I am tired of all the negativity lately and would like to focus on the positive with my speculation in this post. I want to go through what i feel could be the real story behind this whole William Percival Harvin situation. Find your sunglasses that are of the deepest, darkest shade of purple. Put them on. Once you do, you can't help but realize that nothing could possibly go wrong with your franchise this offseason. Everything is hunky-dory.
Call me an optimist, but I still don't want to believe that things with Percy Harvin are as bad as they seem. I would like to think that we are in good hands based on the amount of confidence I have in Rick Spielman and the front office as of late.
I would like to ignore the attitude issues, for the most part, in this post because there has been so much speculation and i don't know what to believe anymore. All i know for sure is that Percy Harvin has always played hard for our beloved purple when he is on the field. Before this most recent report of a trade demand, things were murky at best when trying to decipher what is actually happening behind the scenes. Personally, Sid Hartman telling me that "good sources around the NFL" say Harvin is demanding a trade doesn't change my outlook whatsoever. I have no reason to believe what he says is accurate. Due to his advanced age and general attitude towards other media members, Sid isn't quite respected like he used to be. I have heard local Twin Cities sports broadcasters joke that Hartman will get his ideas together and have an intern write up his sports pieces for the paper.
So, taking what Hartman said with a grain of salt I believe that we are still are not past the point of no return.
In all likelihood Harvin is probably asking for more money than the we are willing to pay. It is the job of the front office to procure Harvin at the least amount of money possible. The agent for the dynamic playmaker, on the other hand, thinks only in terms of money and ensuring a long term deal and maximizing value for a career that could potentially be short. You know for certain that Joel Segal, Harvin's agent, massages the egos of his clients to convince them that they deserve top dollar so his 10% cut is bigger. Vikings Management must be either persuasive enough, or clever enough to bring down this inflated asking price. I think this can be done by using other teams as pawns to determine a real world value on him without risking him in free agency.
In my opinion the mistake to over pay a particular player can happen when he is overvalued or it is unknown what other teams would actually pay for services. Free agency is really the only way to determine a true market value. Which could be much different from perceived value. Especially when a player is unique, like Harvin. No market is set for a multipurpose slot receiver that can do anything on offense short of throwing the ball. In the modern NFL most teams do not let a marquee player even sniff free agency. It has become standard practice to resign a player before the start of the final contract year, esp. with the Vikings as of late.
What if the Vikings are trying to create a free agency type setting to show Harvin that other teams wouldn't pay, lets say, $11 million a year for him? Let other teams show Harvin what his actual value is around the league.
If Harvin is indeed in need of a reality check to shrink that ego down a few sizes, i see no better way than to show him on paper what other teams in the league will pay him on the open market in terms of a new contract. Draw up trades with potential suitors and get these teams to make contract extension offers. Which shouldn't be too hard because a team is only going to shell out high draft picks if a new deal is agreed upon in principle.
This way the front office can find out what a contending teams (desirable for Harvin) would pay and even get quotes from more more desperate teams that may be willing to pay more (less desirable for Harvin, other than increase in salary). The more teams that make offers the better. Just more examples that grass in the free agency pasture may not be as green as it seems. The best part about that is that the Vikings are entitled to withhold any information that does not help the team's cause. Since Harvin is under contract, his agent cannot talk to other teams without the permission of the Vikings. Let the propaganda machine do its work, show information that helps the cause and omit anything else. That is the beauty of sports management, they don't actually have to show true intentions.
This has been set up by leaking stories to the media of the unhappiness of the superstar, making the Vikings not look like the bad guy when going out and "shopping" him to other teams. It all boils down to public perception. If the fans don't like that you are trying to trade a popular player, you don't get to try to trade that player without repercussions. But if he is unhappy and you have no other choice but to listen to trade offers it is alright to do so. I would also say that it is the job of a general manager to explore every avenue that is available, if they don't know all possible scenarios that means that they are not doing their job.
You may now be asking yourself, what if Harvin's value is actually closer to the reported asking price? I contend that this would be unlikely. I consider him a high risk player when it comes to injury. Don't confuse this with me calling him injury prone. But rather based on his size, the tenacity he plays with and for the fact that he is known for his YAC makes me believe that he is the type of player that could get hurt before fulfilling the entirety of his contract. Other teams may also lower his value do the the fact that he does have character concerns. These may have been magnified intentionally by our organization because that would bring down his value even more to other teams. Combine all of that with a potential change in Harvin's role that may happen with signing a long term deal. Once we ink a long term contract, the franchise must think long term with him. Minimizing risk to the player. This may mean limited if not eliminated kick return duties. Handing the ball off to him in the backfield on a regular basis may also become a thing of the past. How much value is lost when your dynamic playmaker can't be as dynamic due to risk factors?
In summation, it may be that this was the only way to get Percy to sign a long term deal that is incentive laden, cap friendly and fair market value, either that or maybe he will be traded by the end of the week.