By now, the Percy Harvin trade saga is in full force and more details are emerging from the situation. Kevin Spielman has maintained that the Minnesota Vikings are not interested in trading Harvin, while offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave stated that he will get a bigger role in the offense this coming season. Some are wondering whether or not his decision to request for a trade has to do with his relatively low contract ($2.47 million TOTAL for the next two seasons), but he tweeted that money isn’t the issue here.
Yesterday, I wrote up a piece on the site (my debut, in fact) explaining why Percy Harvin is in the right for requesting a trade. Most of it doesn’t have to do with the money, because Harvin can play himself into a bigger contract. One word in that sentence suggests what is likely the major issue here; playing time.
Last season, Percy Harvin played in just 58% of his snaps. I’m sure that figure is engraved into most Vikings fans. It’s quite baffling, because Harvin is the team’s second best player on offense, and he is certainly a dynamic player with his ability to make plays as a receiver and running back. 58% is far too low for a player of his importance to the team and his level of talent. That’s probably his issue here; it’s that he wants to be a leader and help this team, but he’s not getting enough opportunities to do all this.
Now if I were Kevin Spielman right now, I would stay put (which is what he is doing right now). There is no way the Vikings can afford to trade a young, talented player like Percy Harvin who is a key to the offense (granted, if Musgrave and Leslie Frazier use him enough). The main thing here is that the Vikings are never going to get fair value for Harvin. Teams are going to low-ball the Vikings, and talented players almost never receive fair value in trades.
The Vikings have to get Percy Harvin more involved in their offense and if giving the ball to one of their most dynamic players wasn’t enough of an incentive at first, then this has to be the clearest reason why he needs to be involved. Harvin knows he can play himself into a better contract, and he can even increase his base salary from $1.55 million to $3.43 million in 2013 if he makes the Pro Bowl next year. He wants to be a leader, and he wants more playing time. This isn’t the case of a player being greedy and wanting more money; Harvin wants more playing time and a chance to shine when he knows he can. Besides, I’m sure most people agree that Harvin is under-utilized in the Vikings offense and would significantly help the team if he gets more playing time.
What the Vikings have to do is keep Percy Harvin, give him a bigger role in the offense, and tell him that he can get a new contract if he earns it. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a new contract if he tears it up this year in an increased role. Although this isn’t a contract issue for Harvin and I’m speculating, I think Spielman would be more than willing to lock up Harvin before 2013- the last year of his deal- if his 2012 campaign is good enough. Now, all the Vikings need to do is answer what is likely a demand for a bigger role in the offense; a bigger role that he deserves.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.