Wrote Peterson: “The best all around player I ever seen or you’ll ever see! Goes to Seattle! I feel like I just got kicked in the stomach. Several times!!!”
Veteran defensive tackle Kevin Williams seemed similarly bummed.
“When you look at it on the surface, you say to yourself ‘Why in the world would we do this?’ It’s a situation where you never want to be going backwards or feel like you are. I guess we’ll see what we get in the draft or maybe even free agency. But that’s a crapshoot when you’re trying to make up for a guy as proven as Percy.”
At his best, Harvin was a tough and versatile playmaker, capable of breaking games open on offense and special teams. Through the first eight games of 2012, he was on pace for a 120-catch, 1,304-yard receiving season while doubling as a dangerous kick returner. It was no wonder he drew widespread raves as a potential MVP candidate.
But at times, Harvin proved hot-tempered and hard to console, evidenced by that in-full-view blowup at Frazier in Seattle.
Such outbursts never shocked the Vikings, who knew they took a gamble drafting Harvin 22nd overall in 2009. Said one team source of that decision: “Obviously, there were concerns then. If anyone tells you differently, they’re lying. With Percy Harvin, there will always be bumps in the road. Always. But at the end of the day, we all felt like it was manageable and everybody signed off on it. ... When Percy’s between the lines, he’s as tough as they come and his skill set is phenomenal for the stuff we’d ask him to do.”
In four seasons, Harvin delivered, totaling 280 catches, 3,302 yards and 20 receiving touchdowns. He also added 683 rushing yards and four more scores and delivered five touchdowns as a kick returner.
With his exit now arranged, the Vikings will have to restock their receiving corps first through free agency while also figuring to reach into an April draft grab bag loaded with talent.
Still, it’s unknown just how long it will take to measure the loss of one of the franchise’s most explosive players.