Oct 25, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin (12) looks on prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Will the Vikings Be Forced to Trade Percy Harvin?

Percy Harvin is a great talent. No one is denying that. But Percy Harvin is also a massive headache. That is becoming more-and-more apparent as time goes on. No fewer than three incidents have now come to light demonstrating just how big a pain in the neck Harvin can be for coaches and front office. I’m talking about 2012 here. There was some other stuff in prior years but that was with a different coaching staff. In this calendar year we’ve had three known run-ins:

1. In minicamp, Harvin out of nowhere demands to be traded. It’s believed his irritation is related to the offensive scheme and his role in same but no clarification is ever really given. Then the situation evaporates as quickly as it appeared and all seems right with the world. What did Leslie Frazier and/or Rick Spielman say to calm Percy down? We’ll probably never know.

2. In the Seattle game, Harvin is seen yelling at Frazier after an incomplete pass from Christian Ponder. It’s widely believed that Harvin is angry because he hates Ponder and thinks Ponder is ruining his stats. Frazier defends Harvin after the game, saying Percy just wants to win like everyone else.

3. Harvin is placed on IR apparently because of his ankle sprain. But there are whispers of other things maybe being behind the decision to shut Percy down for the season. Leslie Frazier makes vague statements. Percy just wants to win, etc., Now thanks to Tom Pelissero’s sleuthing, we have a little more clarification on the situation. It seems there was some kind of training room altercation between Harvin and Frazier. It’s believed Harvin was frustrated because his ankle wasn’t recovering. But that doesn’t really excuse him getting into it with a coach. Leslie Frazier is supposed to be a wizard who can heal ankles?

None of these three things is really that serious by itself. But consider them together, and as part of a general pattern of selfish behavior over the years, and you just have to wonder about Harvin. Does this guy have the right kind of attitude? Do the Vikings really want a guy like that in their locker room with a young quarterback?

To me this situation is moving inexorably in one direction: toward a messy divorce. The Vikings, I believe, will try to unload Harvin in the offseason for draft picks. Rick Spielman is trying to build not only a team here but a whole culture. A winning culture that puts team first. Harvin is a great player but he is also clearly an egomaniac and a selfish jerk. It’s also clear that he wants no part of Christian Ponder. But the Vikings aren’t going to just give up on Ponder. They’ve also made that very clear. So if Ponder stays? Harvin almost certainly has to go.

It’s very sad to see things go down this way. Long-time Viking fans can’t help but be reminded of the Randy Moss situation and how that ultimately played out. To see another great wide receiver run himself out of town like that would be painful. But Spielman has to do what’s best for the team. It’s not about Percy Harvin, it’s about the Vikings. Harvin has shown that he’s not really with the program. He’s all about himself and what he can get.

Yes Harvin is a tough player who leaves it all on the field but there’s more to being a team guy and a leader than just a willingness to take punishment between the white lines. It’s the way you relate to other players and coaches. It’s the way you respond to authority. Harvin obviously has a big problem with the latter. He’s had two coaches in the NFL and he’s clashed with both of them. I don’t see how the Vikings can put up with this. It undermines everything they’re trying to do.

So a trade now seems inevitable. It will be sad seeing Percy go. He’s fun to watch on the football field. But evidently he’s not very much fun to deal with as a human being. It’s too bad he couldn’t take a few more cues from Adrian Peterson in how to comport himself. Think Adrian is thrilled with the state of the offense and the quarterback position? Probably not. But you’d never know it from how he plays and how he deals with the coaches and media. Adrian is a pro. Percy Harvin is not.

And that’s why Harvin is almost certainly on his way out of Minnesota. He will probably be delighted by this. Any way we can trade him to Cleveland?

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  • Jake

    I’m not sure how much of this is believable. This reminds me of that hack Adam Schefter’s “schizm” report regarding Brett Favre a few years ago. Harvin is a bit of a baby sometimes but the guy wants to win just like everyone else. If you were a star WR playing with a QB as bad as Ponder has been this year and still on your rookie contract would you be happy about it?

    • http://twitter.com/rovibe71 Rob

      The schizm was Sage Rosenfels being pissed at Brad Childress for bringing in Brett Favre right after they traded for Rosenfels. Sage was pissed because he was promised a chance to beat out Tarvaris Jackson for the starting job then they brought in Favre instead. That’s what led to Childress burying Sage on the bench even when he was a better #2 option than Jackson, and why they traded him to the Giants later that year. Childress never wanted Sage, that was Spielman’s move. So no, that was not ‘hack’ reporting, and Schefter was not the only source on that info.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dustin.snyder.33 Dustin Snyder

    Ponder would be a great back up QB, get us an experienced QB like VICK *hint, and let ponder learn, give AP and Percy a chance. Kyle Rudolph would be a monster if we were able to spread the field this is a no brainer… we have so much talent that is handicapped and wasting valuable years on super star caliber players

    • Jake

      Vick? Seriously? He has experience, he just isn’t very good.

    • http://twitter.com/rovibe71 Rob

      You must be joking. Go look at Vick’s year-by-year stats before you try calling him a good QB, let alone a great one. He’s terrible.

  • bigray

    So wide receivers are divas….this is nothing new. Vikes can’t trade him

  • No I in team

    Bringing back Moss was about the worst thing to happen to the Vikes and Percy Harvin. Randy was almost always about him when it came down to it, and for that to all of a sudden change was wishful thinking that cost the team dearly.

    When you bring in someone with talent, you also want them to be a positive influence for the organization with a belief in what the culture is trying to represent. Why they ever thought it was going to work a second time is just silly. His antics certainly rubbed off on Percy in a negative way, and if Percy were smart…hopefully he’ll realize that going down that path is not the way to go.

  • 41-0

    Can’t trade harvin pay him get new OC ponder is doing fine for a second yr guy need wr Dt LB and corner put Winfield at safety see u in Super Bowl next yr

  • Jim

    Chris Carter was a pain for the Vikes and some say thats why he not in the HOF. The Coaches knew how to handle him. Some players are just that way. In Harvins case, He has always won and been the star. No, what he does is not right put what choice do they have? Look at him in Florida, he made Tebow and don’t think he didn’t. I am a big Gator fan and have watched him from his college days on. His mother drives him to Winter Park for practice. If the Vikes are going to trade him they better get a better deal than they did with Moss. I don’t feel Ponder will ever lead the Vikes to the Super Bowl. If any of the fans hear think he will, your fooling yourselfs. You either have to get a lot for Harvin or Trade him to the highest bidder. If you don’t like what your getting for Harvin, you have to keep him and live with him, they did with Carter.. What scares me is Spillman is so in love with Ponder that I feel he’ll be gone along with the coachs soon. They will live and die with Ponder! I feel Harvin is totally right about Ponder and the coaches and Spillman is doing the same thing he did down in Miami and will be out the door soon. The Wilf’s have only so much patience. Remember Mike Tice, Childress? The Vikes don’t have any other decent receivers and this is going to be an interesting off season isn’t it!