Oct 21, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin (12) looks on during the second quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at the Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Five Reasons Why the Vikings Had to Trade Percy Harvin

Yes fans it’s true. Percy Harvin has been traded to Seattle for three draft picks. The drama ended in the only way it could end, with Percy sent packing and the Vikings moving into the future. A lot of you aren’t happy about the move but I think, in the end, the Vikings had no choice. They had to move on from Harvin and everything he represented. Here are the five reasons why I think they had to trade him:

1. He was a giant pain in the butt for Christian Ponder

The Vikings have committed themselves to Christian Ponder. He is their quarterback. Of course Ponder needs weapons in order to succeed and getting rid of Percy Harvin doesn’t exactly help in that regard. But on-field talent isn’t the only consideration. As much as Harvin helped Ponder on the field, that’s how much he potentially hurt Ponder off the field. The fact is, Percy never respected Ponder. He never looked at Ponder as a legit QB. He never would’ve accepted Ponder as his leader. For the sake of Ponder’s growth, Harvin needed to be removed from the picture. This never had a chance to truly be Ponder’s team with Harvin there. Now Harvin is gone and Ponder and the Vikes can move forward.

2. His style makes him too injury prone

Harvin has become well-known for his physical style of play. He doesn’t just catch the ball and try to get yards, he catches the ball and tries to hurt someone. It’s fun watching a player who is willing to put his body on the line like that, but the truth is, in the long-run this style will hurt Harvin’s production and shorten his career. You just can’t keep taking those hits if you’re a relatively small guy like Harvin. They will catch up to you sooner rather than later. Maybe in Seattle Harvin will learn to dial back the physicality and protect himself but I doubt it. It’s just not the way he’s wired. He wants to hurt people. And because of this he will keep getting injured and missing games. You will never get as much out of this guy as you hope production-wise. He will always end up on the shelf. He and Sidney Rice will keep the training staff busy up there.

3. He was a headache for the coaching staff

Harvin has always had a problem with authority. We’ve all heard the stories. He punched a ref in high school. He clashed with Brad Childress. He clashed with Leslie Frazier. He just doesn’t seem to respect anyone in an authority position, unless it’s someone like Urban Meyer who is willing to let him do whatever he wants. The Vikings clearly weren’t willing to put up with Harvin’s constant lashing out and selfishness and butting heads with coaches and executives. This organization is trying to build a winning team-first culture and Harvin, with his me-first attitude, just didn’t fit into that. Leslie Frazier is no Urban Meyer. He actually believes in a certain level of discipline.

4. He is not a #1 wide receiver

For all his talent, Harvin just isn’t a true #1. He has never become a real deep threat. And except for that one year with Brett Favre, he is not a real red zone threat either. Bill Musgrave had to really get creative to wring production out of Harvin last year. And despite Harvin’s sometimes great play, he still didn’t get in the end zone much. And he didn’t stretch the field. Bottom line is, he will never be a great #1 weapon but will always be a complementary piece. He doesn’t go up and get the ball like a great #1 receiver. He isn’t great outside the numbers. He can be contained. He is not Randy Moss or Jerry Rice or Calvin Johnson.

5. He was never worth the money

Why did the Viking get rid of Harvin? What was the #1 motivation behind this decision? I think it had a lot to do with Harvin’s relationship with Christian Ponder. I think the Vikings decided it could never work between Harvin and Ponder. But I think money had something to do with it too. I think the Vikings realized that, even if they kept Harvin for 2013, they had no chance of re-signing him after the season. They knew someone would offer him insane money, an amount well beyond what they were willing to commit. So why keep the guy if you know you’re not going to match what other teams are offering? Why not get what you can get now?

The Vikes were smart to take the draft picks now rather than watch Harvin walk. Because, bottom line, they were never going to pay him #1 receiver money. They never believed, with all his baggage, that he was worth that kind of investment. Fans may love him, but he will never be worth Calvin Johnson money. He doens’t impact the game the way a #1 receiver or a great running back like Adrian Peterson or a great QB like Tom Brady impacts the game. He is a #2 weapon on a good offense. He is unique and talented but he is not top-of-the-line in terms of value. That’s just the truth. The Vikes made a wise move by getting what they could get. Rick Spielman should be applauded for getting this trade done. Signing Harvin to big money would’ve been a terrible mistake. Getting three picks for him was a good day’s work.

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