Reports are coming out that the Minnesota Vikings are looking to trade premier wide receiver Percy Harvin. If he is in fact on the trade block, the New England Patriots are at the top of the list of teams rumored to pick him up. Although the Patriots already have one of the best slot receivers in history, there is no guarantee that Wes Welker will be back with the team next year. The only gripe fans of the Patriots can have with Welker is a pair of drops, which would require ignoring five excellent years of production. Harvin, however, is an intriguing proposition.
First, make no bones about it: Harvin is absolutely a slot receiver. He ran a higher percentage of his routes out of the slot than Welker in 2009, 2010 and 2012. While it’s possible he might run his routes on the outside if he came to New England (let’s say he replaces Brandon Lloyd, who’s set to earn a massive bonus), that might be misusing Harvin’s talents.
Oct 21, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin (12) celebrates his touchdown during the second quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at the Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
If the Patriots can pick up another (cheap) receiver to play on the outside, Harvin and Welker would be excellent slot threats, and combining that with Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski wouldn’t even be fair. The versatility that Harvin would bring to the team as a kick returner, outside receiver, slot receiver or runningback has to make Bill Belichick salivate. Judd Zulgad, a beat writer for the Vikings, has already suggested that Belichick loves Harvin – which may be true – but he also says that the Vikings should ask for the world if that’s the case. I don’t think that’s feasible for the Vikings.
Harvin has had heated confrontations with two head coaches, and is injury prone. While the Vikings desperately need another wide receiver, it is unlikely they will be able to get much for their only remaining commodity. They might be able to get a second or a third round pick, and even that’s a lot to ask for in what is considered a deep draft.
Belichick is generally thought to be one of the better GMs when it comes to making trades, but this one might not be worth it, considering the attitude problems Harvin has had. However, if the opportunity is there – at the right price – I think it’s a trade that ought to be made, owing to what he could add to the offense. He’ll have teammates there from his Florida days, which could help him behave. There’s no doubt he’ll have a significant impact on whichever team he plays for.
You can follow Christopher Field on Twitter @ChrisDField.