Archive for the ‘Minnesota Vikings’ Category
When Mark Dayton ran for governor in 2010, he criticized Tom Horner’s cigarette tax increase proposal. He constantly talked about the need for making Minnesota’s tax system more progressive. Apparently, Gov. Dayton doesn’t have the same priorities as then-Candidate Dayton:
Dayton is now backing a cigarette tax increase from $1.23 per pack now to $2.52, more than he initially proposed. The money from the stocking tax would be diverted to a stadium reserve fund. Smoking will not be allowed at the new Vikings stadium, due to open in time for the 2016 season.
Earlier this year, Dayton proposed a cigarette tax hike of 94 cents a pack. In now backing a $1.29 per pack hike, he’s moving even further from his previous opposition to cigarette tax increases of any kind. When running for governor in 2010, he called cigarette tax hikes “money out of the pockets of working people and poorer people.”
Candidate Dayton was right. Sin taxes are regressive. The devil is in the details but I’m skeptical of this proposal being the solution to the Vikings stadium mess. This post highlights the fact that past cigarette tax increases produce revenue shortfalls. How will that solve the Vikings stadium problem?
Further, this literally means that Gov. Dayton is building a stadium for billionaires on the backs of the middle class and working poor. If it isn’t bad enough to have the middle class pay for a billionaire’s football stadium, which it is, if shrinking revenues isn’t bad enough, then here’s another thing that makes this terrible: This cigarette tax increase will increase black market sales of cigarettes while eliminating customers for convenience stores.
Forget about this not being a perfect solution to a big problem. Forget about this being a less-than-perfect solution to the Vikings stadium problem. This isn’t a solution to the Vikings stadium problem. What’s worst is that it doesn’t solve that problem while creating a problem for small businesses.
That’s the definition of terrible policymaking.
This post on the Strib’s Access Vikings blog is particularly amusing. Here’s what I thought was amusing:
This morning at the Capitol, Governor Mark Dayton became the latest to question the Vikings on the Kluwe topic.
“I don’t feel good about it,” Dayton said. “I mean I’m not in position to evaluate the role and their punting abilities. But it seems to me the general manager said right after the draft that they were going to have competition. Well, then he brings the one guy [Locke] in, he kicks for a weekend and that’s the competition? I mean, I just think sports officials ought to be honest about what the heck is going on. Same way I think public officials should be honest about what’s going on. So that bothers me probably as much if not more than the actual decision.”
I agree that it’s important for public officials to be honest. Where was Gov. Dayton’s insistence on honesty when told politicians that the revenues from e-tabs would cover the state share of the Vikings stadium? Tons of people from across the political spectrum questioned whether they’d generate the revenue they needed. They criticized the funding mechanism loudly and persistently.
It’s now known by anyone who’s read a newspaper the last month that the e-tabs funding mechanism is a terrible failure. Needing $35,000,000 this year for the Vikings stadium, e-tabs generated $1,700,000, a $33,300,000 shortfall. That isn’t falling a little short. It isn’t even falling well short. That’s falling laughably short.
If you fall short by $300,000 or $400,000, people can reasonably say that it was just a tough year. You can’t say that when you fall short by 90+ percent.
As for the Vikings cutting Kluwe, his activism on the gay marriage issue caused the Vikings to rethink him as their punter. I didn’t read where they disagreed with Kluwe’s position on the issue. I did read where Kluwe’s punting suffered in terms of consistency in September and October, which they attributed to Kluwe’s advocacy.
The Vikings had the right, in fact the affirmative responsibility, to insist on Kluwe doing the job he was making $1,500,000 for last year.
In other words, the Vikings determined that Kluwe put a higher priority on his advocacy than on his profession. When a player is making $1,500,000 a year, that player’s team has a right to expect professionalism.
Kluwe didn’t live up to that expectation.
One pattern that’s emerged about Vikings GM Rick Spielman is that he’s fearless when it comes to trading up or down in the NFL draft.
For instance, last year, Spielman figured out a way to Cleveland into trading up a spot to get Trent Richardson. Then Spielman got Matt Kalil, the player he’d planned on taking all along with Cleveland’s pick. Then he paired one of the picks he got from Cleveland with the Vikings’ second round pick to take Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith. Kalil played in the Pro Bowl after his first season. Smith played great all season, pulling the secondary together all season.
This past year, Percy Harvin wore out his welcome in Minnesota by telling the world that he couldn’t work with Leslie Frazier. Frazier’s reputation is that of being a player’s coach with tons of integrity. It wasn’t surprising to hear that Spielman traded Harvin as soon as he was able to. What was surprising was that he got Seattle’s first round pick this year and third round pick in 2014 in exchange for Harvin.
Thursday night, the Vikings used their pick, the 23rd overall, to pick Florida DT Sharrif Floyd. Of all the mock drafts I went through, none had Floyd dropping past the Titans with the 10th pick. (Frankly, Ed, I was stunned that Pittsburgh passed on Floyd to take Georgia LB Jarvis Jones.) Most mocks I read had Floyd going to the Raiders with the third overall pick. Most scouts had him rated the top DT in the draft.
With the 25th pick overal, the pick they got from Seattle, the Vikings picked FSU CB Xavier Rhodes. Rhodes is a great fit for the Vikings because of who’s in the NFC North. The Vikings will face Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall twice per season for the forseeable future. Having a 6’2″ CB with 4.4 speed to match up against Johnson and Marshall is a big plus.
The shock for the Vikings came while Spielman was conducting an interview after what was supposed to be the Vikings’ final pick of the first round. While doing the interview, the Patriots called, asking if Minnesota was interested in trading back into the first round.
After Spielman and Belicheck worked out the details, the Vikings used the Patriots’ pick, 29th overall, to pick Tennessee WR Cordarrelle Patterson. While Patterson is a raw talent that will need some coaching both from Vikings WR Coach George Stewart and WR Greg Jennings, there’s no question about Patterson’s talent.
In my opinion, the Vikings are the perfect fit for Patterson. First, let’s talk about what he brings to the Vikings’ offense. He’s big (6’2″, 217 lbs.), fast (4.39 in the forty) and dynamic in run after the catch situations. Next, he’ll be coached by George Stewart, the guy who coached up Jerry Rice and John Taylor. Rice thinks that Stewart is one of the best WR coaches in the league. That’s good enough for me.
Finally, Greg Jennings is a consummate professional. He’ll teach Patterson the importance of putting time in studying film of his opponents. He’ll teach him how to hone his skills, especially his route-running and catching abilities. As a rookie, Patterson’s biggest contributions might be returning kickoffs and lifting the lid off of defenses.
In 2010 and 2012, defenses tried stacking 8 and 9 men in the box to stop Adrian Peterson, daring the Vikings to beat them with their wideouts. With Patterson running past defenders, stacking the box to stop Adrian will come with a steep, steep price.
The price for getting Patterson is steep but worth it. The Vikings gave up their picks in the 2nd, third, their first pick in the fourth and their last pick in the 7th round. Still, it’s definitely worth it. From Spielman’s perspective, he replaced Harvin with Jennings, then got the top DT in the draft, the second best CB in this draft and an explosive WR/KR with what essentially are the equivalent of a first round pick, a second round pick and a third round pick.
Simply put, Rick Spielman swung for the fences Thursday night. While he didn’t hit a grand slam, he certainly hit one off the base of the fence in deep right-center.
Last night, as with most nights for the past month, I watched the NFL Network’s Path to the Draft. I watch because they usually have some pretty decent talent evaluators, including former Redskins GM Charlie Casserly, former Vikings broadcaster Brian Baldinger, former Baltimore Ravens chief scout Daniel Jeremiah & Mike Mayock.
Last night’s program included a segment in which they played out possible draft day scenarios. One of the first scenarios they presented was whether the Vikings would trade the 23rd overall pick in the draft and the 52nd overall pick in the draft to the Jets for Tayvon Austin.
I was stunned to hear Casserly say that he thought that’d be a great deal for the Vikings. In my opinion, that’d be highway robbery, with the Jets being the looters. That specific trade won’t happen because the Vikings would do better just staying put.
If the Vikings stay put, they’ll almost certainly have their pick of WRs Cordarelle Patterson, Robert Woods, Justin Hunter, DeAndre Hopkins and Keenan Allen. They’d likely have their pick of MLB Manti Te’o, DT Sylvester Williams, S Johnathan Cyprien or CB Desmond Trufant.
Those are players that will likely be available into the 2nd round. Why would the Vikings trade up for Tayvon Austin when the cost is a third starter from this draft. This isn’t a criticism of Austin, who is a genuinely talented WR. Rather, it’s showing the opportunity cost of trading up 10 spots in the first round.
Simply put, would the Vikings rather have Tayvon Austin and Manti Te’o or would they rather have Desmond Trufant, Sylvester Williams & DeAndre Hopkins? Frankly, I don’t think that’s that difficult of a decision.
Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson’s op-ed points the finger at Gov. Dayton’s (lack of) leadership, highlighting Gov. Dayton’s mistake-filled push for a Vikings stadium. Commissioner Johnson’s criticism is harsh but justified. First, Commissioner Johnson lets Gov. Dayton hang himself with his own words:
If you had followed the stadium debate in the media and had listened to Gov. Mark Dayton standing next to NFL dignitaries extolling “Purple Prosperity,” you might have thought the stadium legislation was all about cutting the best deal for the people of Minnesota. Again, you’d be wrong, but let’s allow the governor to explain it to you:
“Unless somebody can prove conclusively otherwise, I would say everybody, the Gambling Control Board, the Department of Revenue, the Legislature, Republicans and Democrats, and my administration, everybody acted in good faith, and has applied their best judgment to a totally unprecedented situation,” Dayton told the Star Tribune.
“The Legislature, if they misunderstood the situation, they have no one to blame but themselves. And I have no one to blame but myself,” he added.
It’s true that some GOP legislators voted for the Vikings stadium bill. They’ve had to reconcile their votes with their constituents. Some didn’t win re-election as a result of that vote. With the exception of Julie Rosen and Morrie Lanning, though, these legislators didn’t push for the Vikings stadium. They didn’t put the funding mechanism together. The legislator that put that mess together, Sen. Bakk, and the ‘leader’ that pushed the deal, Gov. Dayton, are the people who have the most responsibility for this disaster.
Gov. Dayton’s recklessness extends into pushing this deal without verifying the trustworthiness of the funding mechanism. That’s downright irresponsible.
Commissioner Johnson doesn’t stop there, though:
“You have to turn to somebody who has some knowledge and expertise,” Dayton said. “I don’t know what caused it to go awry,” he added. “I know we’re going to work to correct it.”
“We’re going to work to correct it.”
How often do we hear that phrase echoed by a government official after government has embarked on some “good faith” experiment into “uncharted territory” with taxpayer money?
“We’re going to work to correct it.”
And who’s going to do all that working and correcting? Dayton and his administration, the ones who gave us the Vikings stadium mess in the first place.
What could possibly go wrong?
This isn’t a good faith mistake. It’s a decision *made to give Gov. Dayton a high profile political victory heading into his re-election campaign. That failed miserably. Unfortunately, Gov. Dayton isn’t satisfied with just pushing through a disastrous Vikings stadium bill. He’s now moved onto bigger, more destructive things:
The governor who engineered the Vikings stadium deal has now turned his attention to engineering a state-run health insurance exchange that will dramatically change the way Minnesotans purchase health care.
The governor who didn’t know the stadium legislation allowed the Vikings to charge seat licensing fees to cover a portion of the team’s contribution is crafting an exchange that will detail the mandatory benefits of insurance policies allowed in it.
The governor who accepted revenue estimates on electronic pulltabs that ended up being embarrassingly wrong is now estimating the cost of a state-run health exchange.
The governor who relied on gambling interests to advise him on gambling expansion is now relying on federal bureaucrats to advise him on government health care expansion.
What could possibly go wrong?
Just about everything might go wrong. The ACA is a disastrous piece of legislation. The Health Insurance Exchange, aka the HIX, is one of the things in the ACA that makes it a disaster. The ACA is administered by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, a woman who doesn’t have a clue about how insurance was designed to work:
This is why you should always have liability insurance, but should think twice about collision damage coverage. It’s why high deductibles are a good idea; for small expenses, it’s better to self insure. And it’s why “catastrophic” health plans, which only cover the sort of extremely expensive events that most people would have difficulty financing, are a much better deal than the soup-to-nuts plans that most people get through their employers. Those plans are expensive, both because they’re paying for a higher percentage of your expenses, and because they drive up utilization, which means that they drive up next year’s premiums even more. Imagine what your car insurance would cost if it covered gasoline, routine maintenance, and those little air freshener trees you hang from the rearview mirror. Then stop asking why health insurance costs so much.
Minnesota’s HIX will require tons of different coverages, with each driving up the cost of the average health insurance policy. It’s already predictable what will happen when insurance premiums rise. Gov. Dayton will tell Minnesotans that it was a good faith mistake.
This time, though, Republicans didn’t vote for the HIX. This time, Gov. Dayton, Sen. Bakk, Speaker Thissen and the DFL own the coming HIX disaster lock, stock and barrel.
The point is that Minnesotans can’t afford more of Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s good faith mistakes. Their “good faith mistakes” are putting Minnesotans into a terrible bind financially.
Next election, Minnesotans should vote for people who get things right the first time rather than voting for people who will “work to correct” a litany of “good faith mistakes.”
Tags: Mark Dayton, Paul Thissen, Tom Bakk, Minnesota Vikings Stadium, Electronic Pulltabs, State Gambling Board, Gambling Expansion, Health Insurance Exchange, Kathleen Sebelius, HHS Secretary, PPACA, DFL, Jeff Johnson, Hennepin County Commissioner, RNC, Election 2014
Dr. John Spry is one of the best, if not the best, tax experts in Minnesota. He provided written testimony to the Senate Tax Committee on the Gambling Control Board’s estimates on e-tabs revenues. The text of Dr. Spry’s written statement is contained in this post. This testimony is particularly troubling:
There is obviously a large difference in revenue between the Gambling Control Board’s estimate that 95% of paper pull-tabs and tip boards would be eliminated and its estimate that 20% would be eliminated. One thing we know for sure is that not all of the Gambling Control Board estimates can be close to being correct.
It is hard to understand how the Gambling Control Board estimated that the new forms of gambling would reduce paper lawful gambling but not have any negative effects on lottery sales and state revenue from the lottery. Perhaps they just didn’t consider effects on the lottery in their estimation process. This is a significant omission.
In the rush to pass a Vikings stadium bill, did legislators and Gov. Dayton willfully ignore Dr. Spry’s testimony? It isn’t a stretch to think they did, though that’s still an open question.
What isn’t in question is whether the Gambling Control Board didn’t have a clue about their revenue estimates. Their conflicting estimates indicate that they weren’t certain of their estimates. In essence, their estimates were nothing more than wild guesses.
That’s unacceptable considering the size of the state-held bond of this project. To make this type of estimate based on — who knows what they based it on — is unacceptable, almost to the point of fireable malfeasance. If a private sector revenue forecaster was off by that big of an amount, that forecaster would be fired within minutes of reality settling in.
What’s more troubling is the composition of the Gambling Control Board. Why weren’t there massive firings after this disaster? There isn’t a justification for someone being off by this much. Is it that these government employees are held to that low of a standard of competence? God help us if that’s the case.
Whatever the standards were in the past, these employees have to be held accountable. Anything less is unacceptable.
Speaker Paul Thissen has made several statements that deserve ridiculing. Here’s Speaker Thissen’s latest laughable statement:
House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said he shares some of Lenczewski’s concerns, but considers himself a strong supporter of Mayo’s expansion.
“I very much want to see these investments made in Rochester, but I want to do it in a way that also protects the interests of the state of Minnesota,” he said.
Speaker Thissen’s statement is laughable considering his enthusiastic vote for last year’s Vikings stadium. That funding mechanism was fraught with perils. The latest projections show the e-tabs revenue is falling far short of what’s needed to pay the state’s share of the stadium. Theren are even worries that Minnesota’s taxpayers will pay for it through the general fund.
Speaker Thissen’s concerns for protecting Minnesota’s taxpayers is selective at best. We’d be far better served if Speaker Thissen consistently paid attention to protecting Minnesota’s taxpayers. Minnesotans don’t need politicians who selectively pay attention to funding mechanism for the Mayo Clinic but ignore the Vikings stadium funding mechanism. I wrote here that one DFL legislator called the Vikings stadium funding mechanism as “being held together with ‘duct tape.’”
It’s amazing how silent Speaker Thissen was then, especially considering the possibility of Minnesota taxpayers getting hit with a bill well in excess of $100,000,000. ‘Watchdogs’ that miss a $100,000,000 bill to the taxpayers aren’t the type of watchdog that I’d trust.
I’ve been visiting Scott Wright’s DraftCountdown website for at least 4 years now. Suffice it to say that I think highly of Scott’s insights into the draft and player talent evaluations. If you didn’t have Scott’s website bookmarked before today, I strongly recommend you bookmark it today.
When the Vikings traded Percy Harvin for a bunch of draft picks, I sought Scott’s opinion on the trade. Scott thought that the Vikings got quite a nice bunch of picks for a player everyone knew was going to get traded. When the Vikings signed Greg Jennings, I posed some questions to Scott. Here are the questions with Scott’s answers:
Q1: The Vikings signed Greg Jennings to a 5-year contract days after trading Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks for Seattle’s first & seventh round picks in this year’s draft and Seattle’s third round pick in the 2014 draft. Considering the draft picks they got from Seattle and the Jennings signing, what do you think are the Vikings’ most likely options in the April NFL Entry Draft?
Scott: Despite the addition of Jennings, I still believe wide receiver will be high on the Vikings priority list on Draft Day. After all, Jennings is going to be 30-years-old and battled some injuries last season. Even if Jennings lives up to expectations, Minnesota will need at least one more weapon at the position. Cordarrelle Patterson of Tennessee will most likely be long gone and, while the diminuative Tavon Austin of West Virginia would be a great fit, his stock has risen to the point that he may not be there at #23. Other possibilities would be Keenan Allen of Cal, Justin Hunter of Tennessee or DeAndre Hopkins of Clemson. Allen and Hopkins would be safe choices as they’d both be ideal fits in the West Coast Offense; however, neither is necessarily a dynamic gamechanger. Hunter, on the other hand, may be the most talented wideout prospect in this class, at least from a size/speed perspective, and possesses the tools to be a true impact, go-to target at the next level. At this point I would say Austin or Allen are the most likely possibilities for the Vikings in Round 1.
As for the other first rounder, I think Notre Dame ILB Manti Te’o would make a ton of sense for Minnesota. With Jasper Brinkley signing with the Cardinals as a free agent, the Vikings have a big hole in the middle of their defense and the organization has shown a clear preference for Fighting Irish prospects in recent years. Te’o will most likely have to endure some razzing from new teammates during the offseason team activities and training camp but ultimately, his play and those top-notch intangibles will win everyone over.
Q2: Which players should the Vikings target with their picks in the first, second and third rounds?
Scott: In rounds two and three the Vikings may keep their focus on the defense. Of particular concern is defensive tackle, where Kevin Williams is getting up there in years and there really isn’t another clear-cut starting-caliber talent. Fortunately, this is one of the deepest defensive tackle crops in recent memory and a borderline first round talent like Kawann Short of Purdue could fall into their laps in round two. Other second round options could include Brandon Williams of Missouri Southern St. or Bennie Logan of L.S.U. while Montori Hughes of UT-Martin or Akeem Spence of Illinois could be in the mix in round three. The Vikings could also use more help in the secondary. There should be plenty of quality cornerback prospects available beyond the first round but some potential fits for their zone coverage scheme would be Logan Ryan of Rutgers, David Amerson of North Carolina St., Jordan Poyer of Oregon St. and Jamar Taylor of Boise St. At safety, keep an eye on Johnathan Cyprien of Florida International in round two, T.J. McDonald of USC in round three or perhaps Zeke Motta of Notre Dame in the middle rounds.
The Vikings will have to bring in some help along the offensive line at some point as well. At the very least, a versatile backup is needed to build quality depth and it wouldn’t hurt to have someone challenge Brandon Fusco at right guard.
Scott’s answers make tons of sense to me. Te’o has a couple of things that make him appealing. He’s got middle linebacker instincts and he’s a great cover guy. Hunter makes sense as well, though my wish is that Tayvon Martin would drop into the Vikings lap in the first round.
It’s important to remember that the draft is still taking shape. That means everyone’s mock drafts, whether it’s Scott’s mock draft or that guy with wind-tunnel-tested hair, is still very much fluid.
Finally, I’ll use this opportunity to say I trust Rick Spielman running the draft. Simply put, he’s gotten pretty strong grades for his picks. In my opinion, last year’s draft crop was the best in Vikings history. Getting 2 instant Pro Bowlers (Matt Kalil and Blair Walsh) and a future Pro Bowl safety in Harrison Smith from one draft would get an A- grade or better just on those picks alone.
Getting Josh Robinson to bolster the secondary in the third round was a solid pick. Getting Jarius Wright and Rhett Ellison in the fourth round to help the passing game was impressive, too.
Tags: Greg Jennings, Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings, Rick Spielman, Manti Te’o, Notre Dame, Justin Hunter, University of Tennessee, Tayvon Martin, University of West Virginia, Matt Kalil, USC, Harrison Smith, Scott Wright, DraftCountdown.com
The Minnesota Vikings made a great decision when they signed ex-Packer wide receiver Greg Jennings to a 5-year, $47.5 million contract Friday afternoon. Jennings’ signing is a net plus for the Vikings. Earlier this week, the Vikings traded Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks for a kings’ ransom.
There’s no questioning the fact that Harvin is a talented playmaker, a difference maker. That said, there’s no disputing that he’s a handful off the field.
In Greg Jennings, the Vikings get a veteran, a player known for his leadership in the locker room and the film room, a player known for his involvement in the community and for being a gifted receiver. This video interview with Vikings.com blogger Mike Wobschall says everything about Jennings’ character and personality.
Towards the end of Jennings’ interview with Wobschall, Jennings talked about playing with Adrian Peterson was the biggest attraction for him signing with the Vikings. It’s pretty certain that Jennings won’t see as many nickel and dime packages with Adrian in the backfield as he saw with Aaron Rodgers as QB.
Another thing that flashed through is that Jennings is excited to join the Vikings. He can’t wait to start digging into the Vikings playbook, citing his desire to learn Bill Musgrave’s offensive philosophy so he can play wherever he’s needed. Whether it’s lining up in the slot or outside the numbers, Jennings sounds like he’d like to line up wherever the biggest mismatch is.
When Harvin was traded, Adrian Peterson tweeted that he felt like he’d been kicked in the gut several times. I’m betting he’s feeling much better tonight. He’s got a gifted wide receiver on the outside who will take defenders out of the box to defend against Adrian’s runs.
It’s obvious that the Vikings hope Jennings’ signing will help Christian Ponder’s development. That said, one of the guys that will be helped by Jennings’ signing is Pro Bowl MVP Kyle Rudolph. During the second half of the season, Rudolph was pretty much the only guy who got open for Ponder’s passes.
Adding Greg Jennings through free agency and hopefully a wideout in the draft will take pressure off Rudolph, Ponder and Adrian Peterson.
This has been a productive week for the Vikings. They traded Percy Harvin for a first round pick and a seventh round pick in this April’s draft and a third round pick in the 2014 draft. They signed Greg Jennings and QB Matt Cassel, then resigned OT Phil Loadholt and FB Jerome Felton to four- and three-year extensions respectively.
The Vikings now have the 23rd and 25th picks in the first round to go along with picks in each of the seven rounds, including 2 picks in the fourth and seventh rounds.
When the dust settles after the draft, I’d bet that the Vikings will have had the most productive offseason of all the teams. Yes, other teams will have made big splashes. The Dolphins fit into that category. Ditto with Seattle and Denver.
Quietly, though, the Vikings will have kept a talented offensive line together, kept Jerome Felton around as Adrian Peterson’s lead blocker while likely adding some options for Christian Ponder. Finally, they’ll likely address their needs in the front seven, too.
That’s how smart GMs quietly build strong teams for years to come.
Tags: Minnesota Vikings, Rick Spielman, Greg Jennings, Adrian Peterson, Christian Ponder, Kyle Rudolph, Free Agency, Percy Harvin, NFL Draft, Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers
The Pi-Press’ Tom Powers is an annoying columnist that I read only when the title of his column sounds interesting. In the aftermath of the Vikings trade of Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks, Powers wrote a column titled Vikings trading Percy Harvin is logical – and wrong. That piqued my curiosity. Here’s part of Powers’ illogic:
Whether they had no choice but to trade him is up for debate. What we know for sure is that they 1) wouldn’t pay him; and 2) couldn’t get along with him. So they are sending him to Seattle for draft choices.
Actually, the debate over whether the Vikings should keep Harvin ended when the Strib’s Vikings beat writers broke the story that Harvin contemplated walking out on his teammates at midseason last year.
While it would be unfair to call him the Vikings version of J.R. Rider, it isn’t unfair to say that he’s a temperamental, talented football player. Anyone that’s willing to stage a walkout on his teammates while they’re making a playoff run is cancer.
In this case, Harvin was a cancer with an expiring contract.
This might be Rick Spielman’s best trade yet. First, he essentially told Harvin to not let the door hit him where the Good Lord split him, thereby ridding the Vikings of a talent-filled cancer. Next, he essentially extorted a king’s ransom from Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks. Now Harvin is their problem on a short contract.
Here’s what the Vikings got in exchange for an oft-injured, though talented, playmaker:
Vikings get: First- and seventh-round selections in next month’s draft, plus a third-round pick in 2014. That first-rounder is the 25th overall pick (the Vikings already own the 23rd pick).
Seahawks get: Percy Harvin, the moody but multitalented wide receiver who scored 29 touchdowns in four seasons (54 games) with the Vikings (20 receiving, four rushing, five on kick returns).
This gets better when you put this in context. The Vikings own the 23rd and 25th picks in this year’s draft. According to Scout.com, they’ll have their own picks in the second, third, fifth and sixth rounds in addition to having 2 picks in the fourth round and 3 picks in the 7th round.
To put that in perspective, here’s a little of Spielman’s draft history in the later rounds: Spielman paired his second round pick last year with a fourth round pick to trade back into the first round. That pick turned into Harrison Smith. Smith looks like he’ll be in the Vikings secondary for the next 8-10 years. The fourth round has been especially productive for Spielman. That’s where he drafted USC DE Everson Griffen and Texas DE Brian Robison. It’s also where he drafted WR Jarius Wright in last year’s draft.
It’s best not to overlook the fact that the Vikings used a sixth round pick in last year’s draft to pick All Pro placekicker Blair Walsh. All Walsh did as a rookie was make the All Pro team while setting an NFL record by hitting all 10 of his kicks beyond 50 yards.
Now that the Vikings have two first round picks, they can take a run at NY Giants WR Victor Cruz. The Giants tendered him as a first round pick, meaning a team signing Cruz would have to give the Giants a first round pick if the Giants don’t match the offer sheet.
If that’s what happens, the Vikings will have traded Harvin for Cruz, a Pro Bowl WR, a third round pick in next year’s draft and a seventh round pick. That isn’t just a good deal. That’s close to highway robbery.
If the Vikings can’t sign Cruz, they can take a shot at Mike Wallace or Greg Jennnings, then console themselves knowing that they’ve got the 23rd and 25th picks to strengthen their wide receivers, their defensive line, their secondary or a combination thereof.
According to Scott Wright’s mock draft, the Vikings will have their choice of WRs Deandre Hopkins and Keenan Allen, defensive linemen like Sylvester Williams or a corner like Desmond Trufant. Each of these players wouild help the Vikings immediately.
Those are some pretty positive options created by a trade that makes sense but that shouldn’t have happened.
Tags: Percy Harvin, Seattle Seahawks, NFL Free Agency, Minnesota Vikings, Greg Jennings, Mike Wallace, Unrestricted Free Agents, Victor Cruz, Restricted Free Agents, NFL Draft, Draft Countdown, Mock Drafts