SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 11: Percy Harvin #12 of the Minnesota Vikings runs back the openig kick for a touchdown during their season opener against the San Diego Chargers on September 11, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Juicy, juicy NFL trade rumors abound this morning as, according to the AP's Jon Krawczynski, and later confirmed by Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN in the Twin Cities, WR Percy Harvin has requested a trade from the Vikings. And, of course I'm going to write about it because it's pretty much the only thing going on in the NFL at the moment, other than stupid Saints' bounty stuff. Actually, that's not true - I'm going to write about it because there are obvious connecting factors at play here in Seattle and the 'leave-no-rock-unturned" roster management style of the Seahawks' front office means it's almost a certainty they'll at least inquire as to the availability of the 6th ranked receiver in the NFL in 2012 by receptions.
The Darrell Bevell factor is the wildcard - we know that he was a big influencer in the decision to pursue and eventually sign Sidney Rice, it played a big part in the choice to sign Tarvaris Jackson, and the assumption could be made that Bevell will lobby to bring in one of his top playmakers from his time in Minnesota. We also have to assume that Bevell and Percy liked each other, but that's certainly not a given.
The opposition to a move like this would cite the injury risk - Harvin has a famous ongoing battle with migraine issues that have knocked him out of games in 2009 and 2010, and these issues are exacerbated by how Harvin has been perceived over the years, both in college and in the pros - as a insolent, selfish malcontent. I'm naturally a little wary of a player whose consigliere and mentor is Randy Moss.
The supporters for a deal would say he played in all 16 games in 2011, often showing rare competitiveness to stay in games despite an awful record and even with a crippling rib injury flared up. At the end of the day, Harvin has only missed three games in three seasons, which is probably way above average for a player that receives as many touches as him. His supporters would say that Pete Carroll and John Schneider have a history of showing interest in players of his ilk - Marshawn Lynch is the prime example.
The opposition would say that the Seahawks have no need for Harvin; they already have slot players like Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin. His supporters might say he's a huge upgrade over both of those players or that Pete Carroll and John Schneider relish the opportunity to create more competition. Having too many good wide receivers is impossible, and a talent like Harvin would only make Tate/Baldwin better.
His opposition would cite the issues Harvin had with Brad Childress in 2010 - he missed 36 practices that year, including a 16-day absence when his grandmother died that caused friction between player and coach and eventually led to a practice flareup where the two had to be separated. His supporters would cite that he only missed a few practices in 2011, was part of the leadership council Frazier formed after the Vikings fired Childress, and that there were quite a few players that had their issues with Chilly, including Moss and Brett Favre. His supporters might say that the Seahawks' lockerroom is strong, leadership and coaching are known to be player-friendly, and a change of scenery would do Harvin good.
His opposition would be wary of his contract grumblings; his supporters would cite the fact Harvin still has two years left on his rookie deal and is due a paltry $915,000 in 2012 and $1.55 million in 2013. His opposition would say that signals an impending holdout for better money. His supporters would probably be wrong to disagree.
As far as on field performance though, there's no way I could replay it better than ESPN's Tom Pelissero, who tells us pretty much everything we need to know about Harvin's 2011 season.
"As dynamic in space as anyone in the NFL," says Pelissero, "Harvin never quit, even as the losses mounted and a nagging rib issue knocked him out again and again. Participated in all 16 games (14 starts) for the first time. Played only 600 snaps (57.9%) on offense but nonetheless racked up 1,832 total yards on 155 touches.
"Set career highs with 87 catches for 967 yards (11.1 average) in 118 targets (73.7%) and ran 52 times for 345 yards (6.6 average), touching the ball once every 2.3 snaps he was on the field. Returned 16 kickoffs for 520 yards (32.5 average), including a 103-yard touchdown on the season's opening kickoff at San Diego and a 104-yard return at Atlanta."
Pelissero continues, "Caught six touchdown passes, including 52- and 48-yarders against Denver, and ran for two more. Became a focal point in Musgrave's offense, getting a variety of manufactured touches and at times lining up as a traditional halfback. Generated 14 receptions of 20 yards or more. Blocked as well as any receiver in the NFL."
"Dropped out of four games because of the rib issue. Spent the final 5 minutes and overtime against Detroit throwing up on the sideline. Twice returned at Carolina and spun for a pivotal 11-yard gain on third-and-7. Missed two practices because of illness the week of the Denver game, only to explode for 156 yards on eight catches. Generated 616 yards after the catch, trailing only New England's Wes Welker. Broke 15 tackles. Dropped six passes. Fumbled twice and lost both. Took three penalties. Still only 23 years old."
I'm sure this will be a hot-button topic, but at the end of the day, there's no way the Vikings are going to trade their 2nd-best offensive player. Right? Regardless, it is what it is, and he's requested a trade. Would you welcome the idea of Harvin in Seattle? At what cost? Harvin is a space player, a kick returner, a battler and competitor - I have a hard time thinking that PCJS wouldn't at least be interested in a guy that can create explosive plays in the running game, passing game, and kicking game.