Vikings receiver Percy Harvin skipped a practice and demanded to be traded, widening a rift between the team and one of its most explosive offensive stars.
Brian Peterson, Dml - Star Tribune Star Tribune
The Harvin plot thickens
- Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD
- Star Tribune
- June 21, 2012 - 6:53 AM
On Wednesday, Percy Harvin went from unhappy to invisible.
Harvin, who aired his feelings of frustration Tuesday, attended Wednesday morning's walk-through at Vikings minicamp but was not at the afternoon session.
It's the latest step in a saga that started with the wide receiver's apparent disappointment that he wasn't getting a reworked contract and escalated into him asking the Vikings to trade him, according to an NFL source close to the situation. Wednesday afternoon, Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman wouldn't confirm the trade request but said he would have no interest in making such a move.
Coach Leslie Frazier said he didn't know if Harvin would be at the final practice of a mandatory minicamp Thursday. If he is not, he would be subject to fines unless the team excuses the absence.
"I'm not sure," Frazier said. "Whether we talk today or in the morning will probably determine that."
Meanwhile, it has not been confirmed exactly what issue -- or issues -- has Harvin so upset.
Wednesday evening, a couple tweets came from Harvin's verified Twitter account, @Percy_Harvin. They indicated Harvin and Frazier were talking.
"Fans I said I have issues to be worked out money not at all being the problem," the tweets began. "I've dne everything asked and more. ... Me and cch [Frazier] have been speaking and are on the same page ... there's nothin' I can do."
Harvin is entering the fourth year of his five-year rookie deal. He is due a base salary of $915,000 this season. In three seasons, Harvin has accounted for nearly 6,000 yards from scrimmage and has scored 24 touchdowns. All reasons, said Spielman, for wanting to keep him.
"The Vikings have no interest in trading Percy Harvin," Spielman said. "We drafted Percy Harvin here. He's a key part of our organization. ... And any issues that are out there or reported, we always handle those internally."
Spielman said he had spoken with Joel Segal, Harvin's agent, "a few times."
If Harvin is unhappy with how he is used in the offense, coordinator Bill Musgrave said he is unaware of it. Musgrave said his relationship with Harvin is "outstanding."
Indeed, it's pretty clear the situation surprised the Vikings. Frazier talked about dealing with the unexpected in his post-practice press conference. Teammate Adrian Peterson said he learned about Harvin's unhappiness while watching TV at home Tuesday night.
"I saw it go across the screen," he said. "I'm sure the organization will do whatever it has to do to keep this guy around. If it was me, I would make sure we kept him around. But we'll see."
Harvin watched the morning walk-through without participating. At different times Frazier approached him and put his arm around his shoulders during a short chat. Receivers coach George Stewart and special teams coordinator Mike Priefer also talked to Harvin.
While divulging little, Spielman said he considered Harvin a cornerstone player.
"[It's] just some internal things that we'll get worked out," said Spielman. He wouldn't confirm if the contract was an issue, but he noted the team's history of extending players' deals in the final year of a contract. That could be a problem, considering there are two years left in the five-year, $12.05 million deal Harvin signed after being drafted 22nd overall in 2009.
Frazier said he didn't think Harvin has become a distraction.
"I'm not so sure our players are overly concerned," he said. "They seem to really be focused on what we're doing and what they have to get done."
Distraction or not, the team is clearly closing ranks. After practice Spielman and Frazier talked at length at midfield of the team's indoor facility. While answering questions moments later, Frazier said more than once he would let Spielman speak for the team. Indeed, after a series of questions about Harvin, Frazier said he wanted to talk about "the guys who are here."
So what next? Frazier said he and Harvin would have "extensive" discussions.
"I don't know what could keep [the situation] from getting worked out, whatever it is," Frazier said. "We'll see."
Said Spielman: "It's an issue that we have to deal with, with Coach Frazier and myself. And we'll deal with it."
Peterson was asked if he felt the situation would be resolved.
"Ultimately, we're grown men, so I'm sure he's going to do what his mind is set on," he said. "And I feel like, personally, everything will work out fine."
© 2013 Star Tribune