Just one day after publicly voicing his frustration while being a partial participant on the first day of his team’s mandatory minicamp, former Florida Gators wide receiver Percy Harvin has officially requested a trade from the Minnesota Vikings.
“I just put it this way, there’s a lot of different things that have to be sorted out,” Harvin said, according to the Associated Press. “Just haven’t been really happy lately. We’ve got a couple of things to work on. I’m here in the classroom. We’ll go from there. I don’t get into specifics. Just overall haven’t been really happy. But we here, hopefully we can get things worked out and go from there. We’ve got a lot of time between [now and the end of training camp], hopefully a lot of conversations. It’s just a couple different issues. It’s hard to try to tell you guys without telling you guys. I just keep it as that.”
Harvin only participated in the afternoon session of practice on Tuesday, which head coach Leslie Frazer told reporters was a planned occurrence because the team wanted to limit his actions two months removed from shoulder surgery. Frazier also said he was not concerned about being able to work through Harvin’s issues but that was before the former first-round draft pick officially requested a trade Wednesday morning.
Harvin is only set to earn $2.47 million in base salary over the final two seasons of his rookie contract despite being Minnesota’s clear No. 1 receiver. His trade request is likely at least partially a contract ploy; he would like more guaranteed money for his services and hopes to be paid fairly by the team for what he feels are his unmatched talents.
Despite dealing with numerous injuries including migraine headaches that had him rushed to the hospital during a practice in August of 2010, Harvin registered career-highs in receptions (87), yards (967) and total touchdowns (9) last season, numbers that were more than double than any other receiver on the team. He recorded all of those statistics while playing just 58 percent of the offensive snaps, another major issue he likely has with the coaching staff.
Though his trade request could speed up proceedings with the team as far as contract negotiations go, the Vikings are very unlikely to even consider trading Harvin this season. Minnesota could get the same trade value for him at the end of the season and would essentially be giving up one of the team’s best offensive playmakers for draft picks that would not see the field until the 2013 season.
Working against Harvin, of course, is his vast injury history including migraines that have been mitigated or supposedly eliminated in the past only to mysteriously and severely pop up at inopportune times. The Vikings may not feel comfortable investing No. 1 receiver money in Harvin, in which case the team may not give him a new deal, call his bluff when it comes to sitting out training camp and getting fined, force him to play the 2012 season under his current contract and trade him in the offseason to a team that believes in his talent and long-term health and is willing to give him a big extension. Minnesota could also keep him for two years and place the franchise tag on him in 2014.
Either way the situation between Harvin and Minnesota is a long way from finding a conclusion, and it may not be a happy ending for both parties.
UPDATE: As expected, general manager Rick Spielman said on Wednesday that the team has absolutely no intention of trading Harvin. “We have no interest at all in trading Percy Harvin,” he said. “He’s a key part of our organization. He’s a key part of our football team. […] Percy is a very good person. We’ll get all the issues resolved. […] He’s a vital part to us moving forward with this team. He’s a young, very talented player.”
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