4 Teams That Must Pull the Trigger on Percy Harvin Trade
Percy Harvin wants out of Minnesota.
Percy Harvin was nowhere to be found at the Minnesota Vikings' mandatory minicamp practice Wednesday afternoon, and no one seems to know when the star receiver will be back in purple.
Unhappy with several issues with the team that drafted him in the first round in 2009, Harvin requested a trade, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.
In a quick and interesting chain of events, Harvin would attract some attention as one of the NFL's better slot receivers and return men.
Here, let's take a look at which teams must pursue the dynamic threat.
Denver is missing the slot position and a consistently reliable return man with Eddie Royal in San Diego.
And considering that Peyton Manning is under center, Percy Harvin would have an excellent time in the Mile High City. For one, the Broncos present a solid running game with Willis McGahee and rookie Ronnie Hillman.
At receiver, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker are the targets out wide and with Harvin in the slot, the Broncos field a complete offensive unit. Harvin is an upgraded version of Royal, as he gained 345 rushing yards last season (more than Royal's best on the ground) and included two scores.
Harvin will widen defenses and beat any single coverage over the middle to take pressure off Manning and allow the future Hall of Famer to dice up defenses. An eerily similar player to Pierre Garcon, Harvin can be used on receiver middle screen, bubble screens and reverses to keep opponents off balance.
His entire skill set will provide favorable matchups against Thomas and Decker in passing situations, and help the Broncos win the field position battle. Courtesy of his 2,609 career kickoff return yards, Harvin can get Denver excellent starting field position.
In short, that only makes Manning more dangerous to a defense.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have an upgraded receiving corps with Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson, but a more reputable slot man is needed.
Mike Thomas was the Jags' best receiver last year and he only managed 415 yards on 44 catches and one score. Although Blaine Gabbert was the quarterback, Harvin also had a rookie quarterback in Christian Ponder.
Still, Percy managed to gain 967 yards on 87 receptions, including six touchdowns. Thomas wasn't much of a factor on the ground, and even with a healthy Adrian Peterson the Vikings still used Harvin in the rushing attack.
With a much more presentable offense now, Harvin would thrive in Jacksonville. Jet sweeps, quick screens and anything over the middle would benefit Gabbert's development and keep defenses from zeroing in on Blackmon during passing downs.
Plus, the AFC South is a stronger defensive division than given credit for, and if they want to compete with Houston, Jacksonville must enhance its offensive dynamics.
Larry Fitzgerald is always going to be the main man in Arizona, however, the addition of rookie receiver Michael Floyd certainly puts another piece of the Cardinals' offensive puzzle together.
Percy Harvin can be the piece to finish it.
Already fielding a respectable ground game, Arizona's offense will travel to new heights in 2012—provided that Beanie Wells gets a little more consistent. That process can speed up quite a bit though with Harvin in the slot.
The receiver combo of Fitz and Floyd is among the best in the game right now, and the presence of Harvin in between prevents a defense from being overly aggressive against Arizona's vulnerable pass protection.
In the passing game, Harvin's quickness will bode well versus any blitz, and he'll always see mismatches with Fitz and Floyd out wide. This then creates improved running lanes for Wells and sets up the play-action pass.
The NFC West may not be the best division, but it's one of the better ones in terms of defense. So, Harvin to Arizona allows the Cardinals to open up the playbook and be multidimensional.
As if the Carolina Panthers need any more improvements to the offense, a slot receiver would certainly suffice.
Last season, the Cats ranked No. 13 in passing, No. 3 in rushing and No. 7 in total offense despite finishing 6-10. Also, Carolina averaged 25.4 points per game (ranked No. 5) and closed out 2011 with a 4-2 record.
All of this can be attributed to Cam Newton, but the former No. 1 pick does need a bit more help around him. Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell are a great combo, and the running game is dynamic and deep enough to help field a balanced attack.
Getting Percy Harvin would only enhance Carolina's attack and allow the Panthers to get creative. Play-action off jet sweeps, the wild cat and anything up the middle from a fake to Harvin will freeze the defense enough to be more explosive.
Everything the Cats do in their offense could be set up off of Harvin's presence in the slot, and with Newton's mobility the Panthers would crush the weaker defenses of the NFC South en route to being NFC Wild Card contenders.
John Rozum on Twitter.