It didn’t take long for the national media to try to wrangle an answer from Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman on Thursday regarding receiver Percy Harvin.
It took less time for Spielman to reiterate Minnesota’s position on its talented but temperamental receiver: “We have no intent to trade Percy Harvin.”
They were the same words uttered by Spielman last week when he met with local reporters for his annual pre-Combine question-and-answer session. Spielman took to the podium again Thursday in Indianapolis and the first question was about Harvin, his unhappiness with the team that drafted him No. 22 overall in the 2009 and whether the Vikings might look to trade a player who is entering the final season of his rookie contract. Harvin is set to make $2.9 million, well below the average of the league’s top receivers.
“As I stated earlier, we have no intent to trade Percy Harvin,” Spielman said at the Combine. “Anything related to his contract or any discussions will all be kept internally. I think everybody understands what type of player Percy Harvin is. He’s a dynamic playmaker, not only on offense with the things that he can do at different positions but also what he bring us as a kickoff returner.”
Several reports have surfaced since the end of a season in which Minnesota made a surprise run to the playoffs: The team might look to trade Harvin, he could hold out if his contract isn’t re-worked in the offseason and he’s unhappy with the team’s offense. Take your pick or take them all. The Vikings made their postseason run with four straight wins at the end of the year without Harvin, who had been put on injured reserve with an ankle injury.
Harvin’s place in the offense was secure when he was healthy, and no receiver in the NFL was getting the ball in his hands more. When he suffered a badly sprained ankle in Week 9, Harvin led the NFL in receptions and was the league’s top kickoff returner. Despite missing the final seven games, he still led Minnesota in receptions (62) and receiving yards (677) last season.
But after being put on season-ending IR, Harvin returned to his Florida home and wasn’t around the team. He also has had public outbursts, in particular on the sideline earlier in that Week 9 game against Seattle and reportedly behind closed doors to coach Leslie Frazier. Harvin also reportedly asked for a trade last summer and missed part of the team’s mandatory minicamp, adding to more evidence that he wants more money or out of Minnesota.
But Spielman has maintained there are no issues with Harvin. The GM told reporters before his press conference Thursday that he hasn’t he hasn’t spoken to other teams about Harvin since arriving in Indianapolis and that reporters are the only ones who have inquired about the star receiver.
“None,” Spielman told the Minneapolis Star Tribune about talking with other teams. “The cab driver coming in didn’t say anything to me about it. The pilot when I got on the plane (didn’t ask).”