To quote Ron Burgundy: "Well, that escalated quickly."
I haven't read anything this week I didn't already know three weeks ago, but apparently football writers outside of Minnesota have decided that the Vikings-Percy Harvin situation is suddenly a big story and that the Vikes are really, really open to trading him.
I made my feelings known on this subject back in December when Harvin was placed on injured reserve and people first started questioning his long-term future with the Vikings. Trading Harvin makes little sense from a personnel standpoint. Minnesota's passing attack was the worst in the NFL in 2012 and the team needs to add - not subtract - receiving weapons to the roster.
What really sucks is that there is little chance the Vikings will get anything close to fair value for Harvin by trading him. When the Vikings traded Randy Moss in 2005 they got the #7 overall pick from the Raiders, as well as linebacker Napolean Harris and a 7th round pick. When the Vikings traded for Jared Allen in 2008, they gave up their first round pick and two third rounders to Kansas City. If the Vikings are really shopping Harvin, with the way the new rookie salary scale works teams are reluctant to give up first round picks. The chance to acquire a blue-chip player and have him under your control at a relatively cheap rate for four years is not something any team is going to give away - even for a talent like Harvin. What I've read is the Vikings might only get a second rounder (and perhaps another late-round pick or two), and maybe only a third rounder for Harvin. That's a pretty poor haul for a guy who was being talked about as a potential MVP candidate before Adrian Peterson actually won the MVP.
Still, as much as it doesn't make sense from the outside (and, yes, I realize there are plenty of questions about Harvin's temper and his attitude), I believe we have to accept that when the 2013 starts, Harvin will not be wearing a Minnesota Vikings uniform. The "news" this week isn't actually new. But it is being reported by plenty of media outlets. And as we've seen in so many other instances, when stories and rumors start circulating about such-and-such a guy being unhappy and about to be traded, that player usually does get traded.
I also think we have to look at what head coach Leslie Frazier and general manager Rick Spielman had to say about Harvin of late. In a recent interview Frazier said he hoped "everything will work out" with Harvin and the Vikings. And when Spielman was asked whether he wanted Harvin to be a Viking in 2013, he didn't answer the question. Instead he said this:
"We love Percy Harvin as a football player. Everybody sees what he does for our football team. Percy Harvin is a blue-chip player and he is a game-changer. In fact he
was on track to be a potential MVP. We were very fortunate to have two
players, and we had one that did win the MVP award [Adrian Peterson]. So we're very fortunate to have two players of that caliber on our football team."
Hmmm. As ESPN's Kevin Seifert noted in this blog post, both Frazier and Spielman had the chance to declare that Harvin was going to be a Viking in 2013 and beyond. They didn't do that. And when two of the big decision-makers in the organization go out of their way to avoid saying that Harvin will play for the Vikings again, I take that as a clear sign we've seen the last of him in a Vikings uniform.
Some fans think Frazier and Spielman's comments are just a negotiating ploy by the Vikings. I say they are trying to get fans prepared for the day they trade Harvin away for a second or third round pick.