Percy Harvin is Unhappy With the Vikings’ Passing Game
By Dan Zinski
Dec 11, 2011; Detroit, MI, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin (12) and quarterback Christian Ponder (7) celebrate a touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the first half at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
All throughout the Percy Harvin drama the focus has been on Harvin’s relationship with Leslie Frazier. But trust me, that is the wrong place to be focusing. Harvin’s issues were never really about Frazier. All along Harvin has really been griping about Christian Ponder and the Vikings’ passing game. This report from Jason La Canfora basically confirms the fact. It’s not about contract for Harvin. And it’s not really about Frazier. It’s about the overall offense. In other words, it’s about Ponder.
This is not a surprise if you just put things together. What were the two biggest Harvin incidents last year outside of the actual altercation with Frazier? His minicamp trade demand and the incident in the Seattle game. The trade demand was all about Bill Musgrave’s offense, which was always going to heavily feature the run and limit Harvin’s ability to put up stats. And of course it was about the man running the offense, a quarterback with limited deep passing skills. The sideline blow-up in the Seattle game happened as a direct result of an incomplete short pass to Harvin. No doubt that missed throw – an easy throw that a pro QB should make every single time – was just one of a series of things that finally led to Harvin losing it.
So the signs were there all along that this had nothing to do with money or Frazier and everything to do with Ponder and probably Musgrave. La Canfora’s story just confirms what should have been obvious. Percy Harvin wants nothing to do with an offense that features Adrian Peterson heavily and de-emphasizes the passing game in a way that reduces Harvin’s own stats. What can remedy this situation? Getting a new quarterback with a big arm. That would be a start. But of course the Vikings aren’t going to change quarterbacks. So how do they smooth things over with Percy Harvin? How do they make the situation right without reworking the offense and changing the man behind center?
Simple answer: they don’t rework the offense or change the man behind center. Instead they trade Percy Harvin, eliminating this giant headache that is only going to get bigger and bigger as time goes on. This would actually be a much simpler situation if it were only about money. Then the Vikings could just pay Percy and he’d shut up. But he’s not going to be happy until he becomes the focus of the offense, as he believes he deserves. He is a classic diva receiver who wants the ball thrown his way all the time. But he knows as long as Ponder is the QB, the Vikes will be limited in their passing attack and his ability to put up big numbers will also be limited.
Harvin has been trying to force his way out of Minnesota for a year now. He only stopped his campaign last year because, with two years left on his deal, he had zero leverage. He gained a little leverage as the season wore on by becoming an MVP candidate but then he was injured. The Vikings went on a nice late-season run without him and his leverage went from some to zip. All he has left now is the hold out card. And he will not hesitate to play that card as we’ve been told. But if it’s not about money for him, why would he hold out? To force a trade. That is what he wants. That is what this is all about. He wants out of Minnesota and away from Christian Ponder.
So let’s stop focusing on stuff that doesn’t matter. The money. The stuff with Frazier. It’s about Ponder and the offense. And that’s always what it’s been about. And frankly, I’m not sure I entirely disagree with Percy’s assessment of the situation. But it’s irrelevant because the Vikings are committed to Ponder. He’s their guy, and because of that, the Vikes will probably have to trade away Percy Harvin. They will give up on the blue-chip receiver because they are committed to the mediocre quarterback. If you’re okay with that…well, you’re okay with that.
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