So is Mr. AWOL Percy Harvin in trouble with the Vikings or isn’t he?
Even if you could get hold of Brad Childress and ask him, it’s unlikely you would receive a totally straight answer. So all we can do is speculate.
Here are the facts: Percy Harvin left training camp after just two days because of the death of his grandmother. His time away was expected to be short, but here we are almost two weeks later, with camp over and the first preseason game just a day away, and still Harvin has not returned.
Harvin’s extended absence has led to plenty of whispers. Mostly about his well-documented migraine issues and how the stress of losing his grandma has probably brought them back.
Indeed, the Vikings have said that the migraines are behind the absence. Brad Childress has said that there is no timetable for Harvin to rejoin the team. All indications are that Harvin is dealing with his health problems and will be back once he feels ready.
Story over? Not entirely. Because today, it came out that the Vikings have officially designated Harvin as having left the squad, and received a roster exemption for him. As part of this process, the Vikings reportedly sent Harvin a “five-day letter,” a move that may be a mere formality, or may be evidence that a serious situation is brewing between the team and their 2nd year receiver.
And what exactly is a “five-day letter?” Basically, it’s a team’s means of warning an AWOL player that he’d better get his butt back or else. And if the player doesn’t report after the five days? The team then has the power to place him on the reserve/left team list and deactivate him for the entire season.
So, on the surface, this looks like a pretty hardball move by the Vikings against Harvin. However, as Mike Florio points out, it’s highly unlikely the Vikings would actually exercise their right to sit him for all of 2010, even if he doesn’t show up in five days. And in fact, Brad Childress has now indicated that the menacing five-day letter was only sent out as part of the process of receiving the roster exemption. At the same time, Childress reiterated the team’s support of Harvin.
And all appears to be right with the world? Well, maybe not. The fact is, Harvin is still not back with the club, and we still don’t know how long he will be away. And, as usual, the Vikings are being almost absurdly secretive, an approach that naturally leads to gossip.
Now, in point of fact, there’s no real reason for us to doubt Chilly when he says the five-day letter is just a formality, and that the team is 100% behind Harvin in staying away from camp and getting his migraines dealt with. However, at the same time, there are reports that the Vikes haven’t actually had much contact with Harvin and his agent throughout this process. And there are whispers that Harvin’s absence may have little to do with grief and headaches, and a lot to do with his simple desire to skip camp.
If the Vikings do in fact think Harvin is pulling his own headache-related variation on the classic Brett Favre camp dodge, they are doing a great job of not showing it. Just as they’re doing a great job of not showing how ticked off they probably are over Sidney Rice‘s mysterious lingering hip injury.
This using injuries/health issues to get out of camp thing seems pretty popular among the receivers. I don’t want to suggest that Favre has been a bad influence, but…well, you’ll have to make up your own mind.
All I know is, the Vikings probably wouldn’t get a roster exemption for Harvin if they expected him to be back in a few days. So look for Harvin’s somewhat puzzling absence to extend well into the preseason if not all the way to opening night.
Drama. Always drama.