Show No Percy: The Curious Case of Percy Harvin
It appears Percy Harvin may have worn out his welcome in Viking-land. There were whispers that his ankle wasn’t the only reason that sidelined Harvin in December when Minnesota was pushing hard, ultimately successfully, for a playoff spot. While not officially being benched for “contract detrimental” it seems that Harvin has repeatedly had heated exchanges with coach Leslie Frazier over various topics. Harvin is as a dynamic of an offensive talent as there could possibly be in a 5’10” 190 pound receiver. He is blessed with exceptional agility, speed and toughness that makes him a threat from anywhere on the field. The Vikings have lined him up at both wideout positions, in the slot, in the backfield and has made gamebreaking plays at special teams. Opposing defenses first focus on Adrian and then spend any additional energy and time making sure they account for number 12.
Unfortunately, Harvin is basically a pain the-you-know-what to deal with combined with a pretty lengthy injury history. He legitimately suffers from debilitating migraines and has recurring ankle and knee issues that accompany a guy of his stature that goes ham every play and doesn’t run out of bounds ala Ted Ginn, Jr. No one questions whether Harvin gives 100%. The problem is he has a Steve Smith-type mean streak that he actually acts upon, reportedly hurling weights at ex-coach Brad Childress at one point in 2010. Harvin had a history of problems in high school, allegedly inciting a riot at one point. In college, a lot has been made of the type of program ex-Gator coach Urban Meyer ran, and Harvin being in the “Circle of Trust” thought the rules applied differently to him even allegedly throwing wide receiver coach Billy Gonzales to the ground by his neck. These are all alleged incidents; Percy Harvin, as far as we know has never gotten into serious or documented trouble. He even won the Korey Stringer Good Guy award in 2010, given to a Vikings player who exemplifies professionalism when dealing with the media.
But consider the Minnesota organization, once-bitten and twice-shy. Diva players who think the rules don’t apply was the rule in previous regimes and the front office has made complete progress in drafting guys who won’t end up on the police blotter. Vikings coach Leslie Frazier is as even-keeled as they come but make no mistake; he has full confidence of the front office and won’t stand for insubordination, manipulation or faking injuries. Frazier went 3-13 in 2011 and only received a one year extension this year after going a sparkling 10-6 in 2012. They’ve drafted solidly and he doesn’t owe particular allegiance to Harvin as he was a leftover from a previous era. The pressure is on for Frazier if he wants a long term deal.
With Peterson and a young Jarius Wright stepping up in Harvin's absence at the end of the year and pushing us into the playoffs, the Vikings don't need to feel held hostage to Harvin. We've seen Musgrave has "life after Harvin" in his playbook. Right now, its convincing Harvin that Ponder is a quarterback we can win with, and give him top 10 money for receivers.
Maybe Harvin, temperamental as he is talented, doesn’t want to play for the Vikings. He was thought to have a trade request in June 2012 before Minnesota went 10-6. If the Vikings want to trade him, there are numerous franchises who may entertain offers. As he is, it won't be for two first rounders the fans in Minnesota believe he is worth. It is likely that Belichick in New England would like to take his aging trouble child in Wes Welker and replace him with Harvin, which may be one loud mouth for another except one is younger with even more upside. Regardless, the Vikings should play coy and send mixed messages to opposing franchises so they don’t get low-balled on a problem child, like when they traded Randy Moss to Oakland for a fourth-round pick.