The Seahawks and Vikings have agreed to a trade that would send wide receiver Percy Harvin to Seattle, FOXSports.com has learned. The deal is contingent upon him passing a physical.
Minnesota would receive Seattle’s first- and seventh-round picks in the 2013 NFL Draft and a mid-round pick in the 2014 Draft.
Vikings star Adrian Peterson, the reigning league MVP, expressed frustration over the deal.
”The best all around player I ever seen or you’ll ever see! Goes to Seattle! I feel like I just got kicked in the stomach. Several times!!!” Peterson posted on Twitter.
Harvin, who is entering the final year of his rookie deal, had been adamant about receiving a contract extension, but the Vikings looked to cut bait on the premier talent.
Seattle seems like an ideal landing spot as Harvin has worked with Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who coached Harvin in Minnesota during his rookie season.
Harvin was producing at an All-Pro level until badly spraining his left ankle Nov. 4 at Seattle. He was placed on injured reserve a month later, abruptly ending a season that began so strongly. The 24-year-old led the NFL in total yards, including rushing, receiving and returning, at the time of his injury.
Teams aren’t allowed to comment on trades or free-agent deals until the new league year begins Tuesday afternoon.
Harvin’s arrival in Seattle will give second-year quarterback Russell Wilson a dynamic playmaker and hard-nosed runner who has gained the bulk of his yardage after first contact. His departure from Minnesota leaves an even bigger void in a group of receivers that already was one of the thinnest in the NFL.
Defensive tackle Kevin Williams, in an interview on SiriusXM satellite radio, expressed his concern, too.
”I mean, I can’t say I’m just happy about it. Who knows how much longer I have in Minnesota?” Williams said, adding: ”I can’t tell you one receiver that’s on the team right now.”
Stephen Burton, Greg Childs, Chris Summers and Jarius Wright are the only receivers currently on the roster. Wright, a rookie last season who replaced Harvin in the slot after the injury, is the only one with more than 73 yards receiving for his career.
The Vikings, though, were in a bind, despite general manager Rick Spielman’s repeated declaration that the organization had ”no intent” to trade Harvin.
Harvin first caused a stir June 19 when he expressed unspecified dissatisfaction with ”some things” about the team. He clarified his feelings a bit after the season started by acknowledging a lack of understanding about his role in offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave’s scheme.
The Vikings lined him up all over the field, including as a running back, but in an attempt to preserve his health often limited his snaps and turns as a kickoff returners, particularly over his first three years. Harvin was by far quarterback Christian Ponder’s favorite target, but the struggles of the passing attack that increased around midseason did not help Harvin’s mood.
He was seen shouting at coach Leslie Frazier on the sideline after one failed possession inside the 20-yard line in the last game he played for the Vikings. The bubble screen pass they used so effectively early in the year to get Harvin the ball was bottled up more and more, especially against the Seahawks. Ponder passed for only 63 yards in that game, a 30-20 loss, but the Vikings rallied behind Peterson’s record-setting performances to win their last four games and finish 10-6 for a spot in the playoffs.
Harvin will enter the fifth and final season of his rookie deal with a $2.9 million salary that’s well under market value. The Vikings have a history of giving their core players new contracts before they enter the final years of their current deals, and that obviously didn’t happen with Harvin. As a slot receiver, as exceptional and varied as his skills are, Harvin didn’t give them the tall, fast, game-breaking target on the outside that they’ve been lacking since they got rid of Randy Moss.
The Vikings traded Moss to Oakland a little more than eight years ago. Moss, too, was a moody player whose peaceful coexistence in the locker room came in question. The Vikings received a first-round pick and starting linebacker Napoleon Harris in that trade, but the seventh overall selection they infamously used on unreliable wide receiver Troy Williamson never panned out and Harris didn’t do much, either. Moss proved he still had plenty of touchdowns left in him.
Now the Vikings have more room under the salary cap to pursue one of the free agents on the market that opens on Tuesday, with Greg Jennings and Mike Wallace the best available but sure-to-be-expensive options. Either way, they’ll certainly make wide receivers a primary focus of the draft.
The Seahawks, who also signed former Vikings wide receiver Sidney Rice two years ago, now have another valuable piece in their quest to take the NFC title away from San Francisco. The 49ers were thought, too, to have interest in Harvin.
”He’s so good you just have to showcase him, and that’s what they’re doing,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said in October before the Vikings-Seahawks game. Carroll, who recruited Harvin out of high school when he was at USC, added: ”He’s a fantastic player.”
Rice and Golden Tate are the top two returning receivers for the Seahawks, who finished 11-5 and lost in the second round of the playoffs. In 2009 when Brett Favre came out of retirement to join the Vikings, Rice racked up a career-high 1,312 yards receiving and eight touchdowns. Harvin had 790 yards and six scores.
Listed at 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds with a history of debilitating migraine headaches, Harvin could be at more of an injury risk as his career moves on because so many of his yards come after first contact. For all the toughness he brings to a team — in contrast to Moss, whose effort was sometimes underwhelming — Harvin tries to run through tacklers as often as he tries to dodge them. Though he missed only three games in 3 1/2 seasons until hurting his ankle, Harvin missed dozens of practices over those years because of the migraines.