The official 2013 year began this week for the NFL, which starts with trading players and signing free agents on the market. The Minnesota Vikings had a busy start to their new year and they did not go unnoticed.
The Vikings traded Wide Receiver Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday. In exchange for Harvin, the Vikings received the Seahawks’ 2013 first round and seventh round draft picks, along with their third round pick in the 2014 draft. With this trade, the Vikings now own both the twenty-third and the twenty-fifth overall picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, which will start on April 25.
The big move by the Vikings occurred after a long season full of drama and controversy between Harvin and the organization. This story started last summer after Harvin made public comments criticizing the Vikings organization and how he felt unhappy with his team.
Harvin played seven games this past season and during those games, he looked like a possible candidate for the league MVP award. However, Harvin severely sprained his ankle and was put on the injured reserves list shortly after. Controversy followed Harvin’s injury after rumors came out that Harvin had a dispute with Head Coach Leslie Fraizer, which was a second reason to him being put on the injured reserves list.
Recently, Harvin had requested a trade, but Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman denied those trade rumors and said that Harvin was here to stay and that they were ready to negotiate with Harvin on a new contract. That quickly changed Monday afternoon, a day before the league year began.
Harvin will now join the Seahawks, who finished last year with an 11-5 record behind now second year quarterback, Russell Wilson, who had an impressive rookie season and was a candidate for the Rookie of the Year award. Harvin will also join former teammate, Sidney Rice, who signed with the Seahawks in 2011 after spending four years playing for the Vikings.
In addition to the Harvin trade, the Vikings also released cornerback Antoine Winfield this week. The initial reports indicate that Winfield was asked to restructure his contract, but he declined, causing him to be released. However, Spielman has said that the door is open for Winfield to come back if he takes a pay cut. Winfield, at age thirty five, was scheduled to make $7.25 million this upcoming season. According to reports, Winfield was often considered the “heart” of the Vikings defense. Winfield played nine of his fourteen seasons in the NFL with the Vikings.
Despite moving two of their most valuable players, the Vikings managed to re-sign wide receiver Jerome Simpson to a one year extension. Other than Simpson, the Vikings also re-signed right tackle, Phil Loadholt, and safety, Jamarca Sanford.