Wednesday, July 1, 2015

percy harvin

[NOTE:  Click the links to see our free agency rankings for quarterbacksrunning backsfullbacks,tight ends, centers, guards, and offensive tackles.  We’ll continue our way through all of the positions this week.]

The media is currently in the middle of regurgitating old Percy Harvin storylines, but the truth is that nobody has any idea how that whole situation is going to shake out.  What we do know is that the Vikings need to arm their offense with pass catching weapons, and losing a guy like Harvin would be one huge step backwards, which is not a direction they can really afford to go in.

The Vikings need so much help at receiver, in fact, I would consider almost every option to be viable and would fully expect to see some fireworks during free agency.  Here are some of the options:

Top Tier

1.  Dwayne Bowe, KC

There is no doubt that Bowe’s career has been plagued by inconsistencies and a knucklehead attitude.  With that being said, the guy is very talented and has produced at a high level despite poor quarterbacks filtering through Kansas City over the years, and that offense misses him greatly when he isn’t there.  He would immediately provide some legitimacy to the Vikings offense.

Well, it has been a while since we have done our “links” segment, but we have some stories to direct you towards on this football-less Sunday.

  • Adrian Peterson isn’t the only Vikings to ever be named the NFL’s MVP.  Here is a look at the other two Vikings to win the honor.
  • It is no secret that Jerome Felton is someone we would all like to see sign a new contract in the very near future.  Here is why.
  • It seems to be a trending prediction to put Greg Jennings in purple next season.
  • Whether or not the Vikings have a sixth round pick this year, or not, has become somewhat of a mystery.
  • Another series of questions about Percy Harvin leaves us without any concrete answers.
  • Mike Singletary is still trying to find a way out of Minnesota.
  • Think the Vikings have a good shot at a 2013 Super Bowl?  Place your bet now.
  • “Sources” say that Percy Harvin was not placed on injured reserve because of injury, but because of his attitude, and that the team plans to move on.
  • Former Vikings great Matt Birk hasn’t yet decided if his career will end with Super Bowl win.
  • Minnesota and the Vikings are hoping to host the Super Bowl in 2018.
  • One of the best analytical sites on the internet gives us the Vikings top three needs.  I’d like to tell you there is a shocking surprise, but…
  • The Giants have cast off a few defenders already, and they might be a good fit in Minnesota.
  • A free agent wide receiver like Donald Jones makes plenty of sense for the receiver-needy Vikings.
  • A claim that local beat writers for the Vikings are too often being cheerleaders for the team, and for Christian Ponder.
  • The NFL Scouting Combine is fast approaching and here is a complete list of the 333 prospects that have been invited.
  • Now that Cris Carter is in Canton, which Vikings greats should we champion next?
  • And, here it is, your moment of Zen:

Percy Harvin was recently at Winter Park for his exit physical and Leslie Frazier, as usual, calmly assessed the situation.

“It went well. He’s fine. He’s cleared,” Frazier said. “All the medical was good.”

This indicates that Harvin’s ankle sprain should be a non-issue moving forward, but the more pressing question surrounding Harvin is whether or not he’ll be playing as a member of the Minnesota Vikings or some other team in 2013.

Frazier said that his star receiver was in a “good frame of mind” during his time at winter park.  “We’ll see where it goes from there,” he added.

It was also recently reported that Harvin hit escalators in his contract that will nearly double his currently scheduled salary for 2013.  He is now scheduled to earn $2.9 million under his current deal, but there is no reason to expect him to step foot on a football field during the upcoming season unless he is under the terms and conditions of a brand new deal.

As far as Harvin goes, I will still direct you to this article that I penned quite some time ago.  Nothing has really changed since then, other than Harvin’s salary.

Harvin isn’t the only player that got a boost next year from unlocking incentives.  Chris Cook, Joe Webb, Everson Griffen, and Toby Gerhart are all members of the 2010 Draft class and each unlocked a salary increase that will bring them each to $650,000.  Cook also unlocked a $1 million roster bonus and will carry a cap hit of $2.305 in 2013.

Meanwhile, with Harvin getting healthy again, two of his teammates recently went under the knife.  Punter Chris Kluwe had his knee cleaned up because of some loose cartilage.  The Vikings signed punter T.J. Conley to a reserve/future contract, but it is unlikely that Kluwe’s surgery cuts into any of his offseason practice time.

Jared Allen also had surgery, the first of his football career, due to a torn labrum that he played with through the entire 2012 season.  Allen delayed the surgery so that he could participate in the Pro Bowl, but he is still expected to be ready to go by the time training camp rolls around.

I have some interesting theories (or, at least, I think they are interesting) on what the Vikings should do at running back this year.  The truth is that those theories don’t really involve free agency, however, which probably isn’t all that surprising provided that Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart still sit atop the depth chart at the position.

Still, in the spirit of the offseason, I have put together my free agent ranking at the position.

Top Tier

I would be surprised to see the Vikings spend big money on a running back, as I mentioned already, but there is no denying that the traits of certain pending free agents could be attractive.  A running back that possesses an extra ability to contribute in the passing game or special teams may warrant some consideration, especially if Rick Spielman ends up dealing Percy Harvin to another team.

That is the reason that Reggie Bush tops my running back rankings for the Vikings.  I have long said that Harvin and Bush are two very similar players, despite officially playing different positions, and Vikings fans can remember all too well how Bush is capable of making a difference as a return man and slot receiver.  Besides, in Miami he was really able to come into his own as a true running back and managed to be relatively durable.

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It took about a whole two, maybe three, hours before the disappointment from getting our butts handed to us via the Green Bay Packers vanished and the excitement for the offseason completely consumed me. Free agents? The draft?! Possible trades? Veterans leaving? New talent?

I love it.

Don’t get me wrong, I was as bummed about the loss as the next hardcore Vikings fan (well, maybe not as much as this guy…) but the postseason letdown didn’t feel as bad this time. Maybe it was because deep down I knew once it was announced Christian Ponder wouldn’t be starting that we would lose the game and then the next three to four hours was just a realization of that fact. Maybe it’s because nothing could have happened in the playoffs that would take away from what an amazing season 2012 was. (And, folks, it was an amazing football season.) Who knows, really.

What I do know is that I was, and am, at peace with what the Vikings did this year and what I think they’ll do in the near future.

There’s a lot to be excited about with this team. There’s a ton to look forward to this offseason and some great stories to look out for.

Here are five of the biggest stories headed into the offseason. Stories that we will be covering in [exhausting] detail here at Vikings Territory, I’m sure. Of course, there will always be a few (maybe more) developments that catch us all by surprise. You can be sure we’ll have those, too.

(Note: These do not include general things like “the draft” or “free agency.” It’s a given those will be huge. I tried to think of specific storylines that will provide intrigue, mystery and excitement.)

5. The New Stadium

I almost didn’t include the stadium on the list because it seems that, now that we’ve got our stadium, it’s more of a “I don’t care how it happens, just get it here” type thing. But, after Adam mentioned it to me when I queried the inner-workings of his very knowledgeable Vikings mind, I started to see why it could become something we talk about frequently during the offseason.

It shouldn’t be long until we start seeing a real design for this thing.  And that will be pretty dang cool. We’ll finally get to see what this thing will look like. What features it will have. Does it have a retractable roof? Seat warmers? Does it have a mammoth monitor floating eerily above the ant-sized players a hundred or so feet below? Who knows.

It will be something tangible at that point. Something we can look at and say, “Okay. So that’s going to be where I take my children to watch my Minnesota Vikings a few years from now.” (Maybe more if you’re me).

It’s been an idea up until this point. A finalized design that we can see is a big step to it becoming a real, real reality. (A real one.)

4. Backup Quarterback Backup Plan

Christian Ponder’s late season surge (and potentially even his absence from the playoff game at Lambeau) solidified his role as the Vikings starter at quarterback next season. Head coach Leslie Frazier has even already made it public. That’s all good and fine, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Vikings still need to figure some things out at the quarterback position during the offseason.

I’m not going to torch Joe Webb too much because I honestly feel like he’s better than what he showed Saturday in Green Bay. The guy was thrown into an incredibly difficult situation under an offensive coordinator who remained steadfast in his stubborn ways and refused to adjust his game plan to increase the likelihood of success for Webb. Nevertheless, I don’t think Joe Webb is somebody who can really threaten Ponder for the starting position and light a fire under his butt, so to speak.

I think Ponder is going to be a good quarterback with a little more development. I take a lot of heat for that position but I’ve held it since he was drafted and I still hold it today. But I’ll be the first one to tell you that it is not a sure thing. He is not a sure thing. And the Vikings need to have a Plan B just in case it doesn’t pan out with #7.

Personally, I’d like Spielman and Co. to do some superb scouting and find a quarterback in the middle rounds who has a lot of upside. It’s also possible the team could just to go the free agent route. (Also, let’s not kid ourselves, it’s entirely possible the Vikings could not address it at all…)

Nevertheless, I think how the roster shapes up behind Ponder is something to keep an eye on.

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