One of the biggest off-season story lines around the NFL will surround the Minnesota Vikings and wide receiver Percy Harvin. Rumors that the team will look to trade him have already surfaced, with 2013 being the final year of his rookie contract and the strong likelihood he will hold out without a new contract in place.
The situation clearly is unlikely to reach a quick resolution, and Wednesday’s most recent speculation will not help things. Tom Pelissero of 1500 ESPN-Twin Cities suggested that Harvin may seek at least $10 million per year in his new contract, with the real goal possibly being $12 million per season. $12 million per year would make him the third highest-paid receiver in the NFL, behind Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions and Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals.
But does Harvin deserve to be compensated at that level?
Harvin is a uniquely talented player that is not used in traditional ways, and therefore it’s hard to determine his value when compared to other wide receivers around the league. That said, the contracts of the biggest name free agent wide receivers that will hit the market in March-Mike Wallace, Dwayne Bowe and Greg Jennings-may go a long way toward setting Harvin’s market value. It can be argued, in terms of pure talent, that only Wallace is in Harvin’s class among those three players.
Not surprisingly, the Vikings find themselves in a difficult situation beyond any personality conflict Harvin and head coach Leslie Frazier have. Even if these recent rumors regarding his contract demands prove to be exaggerated, the potential for having to give Harvin a big contract, or having him for only one season, diminishes his trade value even further.
As much as I would like to see the Vikings rid themselves of the perpetual headache that is Harvin, it looks more and more impossible with each passing day that they can get equal value for him in a trade. Harvin will surely skip team-related offseason work and fail to report to training camp without a lucrative new contract, which will only make the situation more of a distraction for a team looking to build on a solid 2012 season.
It’s possible the Vikings and Harvin’s camp can reach agreement on a new contract that is viable and agreeable for both sides, but that will take a change in attitude from Harvin more than anything at this point. It should not be surprising to anyone that knows my feelings about Harvin’s off-field acumen, but I don’t see that happening without a personality transplant.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.