Is Vikings' Percy Harvin worth all the hassle?

|
Cheers and Jeers,Sports,NFL,John Keim

His talent suggests a move is a no-brainer, whether it's Minnesota giving him a contract extension that pays him millions more than he will make in 2013 or another team that is willing to surrender not only draft picks but also a lot of cash to acquire him.

Yes, Percy Harvin's talent is worth a lot. And then some.

But he comes with baggage, and that's why the Vikings are reportedly considering their options. And it's why some teams will take a cautious approach with him or even say no thank you. Some will see him as a Terrell Owens diva-like player. Others will see him as being able to make an Owens-like impact on the field.

One longtime NFL coach called him a "great talent" and that his issues could be managed. But Harvin now has engaged in shouting matches with his two coaches in Minnesota -- first Brad Childress and then Leslie Frazier. He reportedly grabbed his receivers coach at Florida by the neck and threw him to the ground.

He was even suspended from his high school teams for various infractions.

Ah, but that talent. Harvin never has had a 1,000-yard season as a receiver -- and his yards per catch have gone down each year -- but he's dangerous as a player who can be moved around in the slot or in the backfield. In a scheme such as Washington's, he would be dangerous as a pitch man in the option among other roles (Harvin has 107 career runs). He also returns kickoffs, with five touchdowns in his first four seasons.

At 24, Harvin still can mature. But how much is a team willing to gamble that this will happen? Would anyone give him a contract north of $10 million a year -- the going rate for an elite receiver? The longtime coach did not consider him a No. 1 receiver but rather a guy who can help in a variety of ways. However, Harvin also is a physical player, and at 5-foot-11 and maybe 190 pounds, that can lead to durability issues. He has played in 16 games only once.

Every team could use a guy like Harvin. But who will pay his price -- or the Vikings'?

jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com

View article comments Leave a comment