How does the Percy Harvin Trade Affect the San Francisco 49ers?

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier today, news broke that the Seattle Seahawks traded for star wideout Percy Harvin from the Minnesota Vikings. In exchange, the Seahawks would give up at least a first-round pick in this year’s NFL Draft.

For four seasons, the dynamic wideout was a big play waiting to happen. Harvin’s ability to catch passes in the slot, line up in the backfield and return kicks makes him a special player. His versatility would give any opposing defenses fits. His best season came in 2011, where he accounted for 1,312 offensive yards and eight total touchdowns.

Assuming the trade goes through, Seattle’s offense instantly gets an upgrade in its passing attack.

Prior to missing the final seven games to an ankle injury last year, Harvin was in the discussion as a possible MVP candidate. His presence helped keep defenders off of Adrian Peterson while providing Christian Ponder with a reliable safety valve.

But now that he has relocated to the Northwest, the San Francisco 49ers will be seeing him at least twice a season. When the 49ers played against Minnesota last year, he led the Vikings with nine catches for 89 yards.

In 2009, the former Florida Gator had a subpar receiving performance against San Francisco (four receptions for 51 yards). But in the third quarter, his 101-yard kick return touchdown gave his team the go-ahead score. The Vikings won both matchups.

Granted, the 49ers featured two different rosters and they have yet to show that they can contain the speedy wideout. The need for a quick, physical cornerback looms even greater now that Russell Wilson has another weapon at his disposal. In addition, San Francisco could be losing All-Pro safety Dashon Goldson to free agency. The 49ers must quickly retool its secondary if they don’t want to see Harvin haunt them game after game.

Harvin is not only a premier receiver, but he is also a special teams ace, scoring at least one kickoff return touchdown in each of his four seasons. Last year, the 49ers allowed 26.9 yards per return, second-most in the NFL. If special teams coach Brad Seely does not get that area corrected, Seattle’s newest addition will hurt the Red and Gold in more ways than one. Acquiring players who can fill running lanes while making secure tackles in open space is now atop Seely’s 2013 wish list.

This latest trade has certainly brought excitement to the early stages of the offseason. Harvin is a major plus for Seattle, but with 15 draft picks and the free agency period underway, the 49ers have some time to respond.

The fun has just begun as there will be more wheeling and dealing over the coming months. Stay tuned to see what the bitter rivals have in store for one another.

You can follow Travis on Twitter @TravisChan1


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