Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968. He has been a Star Tribune sports columnist since 1988. His sportswriting credo is twofold: 1. God will provide an angle; 2. The smaller the ball, the better the writing.


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Harvin's departure is failure for organization

Posted by: Patrick Reusse under Vikings, Vikings fans, Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin Updated: March 12, 2013 - 5:41 AM

Percy Harvin was on a tremendous run through the first six games of last season. The win in Detroit was the only game where his production lagged as a receiver, and he started that one with a 105-yard kickoff return.

The Vikings were 4-2 after a mid-October loss in Washington. Harvin did everything he could that day, with 11 catches for 133 yards and three kickoff returns for 100 yards.

If a survey had been taken on Oct. 15, 2012, asking Minnesota sports fans to name their favorite athlete, the winner would have been Percy Harvin.

Adrian Peterson began his amazing stretch of rushing production in Game 7. Peterson rode that streak to the Most Valuable Player award, and the Vikings rode him to the playoffs.

Harvin also finished the first half of the schedule with fabulous numbers: 60 catches for 667 yards and 15 kick returns for 535 yards. The receiving production was exceptional, when you consider the utter ineptitude that quarterback Christian Pounder had started to display.

Then, on Nov. 4 in Seattle, Harvin suffered an ankle injury. The Vikings wanted him back a month later. Harvin said he wasn't ready to play. The Vikings placed him on injured reserve, more because they were upset with him than convinced he was lost for the season medically.

There had been a confrontation with coach Les Frazier. There was also Harvin's low opinion of Ponder as a quarterback. Most importantly, there was Harvin's frustration over playing for short money and the expectation for a holdout.

And it seems a majority of those fans who would have voted for Harvin as the best Minnesota had to offer in athletics on Oct. 15 are today lauding the Vikings and General Manager Rick Spielman for their astuteness in trading him for the 25th overall selection, a 7th rounder and a third-round selection in 2014.

It's considered quite a haul by the NFL mavens, even though Harvin turns 25 in May, which might make him three years older than the suspect the Vikings wind up getting with the 25th overall pick.

Vikings fans went goofy when the team traded Randy Moss, then 28, to Oakland for the seventh overall pick in 2005. The fact the Purple screwed up the selection mightily _ taking receiver Troy Williamson -- made it a fiasco.

One thing we're hearing from the Purple aplogists is that Harvin will continue to get hurt because of the "way he plays.'' The accusation is that he doesn't give up on a play and thus takes too many hits.

Yup. There's a bad thing: When Harvin plays, he plays too hard. That wasn't a big problem for Moss, admittedly.

Harvin had played in 55 of 58 games (counting playoffs) for the Vikings, before being injured in Seattle. Percy is much more missing practice-prone than he is injury-prone.

In four years here, the player I saw was the football equivalent of Kirby Puckett -- short, powerful, and playing his game with the best instincts you will see.

Percy Harvin is a genius of space and movement on a football field, as was Puck on a baseball diamond. You don't make a good trade for a player like that. You have screwed up as an organization when you allow a player such as Harvin to become disillusioned beyond repair.

Stephon Marbury was 1B to Kevin Garnett's 1A with the Timberwolves in 1999. The organization was unable to reconcile with him and Marbury was traded at age 22. An organization doesn't get better by trading its second best player at a young age.

Percy Harvin was 1B to Adrian Peterson's 1A with the Vikings. If Harvin can be made content and engaged in Seatttle, the same could have happened here.

This is a failure that goes to the organization.

 

 

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