Why Vikings Will Regret Decision to Not Trade Percy Harvin

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystFebruary 16, 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

The future of wide receiver Percy Harvin with the Minnesota Vikings has been the hot storyline over the past couple weeks in the Twin Cities.

That story appears to have reached at least a temporary conclusion, and while it may be what fans of the team want to hear, in the long term it's a decision the Vikings are going to live to regret.

According to KTSP Radio Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman put to rest the speculation about Harvin being traded, at least for now.

"We have no intent of trading Percy Harvin," the Vikings' general manager said during a session with a small group of reporters on Friday at Winter Park.

Asked specifically if that means the Vikings won't trade Harvin, Spielman said, "Again, there is no intent to trade Percy Harvin. He is a very good football player. I'm not going to talk about any contractual issues because those are kept internal."

Granted, this is far from an absolute "no-way no-how will we trade Harvin" denial, but it would certainly seem that the Vikings aren't shopping their talented but enigmatic fifth-year wide receiver.

The problem is that this denial does nothing to address the real issue facing the Vikings.

Harvin, who caught 62 passes for 677 yards and three touchdowns in nine games last year, is entering the final year of his contract. Pro Football Talk reported via ESPN on Thursday that Harvin may be prepared to hold out this summer if he doesn't receive a deal that makes him one of the highest-paid wide receivers in the NFL.

The Vikings would be insane to give Harvin that sort of a long-term contract right now.

That's no knock on Harvin's talent. When Harvin has the football in his hands, he's among the most dangerous players in the entire National Football League.

However, durability and attitude have been issues with Harvin since the moment he arrived in the NFL. Only once in four seasons has Harvin played in all 16 games and he still has yet to record 1,000 receiving yards in a season.

In fact, even the holdout routine isn't a new act.

Just last summer there were rumblings that Harvin could hold out and wanted a trade, but Harvin showed up for training camp. Harvin retreated to Florida after being placed on injured reserve, but head coach Leslie Frazier simply chalked it up to Harvin choosing to rehab there.

Fast forward to this week and according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Harvin's latest beef isn't about money. Now it's "the scope of the passing game."

Hey, let's scrap the quarterback and give Harvin $100 million! Maybe that will make him happy!

At this point, it doesn't matter why Harvin's not happy in Minnesota. All that matters is he isn't, and that's not going to miraculously change by the end of the 2013 season.

Unfortunately, all the other teams in the NFL know this too, so any offers that the Vikings get for Harvin are apt to be lowballs—unless it comes with an assurance that Harvin will ink an extension with his new team.

That puts the Vikings in a tricky spot, as does their lack of talent behind Harvin at wideout.

The team still needs to take the first relatively reasonable offer they get for Harvin and run with it.

It's not like we haven't seen a precedent for how this whole scenario will work out.

Mike Wallace wanted a long-term extension that the Pittsburgh Steelers were not inclined to give him a year ago. That led to a contentious offseason, the franchise tag and a holdout that culminated in a miserable 2012 season.

Now Wallace will enter free agency and is all but certain to depart—and all the Steelers will have gotten from the whole affair in return is heartburn.

Wallace isn't the only prominent wide receiver hitting the market this season. From Wallace to Dwayne Bowe to lesser-known options like Brandon Gibson, there will be players out there that could soften the blow of dealing Percy Harvin.

It's not easy to deal away one of your biggest offensive threats, especially when you're a team coming off a surprise playoff run and preparing to move into a brand new downtown stadium in a few years.

However, if the Vikings really want to keep moving forward towards that new home and becoming a real power in the NFC, then it's a decision that needs to be made.

There's no point in having people on the train who have no intention of seeing it all the way to the station.


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