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Updated: March 11th, 2013 10:34pm
Pelissero: Percy Harvin deal too good to pass up, but now what?

Pelissero: Percy Harvin deal too good to pass up, but now what?

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by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com

Adrian Peterson's emotion was obvious as he took to Twitter on Monday, hours after the Minnesota Vikings finalized a trade that sent Percy Harvin to the Seahawks.

"The best all around player I ever seen or you'll ever see! Goes to Seattle!" Peterson wrote. "I feel like I just got kicked in the stomach. Several times!!! I wish my boy Percy nothing but success! God bless you homie."

Peterson had expressed similar sentiments late last season, after Harvin left the team during its playoff push to rehabilitate his injured ankle in Florida. But the feeling wasn't unanimous in the locker room.

That the Vikings received an offer too good to pass up -- first- and seventh-round draft picks this season, plus a third-round pick in 2014 -- for a player whose volatile behavior had become an issue was confirmation to some players that general manager Rick Spielman made the right call.

One veteran starter told 1500ESPN.com on Monday the trade " is genius." Another said he's happy for Harvin but Spielman did "a great job" getting so much value for a player much of the league thought the Vikings were desperate to dump.

Harvin had demanded trades. He had clashed with coaches. He had complained about the offense and the quarterback. He once stormed out over a disagreement about medication.

He was, and is, one of the NFL's most dynamic players for 3 hours after Sunday. It's the other 165 hours a week the Vikings had begun to fear having a basket case on their hands.

Dressing down mild-mannered coach Leslie Frazier on the sideline in Seattle and again at the team facility weeks later was just the most overt signal Harvin had worn out his welcome and probably wanted out anyway. 

All that, and Spielman still found -- or perhaps created -- a marketplace and yielded a better return than most around the NFL expected.

"Vikes got very good return for (a) player with no future there," one NFL personnel man said.

Of course, the question even in the minds of players who support the deal is how the Vikings go about replenishing a receiver corps that has underwhelmed for three years.

They traded Harvin. They released Michael Jenkins. They have not moved to re-sign Jerome Simpson or Devin Aromashodu, who didn't give them much last season anyway.

The four receivers under contract for 2013 -- Jarius Wright, Stephen Burton, practice-squad holdover Chris Summers and Greg Childs, who missed his rookie season after tearing both his patellar tendons in camp -- have 29 NFL catches combined.

"I can't tell you one receiver that's on the team right now. That is funny," defensive tackle Kevin Williams told SiriusXM NFL Radio.

"After we lose Percy and Michael, I can't name one that we have on the roster. So, we're definitely going to have to make some moves in the draft and free agency to try to get us a receiving corps, period."

Unrestricted free agency opens at 3 p.m. Tuesday, the same time the Harvin deal can become official. But the odds appear stacked against acquiring a difference-maker that way.

Mike Wallace has the speed the Vikings are desperately seeking, but word in league circles is he's bound for Miami on a deal that could pay him $12 million a season.

Greg Jennings would be less expensive, but he's almost 30, has been banged up and reportedly prefers to play with an established quarterback.

Wes Welker is strictly a slot player, doesn't provide the vertical threat the Vikings want and isn't getting any younger either.

The likes of Danny Amendola, Austin Collie, Julian Edelman and Brandon Gibson are possibilities. But they all may get overpaid, if the five-year, $30.775 million deal Miami just gave pedestrian Brian Hartline is any indication.

The Vikings will have 11 draft picks once the Harvin trade goes through and could use one to either make another deal or take a chance on a restricted free agent such as Victor Cruz, whom the New York Giants tendered at the first-round level.

They already reportedly offered one of their seventh-round picks to Baltimore for veteran Anquan Boldin, who landed in San Francisco for a sixth-rounder instead. One way or another, acquiring someone with NFL experience seems inevitable.

They'll also look to the draft, perhaps using one or even both of their two first-round picks (Nos. 23 and 25) to dive into a receiver class widely seen as deep, if light on top-end talent.

No doubt, Harvin had his supporters in the locker room. Peterson was one of them for obvious reasons -- because now the Vikings have no one capable of taking attention away from him.

But they'll address that in more than one way over the next seven weeks and, like it or not, getting what they did for Harvin provides ammunition to rebuild the group from the ground up.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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