Percy Harvin trade a coup for Seattle … and huge gamble by Vikings
The Seattle Seahawks finished ninth in the league in points scored last regular season and, in one December stretch, scored 58, 50 and 42 in three consecutive wins — the third over the eventual NFC champion 49ers. That offense became even deadlier Monday, as the Seahawks reportedly agreed to a trade that will bring Percy Harvin to Seattle in exchange for a first- and seventh-round pick in 2013 and a 2014 mid-rounder, as first reported by FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer.
With Russell Wilson thriving as a rookie starter and Marshawn Lynch rushing for 1,590 yards, the Seahawks turned into one of the league’s most explosive teams. And that’s despite not having a receiver top 50 catches (Sidney Rice hit that number on the nose, followed by Golden Tate with 45).
Harvin, meanwhile, hauled in 62 passes in just nine games for the Vikings — an ankle injury sidelined him down the stretch. In four seasons with Minnesota, the electric Harvin averaged nearly 1,800 total yards and was on pace for a 2,400-yard season in 2012 before his injury.
He’ll add another element to Seattle’s already scary attack. Even better for both Harvin and the Seahawks: Harvin will sign a new contract upon arrival, according to ESPN1500.com’s Tom Pelissero. The Vikings’ hesitancy to give Harvin the lucrative, long-term deal he was after left Harvin disgruntled, and the front office flailing heading into this offseason.
Darrell Bevell, the current Seattle offensive coordinator, called plays for Minnesota during Harvin’s first two years, too. Harvin had 2,081 total yards in his rookie season under Bevell, then posted 1,908 in 2010.
Of course, the clear upgrade Harvin provides Seattle’s offense leads to the question: How could Minnesota trade this guy?
It will be a very difficult inquiry for the Vikings to face, even if Seattle returns a loaded haul of draft picks. (Seattle has the 25th pick in Round 1, then the 24th and 25th picks in Rounds 2 and 3, respectively.) ESPN’s John Clayton reported that the Vikings will receive at least one first-round pick from Seattle.
Still, the Vikings already faced the prospect of needing to find another weapon for Christian Ponder. Harvin’s removal from the Minnesota depth chart leaves Greg Childs, Stephen Burton and Jairus Wright as the Vikings’ top three receivers. That trio combined for 27 catches last season, none by Childs.
It almost goes without saying that the Vikings will have to consider using one of their expected two first-round picks in April on a wide receiver — or will have to use those picks as bait to trade up for a playmaker. The Harvin move may also ramp up Minnesota’s interest in some top-flight free-agent receivers, like Mike Wallace and Greg Jennings.
Until the Vikings fill that gaping hole out wide, though, Minnesota fans will have every right to feel a bit disoriented by this move.
That feeling may be shared by the Seahawks’ competition in the NFC West. While Arizona sits well back of the pack, St. Louis was an improved team in 2012, and the Seahawks-49ers rivalry obviously reignited. San Francisco was thought to be one of the suitors for Harvin as well, with the 49ers hoping to upgrade at receiver and having money to spend.
Instead, the 49ers now will have to worry about figuring out how to stop Harvin and that high-upside Seattle offense. If they do come up with something, it would put them ahead of the curve. A healthy Harvin, with Wilson throwing to him, could have defensive coordinators tossing and turning for the next several seasons.