I’ll preface what you’re about to read with a statement that can be applied to so very many posts and topics in late February.
We’re only now beginning the season of blind hearsay and speculation, a time when smokescreens become brush fires quickly. So while there’s something of importance in anything said by a general manager, there’s also a large potential for rhetoric, and straight lying. Got that? Cool.
While keeping that little disclaimer that can be applied to every rumor from now until late April in mind, know this: Vikings general manager Rick Spielman kicked off his Scouting Combine this afternoon by again saying that, no, he’s not trading Percy Harvin.
“As I stated earlier, we have no intent to trade (him). Anything related to his contract or any discussions will all be kept internally. I think everybody understands what type of player Percy Harvin is. He’s a dynamic playmaker, not only on offense (and) the things that he can do with different positions, but also what he brings us as a kickoff returner.”
Translation: unless we get a package that includes a high first-round pick, we’re not parting with one of the league’s most dynamic wide receivers.
Combined between his receiving and return yardage, Harvin finished with 1,251 yards during the 2012 season despite appearing in only nine games. That includes a 105-yard kickoff return touchdown, and three +100 yard receiving games. Yeah, he’s pretty good at football.
The problem is that he’s not good at being a compatible human in a work environment, as he’s clashed several times with head coach Leslie Frazier. Then there’s the matter of his contract, which has one year remaining on it at a cost of $2.9 million for the 2013 season. If the relationship between the player and management has deteriorated to the point that reaching an agreement on an extension seems difficult at best, then trading him now before the draft when his value is at its peak is wise, because in just over a year, Minnesota will potentially lose Harvin and get nothing in return.
The typical group of wide receiver needy teams would be among the suitors, led by the Dolphins. He’d complement A.J. Green in Cincinnati quite nicely too, and Bill Belichick has always had a Harvin infatuation. But without an offer which meets that premium price, the odds of Spielman trading his only offensive playmaker not named Adrian Peterson are extremely slim.
The Vikings advanced to the playoffs without Harvin over their final seven games almost solely because of Peterson’s near record-setting year as Christian Ponder struggled mightily. Jettisoning Harvin without an immediate replacement would be a massive step back after promising steps forward.