Vikings Should Absolutely Not Trade Percy Harvin This Offseason

Andrew GardaFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2013

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 04: Percy Harvin #12 of the Minnesota Vikings returns a kick during a game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on November 4, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

It's no secret that Percy Harvin's relationship to the Vikings has seemed strained at times over the last few years.

The latest moment to trigger murmurs of his dissatisfaction was his absence from the facilities (via once he was placed on injured reserve.

It does strike one as odd, especially given that the team was up against a wall and could have used some veteran leadership on the offense during its big run in December and in their playoff game.

It's not totally unheard of for a player to skip out once he's on injured reserve, even when the playoffs are at stake. His job is to get healthy—how and where he chooses to do it is up to him and the team.

However, it does beg the question as to how much Harvin wants to be in Minnesota, or perhaps how much the Vikings want him.

Some media and fans are asking: should they trade him?

Absolutely, 100 percent no.

I said this last offseason and I'll say it again—the Vikings need to find a way to bridge whatever gap there is between Harvin and management. Forget figuring out how or when the rift happened. Just figure out how to fix it.

Because the difference in the passing offense with Harvin versus without him was noticeable.

With Harvin, Ponder threw over 200 yards five out of eight games, but only managed that number twice in games in which Harvin was sidelined. Ponder threw for 10 of his 18 touchdowns during that span as well.

Certainly all the yards and all the touchdowns didn't go to Harvin, but his presence pulled coverage from other players and freed up passing lanes for Ponder. A dynamic receiver like Harvin also helped take pressure off Ponder by providing him with someone he could trust in big moments of games.

Harvin also helped patch the run game together early when Adrian Peterson was still rounding back into form. Even if he didn't put up huge yards—and he didn't—he was always threat to break a big play.

But the biggest reason the Vikings need to patch things up with Harvin is that he is simply the best receiver they have.

Maybe that's akin to damning him with faint praise given the dearth of talent around him. But missing on Jerome Simpson and waiting for Jarius Wright to develop means that losing a talented receiver like Harvin will set this offense back even further than where it was at the close of the 2012 season.

Harvin only played in nine games and yet remained the team's leading receiver after an entire season because nobody else was capable of stepping up. The only receiver with an excuse was Jarius Wright, who was only activated well after Harvin was gone.

Aside from that, the receivers were beyond ugly. Outside of Week 17's win over Green Bay, Ponder was pretty inconsistent. Some of the anemic passing production was the result of relying so much on Peterson, but much of the reason they leaned on Peterson to begin with was because of the passing offense's inability to function at even a low level.

If you ditch Harvin, you set this offense back. You rob Ponder of one of the few reliable options he has to throw to—a real dangerous move when you are entering what appears to be a critical year for the young quarterback.

Can you add to the offense by hitting free agency? Sure. But, as we have seen many times before, it can take a while for new receiver-quarterback combinations to gel.

Adding a Mike Wallace, Greg Jennings or Dwayne Bowe is good in theory, but all you're doing is treading water if you get them and remove Harvin.

The Vikings have been through a lot with Harvin so far: migraines, contract squabbles, complaints about playing time—all have made it a sometimes rough ride. But as he is maturing as a player, he has shown his value.

It would be a bad idea to move him now.


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