Percy Harvin Unhappy with Role in Offense: Breaking Down What That Really Means

Andrew Garda@andrew_gardaFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 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 complaint about his role isn't a new one for Percy Harvin, who skipped minicamp because of it (and other things) last summer.

Harvin won't publicly speak about the issue, though reports have been that he remains unhappy in the offense (via

Listening to the issues closely, it's clear there are a lot of reasons for his continuing dissatisfaction.

Head coach Leslie Frazier insists Harvin's role is critical to the club and the front office continues to make as much noise as it can that he is going to be a part of their team and that it expects him to show up in training camp next summer.

You can understand Harvin's concern in many ways—because the latter half of the 2012 season was all Adrian Peterson all the time.

Returning from a season-ending injury, on the heels of one of the greatest running back performances in the history of the NFL, with a questionable player at quarterback might rattle the most confident of players.

In Harvin's case, as he heads into the last year of a contract, that uncertainty would only be exacerbated.

The thing is, Harvin was the focal point of the passing offense already. In the nine games he played in 2012, Harvin had 85 targets. Michael Jenkins was the next closest with 50. No other wide receiver approached that. Tight end Kyle Rudolph had only 58 targets in that same stretch.

Even missing half the season, Harvin ended up with more receiving yards than anyone on the team.

It's hard to know for sure how much different the offense would have been had Harvin not been hurt, but even as healthy as Peterson was at the end of the season, it's unlikely he would have seen 348 carries for the year coming off ACL and MCL surgery. The reason Peterson was running the ball that often was because Harvin was injured and the rest of the offense was inept.

Which brings us to whether Harvin feels Christian Ponder is the issue or something else. According to Ponder, the two have a good relationship.

Whether that means Harvin trusts Ponder is up for debate, though.

Since Harvin has to know how vital he was to the early portion of the season and that his value to the offense is unlikely to change, the question really becomes whether he believes in Ponder or not.

There is ample room to question the young quarterback, as he looked awful for three quarters of the season. It's a bit of a chicken-and-egg scenario, though. Was Ponder awful because his receivers were or were his receivers awful because Ponder was?

It's way too early to say Ponder is a bust, as it is too early to feel confident he is the future. While Ponder says his relationship with Harvin is good, Harvin hasn't said much of anything.

Ultimately it's going to come down to numbers and whether Ponder can help Harvin get enough of them. Because if Harvin's issue is the offense and his role in it, I put it to you that his true concern is the offense and how productive he can be in it as it stands heading into 2013.

There's a more than subtle difference there, especially in a contract year.

Larry Fitzgerald is the focus of the offense for the Arizona Cardinals, but that didn't help him have a good season. Instead, he had his second-worst season ever and failed to top 1,000 for the first time since 2007.

No, in a contract year it's not about your role—it's about your numbers and what they mean for your contract negotiations.

Sure, Harvin is worried about the first but mostly because he's worried about the second as well.

In the end, whether or not he buys into Ponder is probably going to be the deciding factor in his making it to camp and remaining a Viking.

He's unhappy with his role in the offense, but that's because he's worried about that offense's role in his next contract negotiation.


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