas for Dallas after the incident to be at his youth football camp Sunday.

Salzano didn't immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press.

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