Thursday, October 25, 2012

Time to Spend on Harvin

Through the first seven games of the NFL season, the Minnesota Vikings rank 22 in the league in passing yardage, near the bottom of the league in passes for more the forty yards, near the bottom of the league in passes for more than thirty yards, and near the bottom of the league in passes for more than twenty yards--all that, despite the fact that Percy Harvin is, by far, the league leaders in yards-after-catch, outdistancing the number two receiver in this category, Wes Welker, by nearly 100 yards.

The Vikings' passing statistics reveal two things that most Vikings' fans already know.  The first is that Harvin has become indispensable to the Vikings' offense.  The other is that the Vikings must open the coffers and extend Harvin before Harvin either becomes even more valuable--as he will if the touchdowns begin to follow from his receptions--or he has the opportunity to gauge the interest of the rest of the league.

With $10 million in salary cap space--and more almost certainly to flow back to the team in the form of unearned incentives--the Vikings are in an ideal position to sign Harvin now and have the cap hit count against 2012 rather than 2013 salary cap numbers.  A player of Harvin's abilities likely will command a contract in the neighborhood of $50 million over five seasons, with at least $22 million of that guaranteed.

When the Vikings were pushing for a new stadium, the front office's philosophy was to spend nearly to the salary cap limit and use the roster bonus when signing players.  Now that the stadium is in the bank, the team has backed off both commitments--ominous signs for a team with a pressing decision on Harvin that could and should be resolved yesterday.

Harvin currently earns $915,000 per season--slightly more than Jerome Simpson ($800k) and nearly one-third what Michael Jenkins ($2.5m) receives.  That low figure is a disincentive for the Vikings to renegotiate Harvin's salary this year.

The argument for extending Harvin this year, however, is that the Vikings do have a surplus that otherwise will be unspent and they can use that surplus to pay for at least half of Harvin's likely bonus (assuming at least half of the bonus is in the form of a roster bonus) and pro-rate the remainder over the five years of the contract--considerations that the Vikings need to contemplate as they look down the road to the expiration of other, team-friendly, rookie contracts.

Up Next:  6-2 a Must if Vikings Want to Stay on Playoff Course.  Plus, Time to Truly Develop Quarterback.

1 comment:

Childress of A Lesser God said...

Amen to that. Re-up with Harvin - a young and indepensible playmaker - now. This keeps Harvin happy and is a strong message to the rest of the roster: Play well and you will be valued and rewarded.