Vikings receiver Percy Harvin threatened to walk out on his team last season after being miffed over his contract status last season, according to a report Thursday night by Yahoo!
After Harvin’s former Florida Gators teammate Aaron Hernandez signed a contract extension after only two years in the league, Harvin was miffed with his situation, according to the report. Last August, Hernandez signed a five-year deal that could be worth up to $40 million and has $16 million in guaranteed money. About two months before that, Harvin requested a trade during the Vikings’ minicamp and skipped one of the mandatory practice sessions, only to return the following day and decline to answer questions about the source of his unhappiness.
Previously, Harvin said he wasn’t happy about some things, but he declined several times to elaborate. During the season, he explained his position, saying the source of his summertime unhappiness wasn’t his contract, but rather he wanted the receivers to have a more clarified role in coordinator Bill Musgrave’s offense. He said that concern was addressed.
Now, however, if the Yahoo! report is correct, Harvin’s contract is at the forefront of his consternation. He is in the final year of his rookie contract and is scheduled to make $2.9 million in base salary, which essentially doubled after he hit incentives from his performance in 2012, despite missing the final seven games of the season after injuring his ankle.
Harvin led the NFL midway through the 2012 season with 62 catches for 677 yards, totals that still led the team by the end of the year even though he was on injured reserve. He also rushed 22 times for 96 yards and is the franchise’s all-time leading rusher among wide receivers. In addition, he is one of the league’s most dangerous kickoff returners, averaging 35.9 yards on 16 returns last year and returning five kickoffs for touchdowns over the course of his four-year career.
The Vikings met with the agents for all of their free agents at the NFL Scouting Combine, but the Vikings and Joel Segal, Harvin’s agent, apparently haven’t exchanged contract numbers on a potential extension, according to Yahoo! Harvin is reportedly seeking money closer to Calvin Johnson’s contract, which averages $16.5 million per season, rather than mirroring the contracts signed by Jackson last year and Dwayne Bowe this year – those two are averaging about $11 million per year.
When the St. Paul Pioneer Press tracked down Harvin outside his Florida home last month, he said he didn’t have anything to say about reports that the Vikings may be looking to trade him.
One Vikings official told Viking Update he believed Harvin’s issues could be handled, indicating every team has a player or two that might require extra attention. However, Harvin has been caught on tape yelling at head coach Leslie Frazier during the Seattle game in 2012, and he reportedly got into a shouting match with Frazier during a practice last year, too. While at Florida, Harvin reportedly also had issues with coaches and refused to do a conditioning run.
The start of free agency is March 12 and the Vikings are considered one of the leading suitors for Pittsburgh receiver Mike Wallace. If they land him, the question will then become whether that would be a complement to Harvin or a replacement for him.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of 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.