Instead of dealing him out of town or sitting on their hands during the final year of his rookie contract, the Minnesota Vikings should do what it takes to re-sign receiver Percy Harvin to a new deal right now.
The Vikings essentially have those three options: Trade him to the highest bidder (and relatively soon), wait out the final year of his deal and see what happens or give him a new deal and resume the harmony, for lack of a better word.
Harvin, who turns only 25 years old in May, is scheduled to enter the 2013 season on the final year of his rookie deal. He'll make just $2.9 million in base salary next year, a true bargain no matter which way you slice it up.
Understandably, Harvin wants to be paid. Handsomely.
According to Tom Pelissero of ESPN 1500, Harvin is rumored around the league to want $10-12 million annually in his next deal. Such a commitment would put Harvin in the top 10 of highest-paid receivers in the NFL.
Like most negotiations, Harvin is starting his aim high. The Vikings have likely begun their offer low. And if all goes well, the two sides can eventually find a logical middle ground.
Even if the Vikings have to give in towards Harvin's side, such a deal needs to get done—sooner rather than later, too.
The trade route should already be ruled out. General manager Rick Spielman has maintained at the NFL Scouting Combine that the team has no "intent" to deal Harvin.
Kevin Seifert @SeifertESPN
Spielman repeating his pat statement: "We have no intent" to trade Percy Harvin. Translate as you will. #Vikings2013-2-21 17:04:55
While such a statement could be a smokescreen, it'd be smarter if it wasn't.
In no way will the Vikings receive a fair compensation back for Harvin, who might be the most versatile and explosive weapon in the NFL today. A second-round pick in return? Please. Spielman would be making a huge mistake in pulling the trigger on such a deal.
Even if Spielman received a second-round pick and hit on a receiver in the 2013 NFL draft, such a scenario wouldn't compare to keeping Harvin around and complementing him—not replacing—with another rookie receiver.
There's always the real risk of shipping Harvin off to another NFL city and watching him blossom into a bonafide star.
Playing the "wait and see" game with Harvin doesn't make much sense either.
If Harvin has a huge season in 2013, the Vikings will be even more inclined to keep him around. But he'll also bump up his price tag to a level Minnesota might not want to go, and a scenario where the Vikings have to choose between letting Harvin walk, franchise tagging him or giving him even more money probably doesn't have a favorable ending.
Maybe more importantly, keeping an underpaid Harvin around on a one-year deal sounds like the recipe for a locker-room disaster.
Given those three options, the Vikings have a fairly clear answer in this continuing drama.
Minnesota should break the bank for Harvin, return their dynamic playmaker to one of the game's most improved rosters and then keep all fingers crossed that it doesn't backfire.
It's certainly a risk, but trading Harvin doesn't make business sense and letting him play out the final year multiplies the problem. The Vikings should lock up Harvin now.