Why Percy Harvin Will Be Traded Before the Season Starts
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The Minnesota Vikings have a situation on their hands.
Besides the fact that they have quickly become one of the youngest teams in the NFL and have limited proven commodities on their roster entering the 2012 season, they now must face the reality that this season could be the first Percy Harvin isn't a Minnesota Viking.
Minnesota's No. 1 receiver has demanded a trade because he isn't "very happy" with his situation in Minnesota. He hasn't specified what the problem is nor has he backed off from his demands since they were initially made on Wednesday June 20.
Some, like myself, have said the Vikings should not give into his demands and keep the budding star in a Minnesota uniform. He's young, talented and about to reach his prime.
Others have said do it, it's time to move on. If he doesn't want to be here then don't let the door hit you on the backside Percy.
That's the point discussed here.
Percy Harvin kickoff return against the San Francisco 49ers in 2009.
The NFL is full of receivers who are either sure-handed, fast or versatile. The NFL is not loaded with players who possess all three of those traits.
Percy Harvin is one of those receivers.
His trade demands welcomed discussions about what his value on the open market would be, and if Minnesota trades Harvin, will they receive good value for their first-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft?
Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press suggested Minnesota would expect nothing less than a future first round pick for the 24-year-old wide receiver. He also said many teams would be hesitant to deal theirs.
What Minnesota could get would depend on its trading partner's need for a top receiver like Harvin and its ability to deal picks.
In three years, he has returned four kickoffs for touchdowns and accumulated 2,609 yards on kickoffs in that time. He had his best receiving year in 2011 as he caught 87 passes for 967 yards and six touchdowns.
My bet is Minnesota could find someone to deal a first-round pick and an assortment of later round picks for the 2009 member of the Pro Bowl. He's on the verge of greatness at his position and is one of the league's best kick returners.
Someone would give Minnesota a great deal.
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While listening to Judd & Phunn of 1500ESPN around the time of Percy Harvin's trade demand, they discussed the side of Harvin Minnesota fans don't see much of.
They said Harvin is a dynamic personality whom many in the media did not know well beyond his on-field performances. But they believed that Harvin, like many standout players, had a complex personality.
Much of their talk centered around Harvin's infatuation with Randy Moss when the Vikings acquired the future Hall-of-Fame receiver in 2010.
They talked about how everyone noticed that Harvin was shy around Moss, despite having no such problem with Brett Favre. They said he "idolized" Moss during his brief return to Minnesota.
They added that Moss' cancerous personality began to rub off on the impressionable receiver and the media and teammates noticed a difference.
As Harvin becomes more and more skilled at his position there is cause for concern that he too could become a prima-donna type like Moss before him.
If that day comes, it could be difficult to keep Harvin in check. And with a young locker room that would be far from ideal.
Unhappiness = Poor Performance?
Dwight Howard played at a top-level with the Orlando Magic this season despite his trade demands. But it made the situation uncomfortable for him and the Magic organization.
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Think about it. If you're unhappy with your job then the quality of your work may well decrease. When you're upset you may not work as hard, for a number of different reasons.
It's the same thing for professional athletes.
Professional athletes are people too. They are just like you in that they let their emotions interfere with their business performance. Their situations are just more public.
This is not to say that Percy Harvin will perform poorly if he's still unhappy and in purple & gold on Sept. 9, but it's very possible.
Look at Dwight Howard with the Orlando Magic this past season. He battled with the front office and coaching staff all season and still played at a high level despite his unhappiness.
If Harvin sulks around (like Howard) and under performs to his abilities, then his trade value decreases and he hurts the team. It's a double negative the franchise may not wish to experience and one that can be avoided with a trade (or by easing Harvin's unhappiness).
Injuries and migraines have forced Percy Harvin to miss just three games in three NFL seasons but has been limited within many more of those games because of them.
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Over his three-year career it seems like anything that can happen to an NFL player has happened to Percy Harvin.
He entered the league in 2009 with a history of migraines that have forced him out of the lineup or into a reduced role while at Florida, which has continued into his NFL career.
That coupled with the physical nature in which he plays the game increases the risk of injury that much more.
The former Florida Gator returns kicks and can be featured in the backfield, which also provide him increased opportunities to get injured.
He has only missed three games (completely) due to injury during his NFL career but he's missed much more time throughout the course of games due to nagging injuries here and there.
Harvin hasn't proven himself able to remain on the field enough to be a legitimate No. 1 receiver in the NFL, and it wouldn't be terrible to deal him before he proves that because there will come a time where the league will reduce his perceived value due to reduced playing time caused by injury.
It's Better Than Letting Harvin Walk for Nothing
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There are two years left in Percy Harvin's rookie contract. If Minnesota so chooses it can hold onto the talented wide receiver for those two years and (potentially) watch him walk away after the 2013 season.
That would be a disaster for a franchise longing for a true No. 1 receiver.
Come the 2013 offseason Harvin will turn 26-years-old and be in the prime of his career (unless injuries have altered his career significantly).
Minnesota hopes that Jarius Wright or Greg Childs (2012 NFL Draft selections) can develop into difference-makers at the wide receiver position but neither has played a down in the NFL yet. There are also few other wide receivers on Minnesota's roster with the potential to become playmakers at the wide receiver position.
But don't let me pull you too far ahead.
The 2012 season hasn't even happened yet. Minnesota has time to make Harvin happy and move this mess into the past. It could simply be a contract concern (something that should be easily taken care of), or it could be something much more.
Regardless, Minnesota would lose its one difference-maker at the position if Harvin leaves after 2013. That would be a disaster for a franchise trying to build a strong foundation around its 2011 first-round pick Christian Ponder.
Yes, two more years of Percy would be great. But if the franchise can't make him happy then it can't expect him to stay. If he's not expected to stay then best to get what you can for him while you can.