According to initial reports all around the league, the Minnesota Vikings are looking to part ways with their star receiver Percy Harvin. And as usual, there is much debate over whether or not the New England Patriots will be among the teams competing for his services.
On paper, Harvin to the Patriots is a phenomenal fit. He's young, he's fast, he runs great routes, and he has the versatility that Belichick loves in a football player. Harvin can not only play out of the slot, but he has the speed to go deep if he needs to and catches most passes thrown his way. Harvin has been the most productive receiver on a Vikings team that hasn't had a lot of stability at the quarterback position, and thinking about what he could do as part of the Patriots offense is enough to give me goosebumps. Plus, Harvin is one of the more dangerous return men in the NFL and is the undisputed king of All-Purpose Yards. Harvin and Jeff Demps back to return kickoffs could potentially represent the most dangerous return duo in the league, which would be a nice step up from years past. Furthermore, Bill Belichick is on record numerous times saying how much he loves Harvin and what he brings to the table, and it would only make sense that New England at least throws its hat into the ring when Harvin officially goes on the trading block.
The media would tend to agree with me; most see the Patriots as the best match for Percy Harvin, especially since this Free Agency period could leave the team fairly thin at wide receiver. While Percy Harvin in a Patriots uniform would all but guarantee the end of the Wes Welker era in New England, Harvin is one of the few receivers in the league who has the ability to potentially fill Welker's shoes. Seeing as he's much younger than Welker at 24, Harvin may justify the price tag that the team is reluctant to put on Welker's services.
Personally, I don't see it happening. Not only is Harvin going to be looking for a fairly large contract (reports have it in the $10 million per year range), but he is also going to command a fairly high draft pick (likely a second or third), which the Patriots uncharacteristically don't have a lot of this year. Plus, with a lot of New England's cap space already tied up in Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork, and Logan Mankins, shelling out big money to another player could be detrimental to the team long-term, especially with so many players they need to address in-house (Aqib Talib and Sebastian Vollmer highest up on that list). Of course, there is always the chance that Harvin takes a bit of a discount for the chance to play alongside Tommy B, but since it's highly likely that there will be teams willing to pay him the money he is asking for, I can't imagine the pay cut he would take for the Patriots would be all that great. Not to mention that Minnesota could still be a little bitter over what happened the last time the two teams traded a third round draft pick for a big name receiver.
We also have to take into account the fact that pretty much every NFL analyst out there sees Harvin to the Patriots as a good fit; if that isn't a kiss of death, then I don't know what is. Few things will doom a player's chances of coming to New England more than having the experts predict it. I'm still not totally unconvinced that Belichick's first Free Agent screening process every year isn't to scan various websites and television networks to see who the media thinks will be joining the team, and then immediately cross those players off his list. Other than Brandon Lloyd, I can't remember the last time everyone saw a Patriots-related move coming, and so forgive me for being skeptical. I'd feel much more confident about the move if nobody had the Patriots pegged as the best fit at all; that's usually how the Pats do business.
Not to mention that Harvin's favorite number - 12 - is very, very taken.
Of course, I am now on record saying that I don't think that Harvin to the Patriots is viable, and since I'm wrong about 99% of my Patriots-related predictions, I may be the catalyst needed to make the trade happen. So if Percy Harvin does end up in a Patriots uniform, you all have me to thank.