Scoggins: Harvin has baggage, but not enough to send him packing

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 26, 2012 - 11:15 PM
hide

Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin

Photo: Brian Peterson, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Vikings report to training camp July 26, which means the team has a month to resolve whatever it is that triggered Percy Harvin's screwball antics last week.

That's assuming Petulant Percy doesn't reappear and profess his unhappiness with some other undisclosed issue. In the meantime, the Vikings also must consider a larger, overriding question regarding their talented and temperamental wide receiver.

What do they do with this guy?

Until last week, that answer was probably fairly easy. Sign him to a lucrative long-term extension and then sit back and enjoy his talent. The way he explodes in open field, pinballs off defenders, fights for every inch possible. Harvin gives every ounce of himself on Sundays. You'll never hear him say he plays when he wants to play.

Everyone loves that guy, Positive Percy. That player showed up on the first day of optional workouts proclaiming he would lead the way out of a three-win abyss. Harvin loathes OTAs and spending his offseason in Minnesota so maybe, just maybe, he really took this new leadership responsibility to heart.

But now? How can you feel that confident after witnessing Petulant Percy, a guy who requests to be traded and then pretends it didn't happen 24 hours later? How can you blindly trust someone who broadcasts his unhappiness multiple times -- while also declaring that he keeps his issues "in house" -- and hinted at a training camp holdout after being asked a harmless question about his shoulder injury?

And how do you think his veteran teammates felt privately about his skipping a mandatory practice and then posting on Twitter that he's "clueless on the crazy reports."

He's clueless all right. And the only thing crazy about the reports was the fact Harvin implied that nothing happened and he'll just see everyone in Mankato later this summer.

The Vikings used their damage control message to highlight how much Harvin means to the organization long term. They insisted they won't trade him, nor should they. Harvin has two years remaining on his rookie deal and should receive an extension after this season, if not sooner.

Harvin is too important to just cut loose. But the Vikings also understand they occasionally must endure those instances when Harvin is moody or -- as we saw last week -- a drama diva.

This is the dilemma the Vikings face with him. Harvin is one of the team's few difference-makers on offense, respected by peers, popular among fans and was voted by media -- me included -- as recipient of the Korey Stringer Good Guy Award last season. (Just a hunch, but he probably won't be a repeat winner.)

He's also the same guy who reportedly hurled a weight at one head coach (Brad Childress) during a tantrum, demanded a trade from another head coach (Leslie Frazier) because he's unhappy and can be as unpredictable as kindergarten recess.

The Vikings knew these risks existed when they drafted Harvin, but he is so freakishly athletic and competitive that coaches at every stop have tolerated his personality. Of course, we still don't know what's bugging Harvin or the true depths of his unhappiness.

Harvin tweeted that it's not about money, but it's always about money to some degree. Harvin is due to make $915,000 in base salary, which is cheap relative to his production, stature within the game and importance to the team. That overlooks two key points, however. This is Harvin's rookie deal and he reportedly failed a drug test at the scouting combine before the draft. That probably caused him to fall 10 to 12 spots, costing himself millions. That's not the fault of the Vikings, the NFL or anyone else. That's on Harvin.

If his frustration stems from playing time, Harvin has a legitimate gripe (which still doesn't excuse his tact in addressing the problem). Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave's utilization of Harvin last season was confounding and infuriating. Harvin played only 58.8 percent of their offensive snaps, according to the website ProFootballFocus. That makes no sense on any level and simply cannot happen again. Harvin is a game-changer. Get him on the field and put the ball in his hands. A lot.

Presumably, the Vikings will hammer home that message between now and training camp, hoping that turns Harvin's frown upside down. A few positive contract discussions probably won't hurt either.

The Vikings made it clear Harvin remains an integral piece of their long-term plans, which, if true, means they will have to hand him a new contract and hefty signing bonus sometime in the near future. They should probably cross their fingers at the same time.

Chip Scoggins • ascoggins@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 7 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 1
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Houston 85 FINAL
Miami 90
Indiana 89 FINAL
Minnesota 107
Utah 105 FINAL
Oklahoma City 91
Portland 93 FINAL
Denver 75
Phoenix 114 FINAL
LA Lakers 108
LA Clippers 107 FINAL
Golden State 125
San Jose 3 FINAL
Boston 5
NY Rangers 4 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 3
Toronto 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Detroit 1 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 2
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Nashville 4
Carolina 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 3
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 4
Vancouver 3 FINAL
Dallas 6
Florida 4 FINAL(OT)
Colorado 3
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(OT)
Calgary 1
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close