I love Percy Harvin, but I will shed no tears if he is traded before next season. I have marveled at his impossible athleticism and unequaled toughness, yet I have also recoiled from his childish tantrums. As difficult as it will be to replace a player like Percy, it can be done, and it appears the Vikings are about to do just that.
According to this Sid Hartman article, Harvin doesn’t like the Vikings’ coaches or medical staff and wants to go to another team. Not that Sid is always right, but they say “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire”, and it’s like Mt. St. Helens circa 1980 around Winter Park right now.
I want Percy to stay because he is dangerous as a kick returner, wide receiver, and running back. I want him to stay because he plays with fire and passion and shows no fear when the ball is in his hands. I want him to stay because he is capable of scoring a touchdown every time he touches the ball.
I want Percy to leave because he repeatedly flips out on his coaches. I want him to leave because he will get top WR money but will be an injury risk with his smaller size and reckless style. (His fearlessness is a double-edged sword.) I want him to leave so the Vikings won’t get stuck with an untradeable player once he signs a big contract and really goes off the deep end.
Rick Spielman has been doing what any good GM would do and has maintained the “We’re not trading Percy” narrative. If you are to have any leverage in trade talks, other teams must believe there is a chance you will walk away and keep Harvin. You must keep this ruse alive so that one of the GMs salivating over Percy’s talents will finally break down and give you something significant in return.
It appears the Vikings hold all the cards in this scenario. They can trade Percy, and he can do nothing about it. If they want to ship him to Jacksonville (i.e. the Siberia of the NFL) they can. They can franchise him, which would mean a $10 million one year deal, but Percy would remain a Viking. They could also do nothing, and if Percy refuses to report to the team, the Vikes could deactivate him, pay him his modest salary for next season, and force him to sit out a year, which can torpedo an NFL career.
Of those possibilities, trading seems the most likely. The Vikes aren’t going to sit Percy and cut off their nose to spite their face when he leaves the next season, and I doubt they will make an angry player even angrier by forcing him to play on a one year deal when he’s on the verge of a career-making payday. (You thought he was a problem now…)
So, barring some come-to-Jesus moment for Percy, it appears he will be shipped somewhere else for next season. This will allow the Vikes to gain some more draft picks and also spend on a free agent WR who doesn’t scream at his head coaches. Will this combo end up compensating for or even surpassing what Harvin brought to the team? I sure as hell hope so.
I want Percy and the Purple to kiss and make up, but it appears as if a break-up is inevitable. Good luck to you, Percy, and if I could give you one nugget of wisdom before you go, it would be this: Do not take career advice from Randy Moss.