Minnesota Vikings star wide receiver, Percy Harvin, has been in the news the past few days. Unfortunately, it has been for all the wrong reasons. Harvin is reportedly unhappy in Minnesota and the Vikings have grown weary of his attitude. Prior to injuring his ankle this last season in week 9, there was apparently quite a blowup between Percy and Coach Leslie Frazier that some speculate was one contributing reason he ended up on season-ending IR. Now, Harvin is reportedly fully recovered from the ankle injury but planning on holding out and skipping all off season activities if the Vikings don’t ‘upgrade’ his contract.
Harvin is in the final year of his rookie contract and is scheduled to make $2.9 million dollars next season. Technically, under the rules of the current CBA between the NFL and the NFLPA Harvin could miss all the off season and as much as 10 weeks of the regular season and still get credit for fulfilling his final contract year and become an unrestricted free agent in 2014. If the Vikings want to smooth things over, they’d be wise to extend his contract. But, instead the word is out that they are shopping the extremely productive player – a triple threat as a receiver, a running back, and a prolific kick returner.
There will be lots of interest in Harvin if the Vikings are serious, but the question will be how much they think they deserve for a player of that caliber up against how bad they want to rid themselves of the cancer he has become. His attitude and injury history would be a big concern for any team that wants to be a potential suitor. But, there is speculation that most of the attitude stems from not getting a paycheck that matches his performance (or potential). He’s not a bad teammate according to sources and Adrian Peterson has come out in support of him staying with the Vikings. But, if the right offer comes along, he will be gone.
On paper at least, the Cowboys could certainly be one of the teams in the conversation. The Cowboys are cash strapped this off season with projected cap room of somewhere around $18 million. That is not a lot taking into account the needs they already have. However, one possible option would be to consider trading Miles Austin to the Vikings along with a draft pick or two to secure the rights to Percy. Miles is in the third year of the 7-year, $54.1 million contract he signed in 2010 and is scheduled to make $6.7 million in base salary plus a $1.57 million dollar prorated cap hit for his signing bonus. His total cap value in 2013 is $8.3 million dollars. It would be nice to shed that and the Vikings have room for it. But, based on notably declining production – due primarily to multiple hamstring injuries – he is an obvious candidate to restructure his contract if he stays a Cowboy. The Vikings would want to do the same if he were traded. When he’s healthy, he’s still a dangerous receiver and a great team player. But, the Cowboys have had to learn to play without him and that has helped the growth of players like Dez Bryant, who stepped up in a big way last season. Austin would be attractive to the Vikings, but would still likely require the Cowboys throw in a draft pick or two.
The Cowboys have glaring needs elsewhere but it isn’t often a player of Harvin’s caliber potentially hits the trading block. He would bring a talented threat in the slot or opposite Dez, could run the ball effectively in certain situations, and would immediately solve the Cowboys anemic return issues. He would make the rest of the offense around him better. Jerry Jones would be wise to try to find a way to put a deal together. Which is exactly why it isn’t likely to happen – the part about Jerry being wise that is… It’s been a long time since anyone thought of Jerry as wise. In fact, the trade of the century involved the same two teams back in 1989 and would probably mean the Vikings would want more from the Cowboys than any other team to exact a little payback for “The Great Train Robbery” that was the Herschel Walker trade.
Not going to happen folks. But, it’s the off season when we all get to dream. Go Cowboys!