Yesterday was one of the biggest days in recent Minnesota Vikings history, as the team dealt wide receiver Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for a first-round pick and a seventh-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, and a third-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
After having some time to let this marinate, I want to put a couple of thoughts out there about the whole thing.
First off, it never ceases to amaze me that, whenever there's a battle between a player that's a bit of a malcontent (or an outright pain in the ass) and team coaches/management, fans have a penchant to side with the malcontent. Really, it never fails. As Ted pointed out in the comments of some of the posts yesterday, Judd Zulgad probably had the best analogy of the whole Harvin situation.
I've said this before. It's the girlfriend issue of "I can fix Percy." Good luck with that. He will never be happy.— Judd Zulgad (@1500ESPNJudd) March 11, 2013
We've documented that Percy Harvin has always had attitude problems. He had them in high school, he had them in college, and he's had them in the NFL. And every step of the way, you know who's fault it's been?
According to some. . .everybody but Percy Harvin. And that's part of the problem.
Yes, Percy Harvin is a spectacular football player and an outstanding athlete. Yes, it would have been nice to keep him in Minnesota and watch him continue to put up highlights in this offense. But, you know, if things aren't all sunshine and lollipops and rainbows up in Seattle for him, rest assured he'll be pulling the same crap again. Why? Because that's what he's always done.
We bring up the incident where Harvin was alleged to have thrown a 10-pound weight at then-head coach Brad Childress after the release of Randy Moss. People excused that as well, usually with something along the lines of "Brad Childress was a jackass and he deserved it." Brad Childress may or may not, in fact, have been a jackass (though the majority of what I've seen tends to point to that being true).
But seriously. . .I've been in the work force since I was 16 years old. Over those years, I've had numerous bosses, co-workers, supervisors, what have you. And, as easy going as I tend to be, I have not always gotten along with everyone I've worked with. If I were to walk into someone's office and toss a 10-pound weight at their head, I would cease to be employed, and if it were reported in the press for whatever reason, I would probably be painted as some sort of loon. But, in the case of someone like Harvin, we're just supposed to accept it. Why? Because he's awesome on the football field for three hours of a 168-hour week.
Really, that's the reasoning.
Someone wiser than myself once said that the only constant in all your dissatisfying relationships is you. Well, the only constant in all of Percy Harvin's rocky relationships. . .in high school, in college, and in the pros. . .has been Percy Harvin. To go off of Zulgad's analogy above. . .you can't fix crazy.
Fire up the black helicopters and strap on your tinfoil hats if you like, but part of me thinks that Percy Harvin might have been able to play last season, and Leslie Frazier and company told him to stay away. They kept him off of IR for a while, and put him on IR prior to the Week 14 match-up at the Metrodome against the Chicago Bears. As soon as Harvin was placed on IR, he left the team and wasn't seen in Minnesota again until his exit physical last month.
Is the fact that the Vikings went 4-0, including three wins over teams with double-digit victories that was deemed to be the toughest closing schedule in the league, after Percy Harvin went on injured reserve and left the team a coincidence? I'm not so sure.
Is the fact that the Vikings beat both the Bears and the Packers for the first time in the Leslie Frazier era after Percy Harvin went on injured reserve and left the team a coincidence? I'm not so sure.
But, as has been pointed out before, the Vikings went 5-2 last season without Percy Harvin. They ripped off a four-game winning streak to finish the year and make it to the post-season without Percy Harvin. And they beat every team in the NFC North. . .the Detroit Lions, the Chicago Bears, and the Green Bay Packers. . .without Percy Harvin. That last one, coupled with the fact that (contrary to what some might think) that the Vikings losing Harvin does not make the Lions, Bears, or Packers themselves one single bit better is why this really doesn't freak me out that badly.
On the upside. . .the Vikings, as it stands right now, have six of the first 117 picks in the 2013 NFL Draft:
-First round, 23rd overall pick
-First round, 25th overall pick (from Seattle)
-Second round, 52nd overall pick
-Third round, 83rd overall pick
-Fourth round, 99th overall pick (from Detroit)
-Fourth round, 117th overall pick
Now, those fourth rounders might drop a spot or two, depending on how many of the 32 compensatory picks given out by the NFL land in the third round (the highest comp picks that can be given out). In the past couple of drafts, there has only been one third round comp pick given out, but in past years there have been as many as four. So, figure that in a worst-case scenario, the Vikings have six of the top 120 picks in this year's draft. (Plus the extra pick they've already garnered for 2014.) This draft is deep at the positions where the Vikings need it to be (wide receiver, defensive tackle), and they're in a position to get two very good players in the first round at #23 and #25, whether it's at one of those two positions or at a position we're not quite as focused on, such as linebacker.
Yes, we're going to miss Percy Harvin's play on the field. But, as homerific and biased as this might be coming from me, I don't know if we're going to miss him for very long. I certainly hope that we don't.