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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