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Updated: October 1st, 2012 4:34pm
Percy Harvin's unhappiness was tied to offense not knowing their roles

Percy Harvin's unhappiness was tied to offense not knowing their roles

by Judd Zulgad
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Percy Harvin has done little to explain exactly why he was upset with the Minnesota Vikings during their June minicamp.

In fact, the bizarre scenario that played out over three days went from Harvin volunteering the fact he was upset, but refusing to go into detail, then demanding a trade and skipping a practice session. However, things ended just as quickly as they had started and by the end of the three-day mandatory camp Harvin acted as if little had happened.

One assumption was that Harvin wasn't happy with a rookie contract that had two years remaining on it with base salaries of $915,000 in 2012 and $1.55 million in 2013, plus modest workout bonuses of $27,500 in each year.

However, the Vikings refused to discuss the issue, and there were rumblings that Harvin's unhappiness was related to matters that didn't involve money.

A day after Harvin caught a season-low three passes for 22 yards in the Vikings' 20-13 victory at Detroit, he broke his silence on the matter.

"I think it was just the identity of our offense," Harvin said. "Not only me, just guys knowing exactly what the coaches (were) asking of them on a week-to-week basis. Not playing one position one week, and come in and not totally having a grasp on what they're asking for the next week.

"I think (offensive coordinator Bill) Musgrave has done a great job -- I said it all offseason -- of putting (Kyle) Rudolph in great situations. We've got a package for Jerome (Simpson), which you've seen, where we'll take shots downfield. So everybody knows their role, knows what the coaches expect them to do. Now you can just sit back and try to do it at the highest level you can."

Harvin, who led the NFL in receptions entering Sunday and is now third with 30 catches for 299 yards, was the focus of a Lions defense that had no interest in seeing him have a big game.

"No doubt about it," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "There were a number of times you look and they've got guys bracketing and rotating safeties to play the reverse. They had a good plan, a good Percy plan.

"Fortunately for us, we were able to the run the football as well as were and we were able to get the football down the field to Jerome that helped us to get some explosive plays. It was a good job by Detroit. Credit them for what they did."

Harvin, who also had three rushing attempts for 12 yards, said the Lions used "bracket coverage" on him the entire game. In this case, Harvin had no problem with not being the focus of the offense and with the Vikings off to a 3-1 start the veteran is pleased with the direction of the franchise.

"That's why it's a team game," he said. "I helped Jerome make a few key catches. That's with one-on-one (coverage). We took a couple deep shots, so like I said, we all feed off each other. There will be games like that."

Harvin, of course, couldn't be too upset considering he opened the game by taking a kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown.

"It was a bounce right," said Harvin, who has five kickoff returns for touchdowns in his four-year NFL career. "The blockers did a great job. We watched it this morning. I set it, they left the two free to run backside. So I just set him up, and basically it was a great blocking scheme." 

Judd Zulgad is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays and "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Judd | @1500ESPNJudd | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Leslie Frazier, Percy Harvin