As I wrote last week, Minnesota Vikings’ wide receiver Percy Harvin is one of the best young talents in the NFC North. But now, just one day after Harvin voiced some very unspecific and very unexpected complaints about his situation in Minnesota, he’s now requested to be traded.
While it remains to be seen if the Vikings even think about moving him, it’s worth considering both what he’s worth and where he’d be the best fit.
Harvin has two years and around $4.5 million left on his rookie contract. It’s a deal that he’s certainly outplayed. In his career he’s amassed over 2600 yards solely on special teams. On offense he’s improved year after year. 2011 saw him 87 passes for almost 1000 yards. He’s one of the games most dynamic play makers, who can make plays on out of the backfield, as a receiver, and on special teams. Requesting a new contract at this point of his career wouldn’t be an absurd notion.
However, multiple sources have stated that his discontent lies solely with his contact, but with the overall situation in Minnesota. That’s understandable as well. Harvin is undersized, but he’s also a very physical player that has taken a beating in his short career. He played in all 16 games last season, but he was battling through rib and shoulder injuries. A player that relies on his speed and has an injury history isn’t going to want to spend the prime of his career on a rebuilding team like the Vikings.
If Minnesota was to trade Harvin, where would he fit best? Because he’s such a playmaker, the Vikings couldn’t take any less than a 2nd round draft pick for him. That’s a big gamble to take on a player who has a lengthy injury history (although he’s only missed three games in his career) and has also dealt with a problematic migraine issue.
Where’s the best fit for the talented play maker? Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities.
Buffalo is one of the best system fits Harvin could ask for. Chan Gailey runs a spread offense with concepts that gives slot receivers tons of opportunities to make big plays. Harvin would also benefit from Stevie Johnson demanding attention from opposing defenses. The days of Harvin being constantly double teamed would likely be over.
Buffalo isn’t likely to pull the trigger on a deal, however. They’ve already made several big time acquisitions in this off season, and they feel pretty happy with the group of receivers they have now.
Like Buffalo, the Browns will be running an offense that is nearly perfectly suiting to Harvin’s talents. Cleveland has a much bigger need for a play maker than the majority of the league. 2011 showed that there just isn’t much play making talent on the roster and as they look to rebuild, Harvin would be a great piece to add.
Harvin and the Browns are far from a perfect fit, however. Like Minnesota, Cleveland is not going to be a team that will be making much of an impact in 2012. If Harvin wants to be on a team that’s ready to win, he’ll want to go elsewhere.
There’s also the issue of the Browns’ offensive coordinator, Brad Childress. Childress is Harvin’s former head coach from Minnesota and the two have an awful relationship. Their clashes have been well documented, and it’s doubtful the two could work together in Cleveland.
Aside from standout Andre Johnson, the Texans don’t have a ton to work with at wide receiver. Kevin Walter is currently listed as their second option at wide out, and his 474 receiving yards in 2011 aren’t much to get excited about. They need another play maker to take pressure off of Johnson, and Harvin would be that guy.
Harvin would instantly upgrade the Texans’ offense and special teams. Jacoby Jones has been wildly inconsistent and Harvin would bring big play potential Jones simply can’t provide.
Houston also has a strong, veteran locker room that would be able to keep Harvin’s occasional outbursts in check. A mentor like Johnson could very well bring Harvin to the next level, and Harvin’s talents could make Houston favorites to win the AFC.
There’s no question that the Dolphins need wide receivers more than any other team in the league. The addition of Chad Johnson at the most will be a one or two year band aid at the position. Adding Harvin to their offense would bring a more dynamic player and would be a much longer term solution.
Harvin may not fit as well in Miami as he would elsewhere. He’s a player that’s very similar to two current Dolphins, Davone Bess and Reggie Bush. Having three specialty players would certainly provide many interesting options on offense, but the Dolphins would still be lacking a real #1 receiver.
In spite of that, Harvin would still be a solid addition to a wide receiver needy team. Harvin’s play making on offense and special teams could give Dolphins’ defense the help it needs to bring a winning season to Miami.