By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Minneapolis, MN - With a month's worth of speculation behind us, today we got the confirmation. The Minnesota Vikings have indeed traded wide receiver Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks. Rumors have been flying around hoping that something would have hit the wall and stuck, but instead, Rick Spielman and the Vikings created a market for their troubled superstar, held the cards close to their vest and pulled the trigger when the time was right.
There was a lot that led up to this deal, a lot that went into developing it and a lot that is before the Vikings now that it's been done. Take a few minutes with me to assess what exactly went down today.
The Nuts and Bolts:
Wide receiver Percy Harvin, 24, has been traded to the Seattle Seahawks. While an official announcement has yet to be released, here is what has been speculated.
In return for Harvin, the Vikings will receive Seattle's 1st (25th overall) and 7th round selections in the 2013 NFL Draft as well as a "mid round" selection (likely a 4th or 5th round choice) in the 2014 NFL Draft. Pretty good value for a player who, at times, was a very public malcontent for the Vikings.
Putting this all in context, the last three big-name receivers to be traded for draft picks in the NFL have been Brandon Marshall (2012), Santonio Holmes (2010) and Anquan Boldin (2010). In all three situations, the trading team received less than the rumored 1st, 7th and mid-round selections that the Vikings got from Seattle. For Marshall, Chicago sent two third-round selections to Miami. For Holmes, the Jets shipped off a fifth round pick. And for Boldin, the Cardinals got a third and a fourth from Baltimore.
Still, Rick Spielman and the Vikings were able to drum up enough interest for Harvin to force the Seahawks to act fast and ship off a pretty good haul to Minnesota in return.
Harvin will rejoin former teammates Sidney Rice and Heath Farwell in Seattle as well as former Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. Bevell was a member of the Minnesota Vikings staff who opted to take a chance on Harvin at the 22nd overall selection in the 2009 Draft.
As of Monday afternoon, Harvin was on his way to Seattle for a physical. From there, it is believed that the deal remains contingent on the possibility of the Seahawks and Harvin's ability to negotiate a new contract. It should be noted that Harvin will be seeking Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald money.
The Tipping Point:
It's become more and more clear that there was some back story as to why the Vikings felt the need to trade their superstar wide receiver in the middle of his prime.
During the 2012 offseason programs in Minnesota, Harvin exploded out of the blue and asked to be traded. Cooler minds prevailed and Harvin, who is still playing on his rookie contract, assured fans that money was not the root of his problem. Later on during the regular season, Harvin was seen screaming at the Vikings head coach on the sideline of the Vikings' week 9 game in, of all places, Seattle.
Low and behold, that unfortunate incident will be the last time that Percy Harvin will ever be seen wearing the Minnesota Vikings purple #12 jersey.
Harvin hobbled through the locker room for the next few weeks as rumors of confrontations behind the scenes continued to surface until Harvin was ultimately placed on the injured reserve list and took off for his home in Florida. Given the way that the season ended for the Vikings, many claimed that the Vikings decision to end Harvin's season was premature and thoughts began to form about what was really going on at Winter Park.
With hindsight being 20/20, it was pretty fishy that Percy disappeared while his teammates went on a run into the playoffs. Today's news may have intimated that there was much more going on behind the scenes than we may ever know but we will always look back to that November 4th game when the ice broke in a very public way between Harvin and the Vikings.
The Developing Market:
As recently as two weeks ago, we were hearing that Percy Harvin (the malcontent) may not even draw as much as a 2nd round draft choice. At the same time, Rick Spielman was busy telling Paul Allen and KFAN that the Vikings had "no intent" to trade Percy Harvin. Well, Rick's meetings at the combine must have gone pretty well as the market for Harvin jumped up from one 2nd round pick to three total picks including a 1st round selection this season.
While Spielman is not devoid of a few bad decisions during his time with the Vikings, lately he has been hitting it out of the park. Looking back to the 2012 Draft where he duped the Browns into a draft day trade that eventually landed the Vikings S Harrison Smith and the rest of an amazing draft class that had a big impact on the team's 2012 success, Spielman has been doing alright since becoming the team's full-time GM.
With free agency around the corner and the draft soon to follow, the time for Spielman to act was now.
The timing of this deal was very important to the Minnesota Vikings who, like the rest of the league, are preparing for the Free Agency period to kick off Tuesday afternoon at 3pm. The Vikings have long been rumored to be good suitors for free agent wide receiver Greg Jennings who appears to be on his way out of Green Bay, and recently the Vikings have also reportedly jumped into the conversations for Mike Wallace. Trading Harvin to Seattle opens up a few million in cap space and also frees up the future commitments owed to players. Both of which allow them to potentially make a splash in this year's free agent market.
The Vikings will head into free agency with approximately $17 million in cap space.
The trade also gives the Vikings 11 picks in the upcoming NFL Draft including the 23rd and 25th overall selections. Those two selection put them right in the neighborhood of Tavon Austin (WR, West Virginia) and/or Keenan Allen (WR, California). The Vikings could also package the 23rd and 25th together or with the 52nd and move up to snag the #1 WR in this year's draft, Cordarrelle Patterson (WR, Tennessee).
All in all, the Vikings have multiple holes to fill so it may be best that they retain the 23rd and 25th and go WR/LB with those two picks.
At the end of the day, the Minnesota Vikings just sent one of the league's most dynamic players off to the Pacific West Coast. Their return was not bad, but the thought of shipping out a proven commodity doesn't usually sit well. That being said, none of us know exactly what was happening behind the scenes. The writing was on the wall and it appears as if there was no feasible way that the Vikings would have been able to keep Percy Harvin in Purple.
Spielman did what he had to do and now it's time for him to improve his free agency track record and continue to impress in the draft. This deal gives him the pieces that he needs to accomplish both.