The day before free agency proved to be an eventful one, with a number of teams making moves in preparation for the frenzy set to come. No move was bigger than Percy Harvin being dealt by the Vikings to the Seahawks for, reportedly, a trio of draft picks including Seattle’s first-round pick (#25 overall) and seventh-round pick in 2013, plus a mid-round pick next season—rumored to be a third-round selection.
Harvin has had a rocky ride during his four years in Minnesota, often at odds with management about playing time, injuries and his contract. He suffered a sprained ankle in Week 9 and was placed on IR in Week 14, never to return to the team despite the Vikings making it to the playoffs and losing to the Packers during the Wild Card round. Even though head coach Leslie Frazier was saying all the right things, by season’s end it was clear Harvin’s days were numbered in Minnesota.
Harvin’s move to Seattle will reunite him with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who was with Minnesota when they drafted Harvin in 2009. This move works on a lot of levels for the Seahawks, giving them a smaller, quicker, multi-talented weapon on offense to pair with the bigger Sidney Rice. Harvin will also add game-breaking ability in the return game. Nobody has had more kick-return touchdowns (5) since 2009 than Harvin.
Vikings – Christian Ponder is a QB2 who just lost his best receiver. He’s damaged fantasy goods until further notice.
This move leaves the receiving corps in Minnesota without a leader. With Jerome Simpson testing the free agent market, Jarius Wright and Stephen Burton and their 27 combined catches would be lining up outside if the Vikings were to play today. Expect Minnesota to be active in free agency, pursuing the likes of Greg Jennings, Danny Amendola or even the expensive Victor Cruz, who comes with a hefty first-round pick price tag.
Tight End Kyle Rudolph’s value holds steady but could use the assistance of a proven threat on the outside. If the Vikings choose to address their receiver needs through the draft and fail to get a proven wideout, Rudolph will be a marked man by defenses in 2013.
Seahawks – Russell Wilson gets the biggest fantasy boost from this trade. His stock was already on the rise after averaging 31.3 fantasy points over his last five games (including the playoffs). He now has one of the most explosive weapons in the league at his disposal, giving the Seahawks a very balanced offensive attack. Wilson is shaping up as a low-end QB1 in the 8–12 range.
Harvin was my #4 ranked fantasy wideout last preseason and was on his way to living up to the ranking until injury struck in Week 9. The benefits of a familiar voice on staff and a new contract stroking his ego will serve Harvin well, but posting 110 catches and 1,200+ receiving yards will be a challenge. Those numbers he was on pace for prior to injury last season will be difficult to come by in Seattle with a capable Sidney Rice on the outside and Golden Tate a viable third receiving option. I do expect Harvin to lead the team in receiving and give fantasy owners bonus points in the running game, but a low-end WR1 in the 10–15 range is likely his ceiling unless the Seahawks make a conscious effort to open up their offense, which ranked last in pass attempts with 405 last season.