Percy Harvin (Andy Lyons/Getty)
The past few days have brought a lot of conjecture on what is happening with Percy Harvin’s status with the Vikings. Neither Harvin nor the Vikings have put an end to it by commenting publicly, so the story on a star is likely to continue to snowball.
At a time when most teams are looking to add talent to their teams, the Vikings’ major concern in mid-February is what to do with a star talent in a contract year?
As is often the case, when the media gets hold of a story, they turn it into a reality TV show – a far cry from true “reality,” but rather the reality being presented.
Over the past few days, the steam on Percy Harvin and the Vikings potentially parting ways has increased to the point that the kettle on the stove is screaming. In many ways, it has picked up similar momentum to the discord that led Jared Allen out of Kansas City several years ago.
But, in the Allen saga, there was a smoking gun – general manager Carl Peterson. In the Harvin story, there isn’t.
In Kansas City, the split between Allen and the organization was brought to a head by Peterson. Allen had been something of a party boy and it had caught up with him – he had received a pair of DWI arrests. Peterson made a public comment that Allen was a young man at risk, insinuating that Allen’s problems were ahead of him, not behind him. Feeling betrayed, Allen went to the ownership and said he wanted to be traded.
In Minnesota, there has been no such defining moment. Last spring at minicamp, Harvin let it be known that he was unhappy. The automatic assumption was that it had to do with what he was being paid, which was far less than what he was worth in NFL terms. Word then came out that Harvin had demanded a trade – an allegation that Harvin vehemently denied. Once the season started, it became a dead issue … until Harvin got hurt.
The rumor mill began flying after Harvin was inexplicably placed on injured reserve when his ankle injury didn’t heal as quickly as expected. Word got out that Harvin had a blow up with even-keeled head coach Leslie Frazier in front of several teammates. Harvin had a similar experience with Brad Childress, but that was understandable because Childress was a hard-nosed coach. By all accounts and interactions, it’s not difficult to get along with Frazier.
It was that shred of information – one that Frazier has sidestepped in interviews since and Harvin hasn’t spoken to at all – that started the recent wave of stories about the allegedly pending divorce of Harvin and the Vikings.
Since then, the momentum of the story has propelled it into the atmosphere of unnamed sources that has taken hold in the last few days. Over the weekend, a story broke that the Vikings were looking to trade Harvin, without confirmation from Percy or anyone with decision-making power with the Vikings. Since then, the story has spawned a life of its own.
The NFL’s official website ran a story Monday laying out the most likely landing spots for Harvin in a trade – not citing the rationale for making a deal. Later that same day, the popular NFL news clearing house site ProFootballTalk.com ran a story that Harvin will likely hold out of training camp and perhaps as much as 10 weeks of the regular season if he doesn’t get a contract extension.
Until Harvin or someone in the organization actually goes on record and says that a split is needed, conjecture is currently winning the day. Vikings G.M. Rick Spielman has skirted the issue in interviews, diverting relatively straightforward questions on the topic away from a direct answer. That may actually be the most solid evidence of an underlying issue. Frazier has done the same. Harvin and his people have said nothing publicly to date. Yet, the story continues to grow and spread.
It would seem clear that there is a rift between Harvin and the Vikings. Those outside the walls at Winter Park can speculate and draw their own conclusions, but, until someone directly involved actually speaks to the matter, this story is going to continue to expand upon itself.
Over the next two months, something is likely going to have to get done. Harvin may be traded. He may be approached to sign a contract extension. He may end up holding out if he isn’t moved. All of those are possibilities, but none of them have been proved yet.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.