Reports out of Minnesota indicate that the Vikings will pursue trading Percy Harvin.
A serious MVP candidate at the halfway point last season, Harvin got the ultimate endorsement from the player who ended up winning MVP at season’s end: his teammate Adrian Peterson.
“To be honest with you, I don’t know if we will or not. But me, individually, and giving you my opinion, I wouldn’t trade him for nothing,” the Vikings’ running back said Tuesday in an interview with KFAN-FM in Minneapolis. “To do the things that he’s able to do, I don’t think there will be a player able to do it better than him. Ever.”
Harvin showcased that before severely injuring his left ankle on Nov. 4. Through eight and a half games, he recorded 62 catches for 677 receiving yards and three touchdown grabs while also carrying it 22 times for 96 rushing yards and another touchdown. He also had a 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, the fifth one in his four years in the NFL.
Until his setback in Seattle, Harvin led the league in all-purpose yards.
So why is Minnesota mulling a trade for the most versatile player in the NFL? More than likely, Harvin’s reported rift with head coach Leslie Frazier has grown too large.
Sources have told Mike Max of WCCO in Minneapolis that GM Rick Spielman will in fact look to shop Harvin, and that may have something to do with a heated exchange in November with Frazier. The incident happened in front of teammates, and some may have been around when Harvin had a similar confrontation with former coach Brad Childress. The verbal spat with Frazier is also believed to be the real reason that Harvin was unexpectedly placed on injured reserve.
Harvin had expressed a desire to be traded last summer, but the Vikings never caved to his wishes.
Now, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio is reporting that Harvin intends to hold out of the final year of his contract with the team unless he gets a new deal. The Vikings have to decide whether they want to sign him to a long-term deal that makes him one of the highest-paid receivers in the NFL or trade him. Harvin is in the last year of a deal that will pay him $2.9 million in 2013.
Harvin’s departure may come as a result of rocky relationships, money or a combination of both. However, it’s unlikely that the Vikings — 31st in the NFL in passing last season with a developing QB in Christian Ponder and an otherwise unimpressive receiving corps — wouldn’t re-sign a player of Harvin’s ability for other speculated reasons, such as Harvin being injury-prone.
Before last season, Harvin had only missed three games over three years and played the entire 2011 season. And while Harvin is believed to have suffered a torn ligament in his ankle, which is more severe than originally thought during the season, the recovery time is still only 4-6 weeks for what is considered a Grade 3 ankle sprain. Plus, Frazier confirmed on Feb. 5 that Harvin passed his exit physical.
Incredibly, it won’t take much for Harvin to exit Minnesota as the Vikings are only asking for a third-round draft pick in exchange for Harvin, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Some would agree, including Peterson, that making that trade is like swapping the steak for the potatoes. Needless to say, there will be a lot of teams interested.
San Francisco may be the most likely destination for a few reasons: 1) The NFC champion’s receiving corps is a big question mark this offseason. Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams are coming off serious knee injuries, and Randy Moss is unlikely to return. 2) The 49ers have 14, yes, 14 draft picks in the 2013 draft, and three of them happen to be in the third round. 3) Imagine Colin Kaepernick and Harvin in the pistol formation and on read-option handoffs. 4) The Niners can also offer backup QB Alex Smith, who is expected to be traded or released before April 1 anyways, and he can be an upgrade over Ponder for the Vikings. With the 49ers free of Smith’s $8.5 million per year contract, that would give the team money to extend Harvin.
Still, San Francisco may balk on bringing Harvin to the west coast. Although trading Smith would give them money for Harvin in the present, the upcoming future may have the 49ers financially strapped. That’s because Kaepernick can renegotiate his rookie deal after next year, and receiver Michael Crabtree has two years left on his.
There’s also a few reasons why New England might acquire Harvin: 1) Harvin would be a great replacement for Wes Welker in the slot. 2) Welker and Brandon Lloyd may be gone, forcing the Patriots to search for playmakers at receiver next season. 3) Patriots coach Bill Belichick has publicly said he “loves” Harvin, most likely because of his versatility. 4) Belichick won’t be deterred by Harvin’s disputes with coaches.
Seattle is another potential landing spot for Harvin as his former offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell, now holds the same position with the Seahawks.