Speculation has been rampant as to where the Minnesota Vikings might end up exiling Percy Harvin, one of the NFL's most explosive players. But before general manager Rick Spielman makes any deal, he should take his time considering what he has to give up.
Even though Spielman has indicated he has no intentions of trading Harvin, the reality could come down that he has no choice. Last season Harvin's frustration with the Vikings' offense reached a point where he argued with head coach Leslie Frazier on the sideline of the Seattle game.
Coincidentally it was also the game he suffered a high ankle sprain. Even though there were seven weeks left in the season, and a potential playoff in the works, Harvin never made it back onto the field.
The biggest problem facing Spielman is that with the NFL rookie wage scale he will not get full value in a trade for Harvin. Because it's easier to sign first-round draft picks to reasonably priced contracts, no team will be willing to surrender their first-round pick in a deal.
Harvin, the 22nd overall pick in the draft in 2009 contributed from the start. That season he earned the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year. In his first three seasons he led the Vikings in all-purpose yards.
Last year, even though he missed the final seven games, he still led the Vikings with 62 receptions and 677 receiving yards. This is not a talent that you can replace with a second- or third-round draft pick.
Excluding Adrian Peterson's spectacular season in 2012, when he had seven games with at least 150 yards and five runs of at least 60 yards, Harvin has been the most versatile and explosive player on the team.
A defensive coordinator's nightmare, Harvin has the ability to line up anywhere on the field. He typically lines up as the slot receiver. From this position he has been just as effective as a receiver as a runner on the end-around.
Harvin has also lined up in the backfield as a halfback as well as next to Ponder in the shotgun formation. He has been described as a receiver with a running back mentality, or a running back with the receiver's ability to catch the football.
Harvin is also the Vikings' career leader in kick returns for touchdowns with five. He owns the franchise record with a 105-yard kickoff return and his 27.9 yards per return is the best average among players with more than one return.
About the only thing he hasn't done for the Vikings has been to throw a pass. Of course, as the Vikings' best receiver it would be difficult to throw himself a pass.
Another reason for Spielman to take pause in moving Harvin is the fact that his teammates recognize what he brings to the team. Quarterback Christian Ponder spoke for the team in a tweet from Pro Football Talk on Tuesday.
Christian Ponder says Vikings players don't want to lose Percy Harvin wp.me/p14QSB-7iTe— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) February 18, 2013
This is not a surprise since Harvin was Ponder's favorite target last season outside of the red zone.
On Tuesday, Adrian Peterson was on KFAN last Tuesday talking with Paul Allen about the season. When the subject of Harvin came up Peterson was clear about how he felt about his teammate on offense.
To be honest with you, I don't know if we will or not. But me, individually, and giving you my opinion, I wouldn't trade him for nothing... To do the things that he's able to do, I don't think there will be a player able to do it better than him. Ever.
Perhaps the biggest reason to take some time before considering trading Harvin would be to allow him and Frazier work out any issues and allow the Vikings to have two of the best offensive players on the field at the same time.