The Percy Harvin saga took another turn Wednesday afternoon when Harvin was not on the field for the Vikings' practice session at mini-camp.
Before that session, Vikings GM Rick Spielman said the team has no intention of trading Harvin. Harvin, apparently upset over his contract, has asked for a trade. He has two years left on his five-year, $12 million deal.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier deferred to Spielman’s earlier comments without much elaboration. For example:
On Harvin missing practice: “I know Rick had a chance to to meet with you guys and talk about how we feel in regards to Percy,” Frazier said. “I’ll kind of leave it at that.”
On why Harvin missed practice: “I don’t want to get into that until we have a chance to have an extensive conversation,” Frazier said.
On whether Harvin would be at the mini-camp’s final practice Thursday: “You know, I’m not sure,” Frazier said. “Whether we talk today or in the morning will probably determine that. But I’d really rather concentrate on the guys who are here.
What Frazier did say was that he still planed a sit-down meeting with Harvin.
There is no question the Vikings were taken by surprise by Harvin’s comments and actions this week. Frazier talked about how unpredictable football could be. Harvin would likely be eligible to be fined should he miss another practice Thursday. Teams are allowed to fine a player $10,000 for missing one mini-camp session, $20,000 for missing two and $60,000 for missing all three.
That said, Frazier reiterated that he felt whatever issues were bothering Harvin could be ironed out before training camp. “I don’t know what could keep it from getting worked out,” he said. “Whatever it is. So we’ll see.”
Spielman said he regards Harvin as a cornerstone of the team.
“I feel confident we can work through anything that needs to be worked through,” Spielman said.
On Tuesday Harvin said he was unhappy with the team, but didn’t say why. That led to speculation that it could concern his contract -- which has two years remaining – or his role in the offense. That speculation intensified with Wednesday’s report that Harvin had asked for a trade.
Spielman didn’t add any clarity to what the issue – or issues – might be. Indeed, Spielman didn’t even officially confirm that a trade request had been made.
He did make a couple of things clear, though.
“We have no interest at all of trading Percy Harvin,” he said. “We drafted Percy Harvin here. He’s a key part of our organization. He’s a key part of our football team. Any issues that are out there, or reported, we always handle those things internally.”
Spielman said he had not yet spoken with Harvin, but that Frazier had. Spielman said he had spoken to Harvin’s agent, Joel Segal, “a few times.”
But, just what has prompted Harvin’s request for a trade remains unclear. Earlier Wednesday offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said he was unaware of any issues Harvin might have with his role in the offense, and described his relationship with Harvin as “outstanding.”
Spielman said the team usually addresses a contract extension when a player is entering the final year of his current deal.
As for Harvin going public? “Sometimes you can’t control that,” he said. “It’s part of what we have to deal with sometimes. Percy is a very good person. And we’ll get all the issues resolved. … It’s an issue we have to deal with, with coach Frazier and myself.”
Running back Adrian Peterson said he learned about Harvin’s issues with the team when he was lying in bed, watching TV. “I saw it go across the screen,” Peterson said. “Whatever the issue is, I’m sure they’ll get things squared away.”
Peterson was asked if the situation was a distraction. No, he said, more of a bother.
“You definitely don’t want to lose this guy,” Peterson said. “I’m sure the organization will do what it has to do to keep this guy around. If it was me, I’d make sure we kept him around. But we’ll see.”
Peterson said he planned to talk with Harvin to see if he could help him get things smoothed over with the team.
“First I’ll have to sit down and see what’s bothering him,” he said. “We’re grown men, I’m sure he’s going to do what his mind is set [on]. Personally, I think everything will be OK.”
Meanwhile, in non-Harvin news ...
Peterson has been very active along the sidelines at Winter Park during mini-camp. The All-Pro running back remains on a fast recovery from December surgery to repair torn knee ligaments.
“It’s pretty much wide open. I’m able to go out and do everything — cutting and different things like that. Flexibility is good,” Peterson said.
“Main thing for me right now is really getting the strength back in this left leg, getting the quad back strong, getting the hamstring and the calf, building those muscles, trying to get it equal or stronger than the right leg.”
Although Peterson remains optimistic his intensive rehab program will prepare him for training camp, which begins July 26 in Mankato. He wants to play in the season opener Sept. 9 against Jacksonville at the Metrodome.
“My goal is to be able to go out and participate somewhat during training camp,” Peterson said. “That’s my goal. How much? I’m sure the staff, they’ll evaluate things and they’ll let me know.”
- Linebacker Jasper Brinkley was held out of practice again Wednesday. And here is yet another mystery. On Tuesday Brinkley said it was his surgically-repaired hip that was bothering him. Today Frazier insisted Brinkley was being treated for a groin injury.
- Three receivers are hampered. Stephen Burton, who had to leave practice Tuesday, was diagnosed with pneumonia on Wednesday. He should be ready by training camp. Kerry Taylor has a broken finger. And Bryan Walters turned an ankle during position drills Wednesday and will miss Thursday’s practice.