Dear Rick and Leslie,
In regards to 'The Percy Situation', as we shall now refer to this here on DN (at least when I'm writing about it), I wish to offer you a sage piece of advice from latter day poet-philosopher Leslie Nielsen:
So, Percy Harvin wants to be traded. Honestly, I'm surprised. Harvin seems very much like a non-complaining type of guy, and although he seemed to be high maintenance at times, he never came across as a diva or a pain in the butt. And this situation isn't good, no matter how you look at it. Could it be posturing to get a new contract? Sure. Could he be genuinely unhappy and want a trade? Sure. I'm really not sure what to think at this point, other than trading Harvin would be foolish for the Vikings, no matter how you slice it.
There are a couple things at work here that we really need to keep an eye on. The first one is his relationship with the head coach. Now, had Brad Childress still been running the show, my reaction would have been more along the lines of 'wow, surprised it took this long'...but with Leslie Frazier as the guy, it's even more puzzling.
Frazier seems like a genuinely decent guy, and appears to really care about each player on his team. Unless Frazier is a completely different person away from the public and the press, I would have a hard time believing that Harvin has an issue with the coach. This relationship will go a long way in deterining whether or not Harvin remains a Viking.
Secondly, as Kevin Seifert pointed out on Twitter not too long ago, this is the first real crisis of the post Triangle of Authority era, and it will be up to GM Rick Spielman to take control of this situation, sit down with Harvin, and try to work through this issue or set of issues to keep Harvin happy and in Minnesota.
Because trading Harvin isn't realistic, and unless there's something below the surface that isn't fixable, he won't be traded...
When we first talked about this yesterday, Mark rolled out some interesting stats on Harvin and his role in the offense, and how vital he was in an otherwise anemic unit:
87 catches for 967 yards and 6 TDs, 52 carries for 345 yards and 2 TDs. The offense as a whole accumulated 5275 total yards (2957 passing and 2318 rushing). Percy accounted for 33% if the passing yards, 15% of the rushing yards, and 25% of the total offensive yards. He did this while playing with 3 pretty mediocre QBs too. And AP went out and Jenkins went out.
You just don't trade a guy that was 25% of your offense on a 3-13 club. Because with the offense in it's current state, there is no value that the Vikings could receive in return that would constitute a 'good trade'. In the running game, Adrian Peterson is coming off of a devastating knee injury and could very well end up on the PUP list for the first 6 weeks of the season. Toby Gerhart is good, but Harvin and Gerhart could be a Thunder and Lightning combination that could be tantalizingly good until AP returns.
In the passing game, there is no proven outside threat after Harvin. Michael Jenkins is a possession receiver, Greg Childs and Jarius Wright are unproven...and that's really it. The only other wide receiver with more than 20 catches was the District Attorney, Devin Aromashodu. Taking Harvin out of that mix leaves Ponder with Kyle Rudolph, Jenkins, and no one else of consequence.
Frazier himself has said that his playing time isn't the reason for Harvin's unhappiness, so to me, the Percy Situation would almost have to be contract related. Unless he just hates living in the state of Minnesota.
If an idiot like me knows this, GM Rick Spielman does as well, so how he handles this will be very closely watched, as Seifert said. I get the fact that guys need to honor contracts, they signed it willingly, and no one makes them play a boy's game most of us would give just about anything to do ourselves.
But I also understand the players point of view--they have a very limited window to earn top dollar, they really are one injury away from never playing again, and a holdout is really the only tool in their toolbox that they can use to try and leverage as much money as possible before they're out of the NFL.
In the end, I think they'll get a new contract done, and Harvin stays in Minnesota. And this will all be over by the time the team meets in Mankato.
But hey, at least we've got something to talk to, woo hoo!!