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Updated: February 19th, 2013 6:07am
Reusse's Reality Script: Episode 12 (Harvin)

Reusse's Reality Script: Episode 12 (Harvin)

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by Patrick Reusse

Percy Harvin has been a screwy son of a gun, from the first time he didn't show up as scheduled at Winter Park. The excuse was that he had fallen ill in transit _ overcome by wooziness in the Atlanta airport.

The official excuse was dehydration, which sounded like a hangover to me, as a fellow with some experience with such things prior to April 27, 1981.

The Vikings accepted Harvin as the No. 22 overall pick in the 2009 draft, much as they did Randy Moss as the No. 21 overall pick in the 1998 draft.

Dennis Green had the power in '98, and he chose Moss' talent over his reputation for trouble. Brad Childress had most of the power in '09, and he made the same decision on Harvin.

Brett Favre came in as the quarterback that August. He was quick to adopt Harvin and turned the dynamo from the Florida Gators into an immediate star and the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year.

You can't overestimate the positive influence that Favre provided for Harvin. And you can't overestimate the negative influence that Moss had on Harvin a year later.

As much credit as Childress should get for taking the shot on Harvin, he deserves as much blame for the desperate attempt to save the 2010 season by making the trade for Moss.

Childress realized his mistake and released Moss after a month. That was too late to save the season, to save Childress' job or to save Harvin from picking up on the insolent, unprofessional ways of Moss.

Harvin watched Moss pick up and leave with 15 minutes left in practice. He listened as Moss announced to anyone that would listen that Childress should be fired. And, finally, Harvin wound up in a confrontation with Childress in which the player threw a weight in the coach's direction.

There was one main reason that Childress unilaterally cut Moss: He wanted to get him out of Winter Park before Harvin was ruined as a Viking.

Harvin played a full schedule with strong production in 2011, even as the Vikings went 3-13. Leslie Frazier, much more mild-mannered than Childress, seemed to have a solid working relationship with Harvin.

There was the weird stuff last spring, when Harvin sought out reporters to say he was unhappy. He was demanding a trade, was the report, and then the next day he said everything was OK.

The 2012 season was going better for everyone, including Harvin, and then he was injured, and then he was ready to return, and then he was on injured reserve and gone for the season ... gone back to Florida, out of sight.

There was a vociferous confrontation with Frazier that led to Harvin being placed on injured reserve. There were no heavy objects thrown toward the coach this time, but by all accounts, the argument was ugly and loud. It was also surprising that even a Randy Moss acolyte could get in such a dust-up with the gentlemanly Frazier.

So, now we have General Manager Rick Spielman saying the Vikings have no intention of trading Harvin. I suppose Spielman could have taken a more candid route in his meeting with reporters last Friday and said:

"We have come to the conclusion Percy is a complete pain in the ass and that he can't be relied on as a long-term contributor to this team. We certainly aren't going to give him the type of contract that he's after, so we plan to trade him for the best we can get.''

Yes, Spielman could have said that, but he went with the "no intention to trade him'' stance.

Did you expect anything else from a GM who hopes to get a couple of high draft choices _ a No. 2 now, maybe a No. 3 later _ for a strange little fellow with marvelous talent?

Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968. He co-hosts SportsTalk from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. and hosts The Ride with Reusse from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. He also co-hosts "Saturday Morning SportsTalk" from 10 a.m. to noon on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Patrick | @1500ESPN_reusse | The Ride with Reusse