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AP Source: Harvin requests trade from Vikings
EDEN PRAIRIE, MINN. (AP) - Star receiver Percy Harvin wants out of Minnesota.
One day after Harvin expressed frustration over several unspecified issues with the Vikings, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Harvin had requested a trade. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Harvin voiced frustration with the Vikings on Tuesday at the first day of mandatory minicamp. He did not say what his specific issues were with the team, only saying that he was unhappy with several things and wanted them addressed before training camp begins at the end of July.
“I just put it this way: There’s a lot of different things that have to be sorted out,” Harvin said Tuesday. “Just haven’t been really happy lately. We’ve got a couple of things to work on. I’m here in the classroom. We’ll go from there.”
Harvin attended the team’s morning practice Wednesday, leaving the field before reporters could ask any questions. Running back Adrian Peterson said he hadn’t spoken to his friend about it but planned to have a conversation to try to help smooth things over.
“I wouldn’t say it’s distracting. It’s more bothering. It’s like, we definitely don’t want to lose this guy. … I’m sure the organization will do what it has to do to keep this guy around,” Peterson said. “If it was me, I would make sure that we kept him around. But we’ll see.”
Given Harvin’s status as a 24-year-old rising star and one of the team’s top players, the request is unlikely to be granted. Coach Leslie Frazier said Tuesday that he was confident any issues Harvin had could be resolved well before training camp.
“I really feel like when he and I sit down and talk in depth,” Frazier said, “whatever is in his heart or on his mind, we’ll get through it.”
Harvin, who is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, worked out with the team during an afternoon practice Tuesday and said later in the day that he did not want to be a distraction and only wanted to talk about football issues.
He has two years left on his rookie contract, but it was not immediately clear how much that had to do with his displeasure, if at all. The Vikings are coming off of consecutive last-place finishes in the NFC North and have entered a rebuilding phase centered on Harvin, Peterson, who is recovering from a torn ACL, and second-year quarterback Christian Ponder.
Harvin was the team’s first-round draft pick in 2009 and has quickly emerged as the Vikings’ most versatile and dynamic player. He is the team’s only proven commodity at receiver heading into his fourth season and is coming off a year in which he posted career highs in receptions (87), yards (967) and total touchdowns (9).
Harvin has shown the ability to play in the slot as an inside receiver and on the perimeter as a deep threat and has become one of the most dangerous kick returners in the league. He also rushed for 345 yards last season, helping to spell Peterson in the run game.
Migraine headaches and a few other bumps and bruises from Harvin’s physical and punishing style of play led to some concerns about his durability, especially in his first two seasons. But Harvin played in all 16 games last year while fighting a painful rib injury and became a respected veteran in the locker room.
Requesting a trade now would be a curious move if he does want a new contract, with the normal protocol for similar situations being to hold out from training camp to spur negotiations.
Earlier this offseason, Harvin pledged to be a team leader and showed up at several voluntary practices despite still recovering from having bone chips removed from his shoulder. With a receiver group that includes rookie fourth-rounders Greg Childs and Jarius Wright and unproven veteran Jerome Simpson, who will be suspended for the first three games, Harvin is the only established game-breaker at the position for the Vikings.
“I’m going to be honest with you guys. I’ve been watching tape, but it’s just working on things from last year,” Harvin said when asked about the offense. “I’m into it, but like I said, I’m not happy with things, so I haven’t really been in tune to (personnel) and stuff right now.
“Overall, just watching game film and breaking down quarterbacks, breaking down myself, defenses I may face that I faced last year, things like that.”
His role in the offense could be an issue. Despite being used in a variety of roles last season, Harvin often found himself on the sideline in the red zone. The Vikings could be using more two tight end formations this year with the addition of pass-catching tight end John Carlson to go along with Kyle Rudolph.
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said he wasn’t aware of any issues Harvin had with the offense and pledged to use him even more this season.
“We’re looking forward to getting him on the field and as an offense we’re looking forward to having a better year,” Musgrave said. “That’s the bottom line.”
Follow Jon Krawczynski on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/APkrawczynski.
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