Percy Harvin (Hannah Foslien/Getty)
Percy Harvin praised and thanked the Vikings, but he was glad to be traded to Seattle and join QB Russell Wilson, whom he said has “it” and is a leader.
The way John Schneider views the decision, the Seattle Seahawks spent the 25th pick in the 2013 draft on Percy Harvin and not an unproven player coming out of college.
His logic is understandable when one of the most dynamic offensive players in the NFL joins a potential Super Bowl contender.
“I understand why you would look at the compensation, but this is a highly unique player,” said Schneider, Seattle’s general manager. “For us to be able to, if you place Percy in this draft there would be some pretty strong argument how high he would go and it would be pretty darn high. … Really this is kind of a slam dunk for us.”
The trade between Seattle and Minnesota that brought Harvin to the Seahawks became official once the NFL’s league year began Tuesday. The Seahawks gave up a trio of draft picks, including the first-round pick in 2013.
Harvin’s relationship with the Vikings quickly grew from one of trust and respect for drafting him after he plummeted down the board in 2009 to much more volatile heading into last season. He requested a trade in June because he was not pleased with his contract and his role in the offense. Coach Leslie Frazier was able to smooth things over before training camp began, but Harvin quickly grew upset during the season with quarterback Christian Ponder’s erratic passing and the team’s inconsistent play on offense.
But Harvin had nothing but praise for the Vikings organization on Tuesday as he closed one chapter and looked forward to his time with the Seahawks.
“I have great respect for everybody in that program from top to bottom. Yes we had some bumps in the road, but I respect them and I feel they respected me,” Harvin said. “Me and Coach Frazier was in direct contact through this whole time, so me and him to this day have a great relationship. It was a good four years but I’m excited to be here.”
Seattle will send its first-round pick — No. 25 overall — this season to the Vikings, along with one of three seventh-round selections and its third-round pick in 2014.
With the Vikings, Harvin was producing at an All-Pro level until badly spraining his left ankle last Nov. 4 in a game at Seattle. He was placed on injured reserve a month later, abruptly ending a season that began so strongly. He led the NFL in total yards, including rushing, receiving and returning, at the time of his injury.
Harvin finished last season with 62 receptions for 677 yards and three touchdowns in nine games. In 2011, when Harvin was selected to the Pro Bowl, he had 967 yards receiving, 345 yards rushing and eight total touchdowns.
Now he joins an offense that already features quarterback Russell Wilson, former teammate Sidney Rice, Marshawn Lynch, Golden Tate, Zach Miller, Doug Baldwin, and his former offensive coordinator in Minnesota, Darrell Bevell. And he’ll join the Seahawks with a huge new contract. ProFootballTalk.com reported Harvin’s new deal with the Seahawks is for $67 million over six years. The team did not announce a new contract and messages for Harvin’s representatives were not immediately returned.
During his nearly 30-minute introduction, Harvin made clear his excitement for the chance to play with Wilson and how much he appreciated the chance to play with Brett Favre in the past. Conspicuously absent was any mention of Ponder.
Harvin met Wilson for the first time Tuesday morning when he arrived at the Seahawks facility and found his new QB watching film.
“That was one of the things I was looking for, a quarterback who wants to win, who has it,” Harvin said. “I was looking for that leader and we seem to have it here.”
The amount of picks being surrendered by Seattle is a heavy price for a team that has thrived by finding draft gems under coach Pete Carroll and Schneider. Whether it was getting Wilson in the third round last year, or nabbing cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Kam Chancellor as fifth-round selections, the draft has proved bountiful for the Seahawks.
Seattle will still have eight selections in April’s draft, barring any other moves made to acquire picks. Giving up three picks might not have been a move Schneider would make three years ago when he first arrived and started rebuilding the Seahawks roster.
“We finally got our receiver that can run in the first round right here,” Schneider said.
The trade for Harvin meant the end for Pro Bowl returner Leon Washington with the Seahawks. Washington tweeted Tuesday afternoon that, “it’s been (an) awesome ride,” in Seattle. Schneider complimented the way Washington handled the news that the Seahawks were letting him go.
Harvin averaged 35.9 yards per kick return last season before getting injured, while Washington averaged 29 yards per return.
“He did a phenomenal job here. The fans love him. He’s such a pro. He really handled himself with extreme class with Pete and I when we talked with him and understood what we were doing,” Schneider said.