Percy Harvin apparently bolted the Vikings' mandatory minicamp between the morning and afternoon practice sessions, and coach Leslie Frazier said he was not sure if Harvin would attend the final practice Thursday. The departure raised the stakes of a drama that seemed destined to peter out Wednesday morning after Harvin reported to the Vikings' practice, a day after telling reporters he is unhappy with multiple issues and then privately asking the Vikings for a trade.
Harvin was on the field but did not participate in the Wednesday morning session. After conducting the afternoon session with Harvin nowhere to be seen, Frazier wouldn't say whether the absence was excused. If it wasn't, Harvin could be subject to a $10,500 fine and then an additional $21,000 fine if he skips Thursday's session, according to the NFL's collective bargaining agreement.
"I don't want to get into it until we have a chance to have an extensive conversation," Frazier said, promising that conversation would occur before training camp.
It's early, and again from a historic perspective, these dramas tend to work themselves out more often than they cause extended absences from training camp. But Harvin has proved in three years to be a less-than-predictable personality, and there is no way to know for sure that his emotions will subside over the next month.
Earlier in the day, the Vikings seemed to lay out a set of organizational parameters. Among them:
The team reiterated its commitment to increasing Harvin's playing time beyond the 58 percent of snaps he played last season. "Yes," offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said. "Looking forward to it."
There is almost no chance he will be traded. "We have no interest at all in trading Percy Harvin," general manager Rick Spielman said.
He isn't likely to get a new contract, if he wants one, until next year. Harvin has two years remaining on his contract, and Spielman said: "We have a history of extending players going into the last year of their contract, and that's been our history."
Spielman pledged to "work out" whatever issues are contributing to Harvin's state of mind, a massage process that happens more often than you probably think inside NFL organizations. Team building is not just about collecting good players and finding quality coaches to guide them. It's about managing the inevitable detours created when you corral competitive and often volatile personalities in the structure of professional sports.
"It's part of the NFL," Spielman said. "There are always going to be some players where you have to deal with specific issues. You deal with them internally and get them resolved and move forward."
Harvin has demonstrated an extreme level of volatility in this instance. Trust me when I tell you that few, if any, members of the organization saw this coming before Tuesday. Before revealing it to a group of reporters Tuesday, Harvin had confided no significant displeasure to any authority figure associated with the team.
That means Harvin can turn off his displeasure as quickly as he turned it on. In some ways, the Vikings would be smart to wait for a bit and see if this blows over. If it doesn't, and Percy Harvin really is going to stay away from training camp until the Vikings trade him, we will be in for a long, long ride.