Can anyone truly question Percy Harvin's talent? Obviously, the production is there, but can the same be said of his trade value?
Clearly, it's arguable as to whether or not this play maker can be deemed a "once in a lifetime receiver." However, at 24 years of age, there is great possibility that he is entering his prime and his best years of football are ahead of him. Curiously, the Vikings are making a foolish decision of trading away their most exciting play maker other than A.P. Personally, I believe it would be just as foolish to pass on him, when the potential is there to capitalize. So before we make any final decisions, let's consider a few things.
For starters, I think it is worth noting the way of which Harvin has outperformed the three receivers selected before him in the 2009 NFL draft. Over his four seasons in the NFL, this wideout has averaged over 5 catches and 61 receiving yards per game. Although he has never surmounted 1000 yards in a season (Crabtree did this season), Jeremy Maclin, Michael Crabtree, and Darrius Heyward-Bey have not matched Harvin's average gameday performance. In greater depth, Crabtree has averaged roughly 4.5 receptions for over 57 yards a game and Maclin has averaged about 4 receptions for 59 yards a game in their four year careers. Darrius Heyward-Bey has started his career with an average of 2.5 receptions with roughly 37 yards per game. Personally, I believe that Harvin's consistency is something worth noting when determining his trade value.
In my opinion, Percy Harvin was the largest contributor to Tebow's college football success. His short field burst, strong hands, and ability to juke defenders has adequately translated into him becoming a productive NFL receiver. Since Blaine Gabbert has been granted another year as the starter of this team, what would be a better way to improve his play than by adding another target with proven ability? GM David Caldwell has quoted "What were they saying about other quarterbacks after their second year? We're looking for improvement (in his third year). We need to build around him. We'll upgrade whenever we can upgrade." Consider this, if we knew what we know now about Havin's NFL production, where would he have been on your mock draft before the 2009 NFL draft. Now I'm all for building through the draft, but its more sensible to take a chance on a 24 year old experienced player like Harvin in favor of taking a chance on an unproven rookie in the later rounds of this years draft.
Obviously, the biggest concern driving most fans away from Harvin's acquisition is his attitude in the locker room. Interestingly, Vikings quarterback, Christian Ponder told KFAN's Paul Allen (via Mike Florio of Pro Football talk) that "Obviously, it'd be nice to have [Harvin]. He's a heck of a player." To me this clearly shows that there is some respect between quarterback and receiver, which is the only respect that I'm concerned about, between what could be Harvin and Gabbert. Ponder proceeded to say, "Obviously, everyone saw how tough he was physically and mentally. And he had a lot of leadership qualities. He was a good teammate." Clearly, there was no stated issue involving Harvin's locker room personality. I believe that if Harvin was an unbearable or intolerable influence, there would be more public statements from the players concerning his character. Harvin's current trade situation is not a product of his locker room attitude, but of a feud with his coach. How do we know that his fight with the coach was actually because he sat out at a time when he could have played through his injury? Unless the Vikings find a sufficient (which is a big "IF") replacement, the stats conclude that Minnesota will pay. To a greater extent, Harvin has the potential to be a faster, more athletic version of Welker based on his upward trending numbers and age. In each of his four seasons, his YAC his increased and has remained the highest in his draft class since Hakeem Nicks finished off 2009 with an impressive 9 YAC per reception.
As a Viking, Harvin has scored at least once as a receiver, kick returner, and a rusher, making him an all- round offensive threat. Harvin fell to injury in Week 9 against the Seattle Seahawks. After his injury Minnesota went 5-2 and made the playoffs majorly due to the play of Adrian Peterson. Minnesota ranked 31st in the league in passing yards per game with 172. Although A.P. can seemingly carry a team, the Vikings were unable to stretch the field without Harvin.
With the production that Harvin has seen over his career, I find it more reasonable for there to be discussion over the bidding war that he erupts among his suitors. I hope that Kahn and Caldwell aggressively use our excessive cap space to acquire Harvin. If they do, we should have faith in our coaching staff to instill a level of discipline and professionalism that is to be respected by all the players for the entirety of their contracts. If our coaching staff is readily prepared to coach an NFL team, I'm sure that they are aware that there a plenty of NFL divas around the NFL and the best staff finds ways to deal with them.
Now Lets Get Harvin!