Whether it be his time under Urban Meyer at Florida or his time playing for Brad Childress or his more recent days playing for Leslie Frazier, Percy Harvin always seems to leave a trail of not-so-flattering dirt behind him. The problem for the media, both national and local, seems to be that by the time they report any dirt on Harvin it is pretty well embedded into the past.
The most recent report that put Harvin in the crosshairs came from Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports and claims that Harvin nearly walked out on the Vikings after news broke that his former teammate at Florida, tight end Aaron Hernandez, received a nifty contract extension from the Patriots. As Tom Pelissero of 1500 ESPN points out, Hernandez signed his contract extension on August 27th which was the final week of the preseason, and no reports of a Harvin-related incident has previously been reported from that time period.
Cole also goes onto say that the Vikings have yet to make an offer to Harvin, and that Harvin’s agent has yet to make an offer to the Vikings, but that is is believed Harvin wants to be paid significantly more than Dwayne Bowe and Vincent Jackson are getting under their current contracts. He reportedly would like to see a contact more in the neighborhood of Calvin Johnson’s eight year deal worth up to $132 million.
While Harvin claimed last offseason that his sudden tirade during the offseason, where he reportedly demanded a trade, was not about the money but was instead about other issues within the offense. More recent reports indicate, however, that Harvin’s contract demands are what is standing in the way of an extension or even a trade.
Despite all the fairly clear evidence against Harvin and the way he handles himself, I have to wonder about the timing of Cole’s report and the motives that his unnamed sources might have. Cole writes that the Vikings “fear” that Harvin will hold out in 2013 as long as he allowed (week 10), while still accruing a year of service, and aim to be an unrestricted free agent. Part of that “fear” stems from worries that he would be such a pain in the ass when he did eventually return, that they wouldn’t even want to consider retaining his rights via the franchise tag.
I personally don’t see any legitimate reason the Vikings have to “fear” a Harvin hold out. If he comes back in week 10, presumably very healthy, he will likely be advised by his agent that he is playing for his new contract still and will have major motivation to impress anyone watching during his truncated season. Harvin would have to completely destroy his own reputation along the way if this ever got to the point that he wouldn’t be a franchise tag candidate and valuable trade bait. Maybe I am foolish or ignorant, but nothing about a hold out situation scares me.
I’m not sure what the motive was here, but Cole’s sources didn’t push this “new” look into Harvin’s attitude on the eve of free agency (essentially) by coincidence. It seems very calculated, actually.
And, like I have said a gazillion times this offseason, plenty of options still exist here. The whole Harvin saga could end on Monday, or it could continue for another eight years, or something in between those two scenarios.
The only thing I know for sure, however, is that neither Jason Cole or his source have any idea how all of this is going to end up.