INDIANAPOLIS — Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier has spoken to WR Percy Harvin recently and says the talented but mercurial receiver wants to be a part of the team.
“Well, the fact that he’s under contract (through 2014), he’s a part of our team,” Frazier said. “And he’s excited about being a part of our team from my conversations with him. And that’s where things are.”
Frazier echoed the sentiments of GM Rick Spielman, who spoke Thursday and said that the team has “no intent” of trading Harvin despite the playmaker having previously requested a trade and rumors circulating that the Vikings would be willing to listen to a deal if Harvin remains on the same page as the team.
After Harvin suffered a season-ending ankle injury, he left the team to rehab on his own. The Vikings were not thrilled with that, and combined with a sideline spat with Frazier (at least one incident with his coach) and previous unhappiness, the Vikings want to know if he is committed to the team.
Frazier said Harvin remains an important piece of the puzzle.
“He’s extremely important, as evidenced by the type of season he was having prior to his injury,” Frazier said. “He’s a focal point of our offense, did a great job for us.”
Frazier also said Harvin’s ankle is progressing nicely.
“He expressed to me that he was healthy, which is something we wanted to make sure of when he came back for his exit physical, and (said) that he was doing well,” Frazier said. “He was going to go home and spend some time with his family and that he was doing fine. So that was encouraging.”
The Vikings still might want to dip into the draft’s WR talent. Frazier outlined what he likes in a wideout.
“You’re always looking for speed at the receiver position. So that’s a criteria. Along with the fact that he (needs to have) great hands,” he said. “That’s another part of it. So being able to get a little yardage after catch, that’s a part of it as well. So there are a lot of things that go into it, more than even what I’m saying.
“But we have a number of positions that we’re going to try to get addressed and that’s one of them. We need an all-encompassing guy, a guy who can run by some people, who can make the hard catch for us if he’s in a contested situation but hopefully also can get us some yards after catch. And he’s a guy who has the smarts to be able to understand game plans from week to week.”
One player often compared to Harvin, skill-wise, is West Virginia’s Tavon Austin, who spoke confidently about running a sub-4.4-second 40-yard dash and putting up 15 reps on the 225-pound bench press. But Frazier was not about to compare Austin — or any other soon-to-be rookie wideout — to Harvin.
“Oh, I wouldn’t want to really compare anybody to Percy that’s playing college football. Percy Harvin is a very, very good football player. Excellent football player. Pro Bowl-caliber guy,” Frazier said. “So I wouldn’t want to compare him to any guy who’s in college right now, coming out of college.”