So I got around to listening to the podcast of Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman's appearance Friday on KFAN-100.3, and naturally my ears perked up when the topic turned to the status of receiver Percy Harvin.
As we discussed earlier this week, Harvin is entering the final year of his contract and the Vikings at the very least have a complex set of issues to navigate in order to lock him up for the long-term. Spielman faced a number of direct questions from hosts Paul Allen and Paul Charchian during his radio appearance and, I thought, fell short of a 100-percent commitment to Harvin's future.
That jibes with several open-ended answers coach Leslie Frazier offered earlier this week to 1500 ESPN. Friday, Spielman was asked whether the Vikings plan to offer Harvin a contract extension before the start of the 2013 season.
"I'm not going to say what's going to happen this offseason," Spielman said, "because he is going in to the last year of his contract. But right now, where we're at, Percy Harvin is a member of this football team and he is a very good football player. We don't like to get rid of good football players."
Asked if he wants Harvin on the 2013 team, Spielman said: "We love Percy Harvin as a football player. Everybody sees what he does for our football team."
Asked if that meant there is something non-football related about Harvin that he doesn't love, Spielman said: "Percy Harvin is a blue-chip player and he is a game-changer. In fact he was on track to be a potential MVP. We were very fortunate to have two players, and we had one that did win the MVP award [Adrian Peterson]. So we're very fortunate to have two players of that caliber on our football team."
If you told me that sounds like a sales pitch I wouldn't disagree with you.
Of course, it makes some sense Spielman wouldn't want to commit publicly to any particular course of action even if he has already decided on one. From a pure business perspective, you don't want to discourage other teams from believing Harvin could be available in a trade if they made a sweet-enough offer. Also, it wouldn't help the Vikings in contract negotiations with Harvin if Spielman publicly ruled out a piece of leverage.
But I think we have all heard NFL executives say from time to time that Player X is not going anywhere, especially when the player is so talented and central to his team's plans that trading him seems preposterous. Both Frazier and Spielman were given multiple opportunities to say that this week and didn't. We'll find out soon if that is by design over mere oversight.