1 » In a piece written Thursday focusing on the Minnesota Vikings and the team’s plans at wide receiver, Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports reported some interesting information about Percy Harvin. Cole takes a look at Harvin’s contract demands and reveals that the 2014 free agent is expecting to receive a deal closer to the $16.5 million per season paid to Detroit’s Calvin Johnson rather than the approximately $11 million being earned by guys like Tampa Bay’s Vincent Jackson and Kansas City’s Dwayne Bowe. “The Vikings fear that the strong-willed Harvin may play the absolute minimum required to get to free agency and that he’ll create such a stink that the last thing the Vikings will consider is franchising him,” Cole reports.
Why the concern? “Harvin threatened to walk out on the team last offseason after hearing that former Florida teammate Aaron Hernandez received a contract extension after only two years.” There is no doubt that Harvin is a top-tier talent – if he was not as injury-prone, an elite-level contract is not something he would need to fight to receive – but he is doing himself absolutely no favors from a professional standpoint with the attitude he has displayed since joining the NFL.
Read three more BITS of Florida Gators news…after the break!
2 » Wide receiver David Nelson, who missed the entire 2012 season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament, was not re-signed by the Buffalo Bills despite being eligible to receive a $1.323 million from the team for 2013. Nelson had a productive year for Buffalo in 2011 – playing as the third receiver and hauling in 98 targets for 658 yards and five touchdowns – but believes the Bills were concerned about his recovery and did not want to take the risk of paying him to miss more time. “It’s tough for me because I feel in my heart – and this is just me – the only reason it’s happening is because of the injury,” Nelson told The Buffalo News this week. “I feel if I was able to play last year, things would be different 100 percent. For me that’s the reason why; they’re not sure if I’ll be the same player I’ve been.” He adds that being released is “upsetting” and it is “sobering to re-evaluate” his situation now that he is without a team. “It will probably be a lengthy [free agency] process for me,” he concludes.
3 » Former Florida Gators centerfielder Matt den Dekker is making waves in spring training with the New York Mets, but it does not look like the team will be bringing him up to the major leagues this season. According to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com, the Mets are concerned about den Dekker’s production at the plate as he struck out in 29 percent of hits minor league at-bats last season and hit .220 (.256 OBP) in Triple-A over the second half of his campaign. If he can find a way to make better contact, he will be playing in New York sooner than later.
4 » The Gainesville Sun’s Kevin Brockway put together this nice feature on former Florida guard Andrew Moten, who was recently passed by senior G Kenny Boynton for second on the program’s all-time scoring list. Moten, now a high school basketball coach, said he “couldn’t think of anyone better to pass my scoring mark” than Boynton. He is familiar with Boynton from having played against his father, Kenny Boynton, Sr., when his dad was a Bethune-Cookman standout. Moten also discusses, among other topics, how Vernon Maxwell will always be the Gators’ scoring leader in his mind.
Extra BIT » ESPN‘s Rick Reilly penned a piece on Florida head coach Billy Donovan, taking a look at how championships are not that important to the coach and bringing forward some more details on the greatest personal tragedy in Donovan’s life.