After a minicamp outburst where he said he was unhappy with a few things and reportedly asked to be traded, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin then changed his tune by saying he will report to training camp on time. Now a further report says he has no intention of playing for the Vikings beyond 2012 without a contract extension, which seems to confirm an earlier news item suggesting Harvin views 2012 as a contract year.
Harvin is coming off his best season in 2011, playing all 16 games for the first time in his career, as he had 87 receptions for 967 yards and six touchdowns along with 342 rushing yards on 51 carries with two touchdowns as well. He has two years left on the contract he signed after being drafted late in the first round in 2009, and is due to make just under $2.5 million in total, though there are escalators in the deal that can significantly increase the value.
Harvin definitely deserves an increase in salary, though it is difficult to compare him to other wide receivers who have signed lucrative contracts recently since he is not a traditional No.1 wide receiver and brings a unique skill set to the table. Harvin’s history of missed practices, migraine issues and apparently delaying shoulder surgery this offseason should increase the trepidation the Vikings have in making a long-term commitment to him, and rightfully so in my opinion. He had said he wanted to become a team leader in 2012, but the minicamp situation and his subsequent reaction contradicts that.
I was someone that felt the Vikings made a poor decision when drafting Harvin with the 22nd overall pick in 2009, given the issues he had in college at the University of Florida. So the warts he has shown on or off the field to this point in his NFL career have not shocked me.
Harvin will certainly be motivated to perform well in 2012 to prove he is worthy of a new contract, and that is good news for Vikings fans as the team tries to put a 3-13 2011 season in the rearview mirror. But everything depends on his asking price when seeking a contract extension, and I would not be shocked to see the Vikings dangle Harvin in trade talks, with or without a trade demand from him, after the season if he has a poor season or wants too much money.