(Yes, I know it's generally Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Subtle change.)
So, it came out yesterday that the Minnesota Vikings are going to actively be pursuing opportunities to deal mercurial wide receiver Percy Harvin this off-season. I want to take a look at a couple of different points on this whole thing.
First off, let me say that I love Percy Harvin, the football player, and what he brings the Minnesota Vikings on the football field. There are few players in the game that are as dynamic as he is every single time he gets his hands on the ball. His combination of speed, quickness, and physical toughness is something that few current National Football League players possess. In an ideal world, Percy Harvin and the Minnesota Vikings would set their differences aside and start plotting how they were going to pursue a spot in the 2013 NFC playoffs and, possibly, Super Bowl XLVIII.
But the NFL is not an ideal world, and it's starting to look more and more like that isn't going to happen.
In situations such as this one, where a player and a coach appear to be on different pages, people are generally quick to point the finger at the coach, as they don't want to see someone that has brought so much excitement to the football field get sent away to another destination. I'm not doing that in this scenario. Why?
Because as much as I love Percy Harvin, the football player, as stated above. . .he's developed quite a history of having real issues with authority.
-He had enough issues in high school where he was suspended from all athletic competition by the Virginia State High School Athletic Association
-He went after his position coach at the University of Florida, as well as refused to do certain conditioning drills
-He infamously tested positive for marijuana at the 2009 NFL Scouting Combine, which caused him to drop to the Vikings in the first place.
-He allegedly threw a weight at then-coach Brad Childress during an argument following the release of Randy Moss
-He was seen going off on somebody on the Vikings' sidelines during the team's 30-20 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 9
So, no, I'm not going to immediately blame Leslie Frazier or Bill Musgrave in the event of a potential Percy Harvin trade. From everything I've read about the man, if you can't get along with Leslie Frazier, you pretty much can't get along with anybody. People tossed around the phrase "character concerns" from the time Harvin was drafted, and when things were all sunshine and lollipops in Minnesota, those things never really came to the surface. Throw in a little adversity, though, and things change, it would appear.
The Vikings placed Harvin on injured reserve on December 6, over a month after he suffered an ankle injury against the Seattle Seahawks. He was inactive for games against the Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears, and Green Bay Packers (with the bye week being sandwiched between the Detroit and Chicago games). The Vikings went 1-2 in those three games, but after Harvin was placed on injured reserve, the team ripped off four consecutive victories and made an improbable push into the 2012 NFC playoffs.
It sort of makes me wonder if Frazier and the Vikings took a slightly different tack to do something that had been done in the past. In 2005, the Philadelphia Eagles suspended Terrell Owens for "conduct detrimental to the team." Two years prior to that, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did exactly the same thing with Keyshawn Johnson. Perhaps the games where Harvin was inactive were to sort of see if his attitude would come back around, and when it didn't, the Vikings just said "to hell with this" and put him on injured reserve (at which point Harvin went to Florida and didn't return until his exit physical with the Vikings).
I'm not saying that's what happened, mind you. . .just speculation on my behalf. Adjust your tin foil hats accordingly.
So, if the Minnesota Vikings are going to deal Percy Harvin, what can they realistically expect to get in return for him? NFL.com is speculating that the Vikings are looking for a second or third-round pick in return. . .and, you know, that's probably about right. There are going to be folks that think that the Vikings should be demanding a first-round pick for Harvin, and it's undeniable that he's worth that.
But the Vikings aren't going to get that.
When the Vikings traded Randy Moss to the Oakland Raiders prior to the 2005 season, their return was a first-round draft choice (the seventh overall selection) and linebacker Napoleon Harris.
BREAKING: Percy Harvin isn't Randy Moss. And he isn't close.
Moss was traded after his seventh season in the NFL. He scored double-digit touchdowns in six of those seven seasons. He had at least 1,000 yards receiving in six of those seven seasons. Was he a jerk on and off the field? He certainly was (though he did a lot more good things off the field than a lot of folks would ever dare give him credit for). . .he was also the unquestioned best player in the National Football League at his position. Moss was worth more than what the Vikings got for him, just like Harvin is worth more than what the Vikings are going to end up receiving for him in any potential deal.
But, in both cases, other teams know that the Minnesota Vikings are in a position where they have to get rid of the player in question. The fact that, as NFL.com is also speculating, Harvin is going to be asking for about $10 million per in his next contract is going to cause teams to lower their bids as well. Would I like to see the Vikings get a huge haul in a Percy Harvin trade? Certainly, I would. But I just don't think there's a realistic chance of it happening.
Again, I'd love to see all of this garbage go under the bridge and for the Minnesota Vikings and Percy Harvin to reconcile and start working together instead of against each other. But if Harvin is going to throw a fit and not want to be a part of this team because he doesn't like Leslie Frazier or he doesn't like Bill Musgrave or he doesn't believe in Christian Ponder or what have you. . .then the team will be better off cutting their losses and getting what they can for him. I don't like it any more than you do, but if that's what's going to happen, that's what's going to happen.