- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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A recent report out of Minnesota suggests that talented wide receiver/offensive weapon Percy Harvin is available via trade, which would bolster an already strong crop of receivers who could be playing for new teams in 2013.
Harvin, who finished the 2012 season on injured reserve and played in just nine games, amassed 62 catches for 677 yards and three touchdowns. He also had 96 yards rushing and averaged nearly 36 yards on his 16 kickoff returns (one for a touchdown).
His talents are obvious, as he's one of the most slippery open-field players in the league, and plays with immense strength despite his modest frame (5-foot-11, 184 pounds). He's a dynamic offensive weapon that can score any time he touches the football. Behavioral issues appear to have soured his relationship with the Vikings, leading to him reportedly being available right now.
Thinking back to the 2009 draft, the Patriots, who were slotted just one pick behind the Vikings in the first-round order, were strongly considering taking Harvin, according to then-Vikings head coach Brad Childress.
The team had worked Harvin out leading up to the draft, and he was highly touted by former Florida coach Urban Meyer, now the head coach of Ohio State and one of Bill Belichick's good friends among the college ranks.
The interest back then, coupled with the Patriots' current situation at the wide receiver position now, makes one wonder if they are interested in acquiring Harvin should Minnesota indeed be willing to part with the gifted 24-year old.
A few context notes:
1. The price tag to acquire Harvin is unclear. From a talent perspective, there's little denying Harvin is a difference-maker, but with just one year left on his current contract, there are questions as to whether Minnesota could fetch equal value in return.
2. Would the Patriots -- or any other team -- be willing to pony up for a player just one year away from free agency? Does that fact decrease his value, perhaps making him available for a mid-round draft choice? Harvin, of course, could sign an extension with his new team.
With just five picks in the upcoming draft, the Patriots are slim on chips to use in a potential trade, assuming Minnesota would be looking for 2013 draft choices in exchange for Harvin.
3. The other question that needs addressing is whether Harvin's off-the-field and health issues are enough of a concern to stay away. He tested positive for marijuana at the combine, and dealt with migraine headache issues early in his career. He is coming off of an ankle injury now, but there are no indications that he shouldn't be 100 percent leading into 2013.
As for what he would bring to the Patriots offense, Harvin certainly represents the type of dynamic wide receiver that every coordinator would want. He has a comparable build to Wes Welker, but has not been utilized the same way. He's certainly faster and younger, and is similar to Welker in his rare ability to make yards after the catch. Welker's durability and toughness are unmatched, but Harvin is highly regarded for a reason, and would be an excellent addition to the Patriots' offense.
Would there be room for both slot mavens? One would think no, but an offense can never have too many good players.
For now, this is all conjecture, but Harvin's name will likely continue to be a popular one around the league until the Vikings decide to either move on from him or retain him for the final year of his rookie deal.
EXTRA POINT: Pro Football Focus' Sam Monson, writing on ESPN Insider, lists his top possible landing spots for Harvin. The Patriots are at the top of the list. To read the story, CLICK HERE.