Percy Harvin (Otto Greule Jr.Getty)
Vikings GM Rick Spielman downplayed concerns over Percy Harvin’s attitude, saying the organization has no problems with him and will evaluate his contract like all other players.
Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said Percy Harvin wasn’t moved to season-ending injured reserve because of any conduct issues and the team would evaluate his contract status just like any other player on the roster.
Harvin was caught by television cameras shouting at Vikings coach Leslie Frazier on the sideline during their Nov. 4 game against Seattle, the game in which Harvin suffered a season-ending ankle injury, and he reportedly got into another confrontation with Frazier during the season. But Spielman maintained Frazier’s stance from previous media inquiries about Harvin, indicating the coaching staff and front office don’t have a problem with Harvin’s behavior.
“Percy comes to work every day. Everybody sees what Percy puts on the field. He plays the game as hard or harder than anyone else in the NFL, the effort that he puts up out there,” Spielman said. “So, we have no issues with Percy Harvin.”
Earlier this week, Frazier said Harvin would be returning to Winter Park for his exit physical – a standard practice with every player after the season – and they would talk then. However, Frazier downplayed any perceived issues with Harvin, saying he will “coexist peacefully.”
“He exists peacefully now. Just get back, get healthy, get back on the football field,” Frazier said Tuesday.
Harvin has one year remaining on his rookie contract that calls for a $1.55 million base salary and a salary-cap number of $2.68 million.
“We’re going to go through our process first before we make any decisions on any of our players, our UFAs (unrestricted free agents), any extensions,” Spielman said when asked if the team was considering an extension for Harvin. “All that stuff will be done over the next month here as we lay the game plan going forward.
“There’s a lot of guys out of Percy’s draft that are playing for us that are going into the final year of their deal. Like I said, we go through every single guy on our roster, look at when their deals are coming up. Should we extend them or try to get it done a year early, how does that fit our work with Rob Brzezinski (VP of football operations), who is great at what he does keeping us straight on our cap situation and how we can keep a competitive roster. Right now, I’m looking at the ’14 and ’15 roster, too, and potential guys that are coming up.”
Despite missing six games, Harvin still led the Vikings with 62 catches, 677 yards receiving and a 35.9-yard average on kickoff returns.
Spielman downplayed concerns about Harvin’s durability.
“Percy lays his body on the line, just like Adrian (Peterson) lays his body on the line. Sure, Percy’s smaller, but Percy is pretty well strapped together now,” Spielman said. “He’s not a skinny receiver. He’s built like a smaller running back. He’s not built like a typical, leaner receiver. We believe he does have the durability to do what he needs to do and to play 16 games in the NFL.”
Vikings coaches and players voted RB Adrian Peterson their offensive MVP, LB Chad Greenway the defensive MVP and rookie kicker Blair Walsh the special teams MVP.
Spielman said he has had talks with the Wilf ownership group about extending Frazier’s contract, but he declined to get into specifics on when and if that would happen. Frazier is entering the final year of his contract.
Spielman said the priority is for the Vikings to first concentrate on re-signing their own free agents, who will all be under consideration. Vikings starters who are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents include FB Jerome Felton, WR Jerome Simpson, RT Phil Loadholt, LBs Erin Henderson and Jasper Brinkley and S Jamarca Sanford.
Spielman said the Vikings are in good shape with the salary cap. ESPN reported earlier this week that the Vikings were $16.1 million under the 2013 cap.
The Vikings currently have eight picks in the 2013 draft. They are scheduled to pick 23rd in the first round. Spielman said their trade for CB A.J. Jefferson in September cost them a flip-flop of picks with the Arizona Cardinals, but he declined to get into specifics about which round(s) were involved in the deal.
The Vikings signed P T.J. Conley and CB Greg McCoy to futures contracts on Wednesday, and Spielman anticipated a few more signings of that level in the coming weeks, saying they have some workouts scheduled with additional players.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.