According to widespread published reports, the Vikings and Seahawks have agreed to a trade that would send wide receiver Percy Harvin to Seattle in exchange for draft choices. The deal cannot be officially announced until Tuesday, when the new NFL year begins. It is surmised that Seattle will send multiple picks to Minnesota, very possibly including their first rounder in 2013, the 25th choice overall.
Harvin is certainly capable of playing at a Fantasy WR1 level when healthy, and this reported deal would no doubt boost his appeal in all leagues. Not only does he leave behind a situation where he was openly unhappy, he also goes to a team with a much more appealing quarterback situation and significantly deeper and better supporting cast at wide receiver. Harvin fills a definite need for a Super Bowl contender. The Seahawks were lacking a true downfield threat on offense, and now quarterback Russell Wilson gets the outstanding playmaking weapon he truly needed.
Wilson has already outperformed Vikings QB Christian Ponder by leaps and bounds after just one season. He throws a very pretty and accurate deep ball, and is especially effective on play-action downfield tosses. Harvin now gets a QB who can consistently locate him downfield, and with Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin surrounding him, Harvin no longer has to be the sole defensive focus of opposing game plans against the passing game. With Harvin complemented by more offensive talent than ever (including Marshawn Lynch in the mix for further balance), he will certainly be in the crosshairs as a No. 1 Fantasy wide receiver in 2013 yearly drafts.
For Harvin, it is simply a matter of staying healthy – this has consistently been an issue throughout his career, as Fantasy players know all too well. Harvin suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 9 last year and missed the rest of the season. Fantasy owners, however, can now be hopeful that less defensive attention and a somewhat reduced burden to help carry the offense as the team’s only playmaker at his position leads to less wear and tear. The Seahawks will not have to force-feed Harvin the ball as the Vikings often did when they weren’t handing off to Adrian Peterson.
Harvin has never reached 1,000 receiving yards in a season and has not scored more than six receiving TDs in any single year. He is entering his fifth NFL season and will be 25 years old when the new campaign starts, so his best statistical seasons should still be ahead of him. Wilson will definitely look for him for big plays frequently, and with Seattle’s other playmakers commanding the respect of the defense, Harvin will likely get more chances than ever to score. Fantasy players should have expectations for significantly raised upside, while also keeping Harvin’s injury history firmly in mind. Harvin is certainly a Top 10 WR overall for 2013, and you should see him taken in the fourth round of many drafts, given his new and attractive situation.
Rice has dealt with even more frustrating injury problems than Harvin, and ideally, it seems the Seahawks would like to ideally pair the two former Vikings together as starters. Rice fits the big receiver role perfectly when he is healthy, and now the Seahawks can effectively bump Tate to third in their pecking order, where he may be a better fit from a pure football perspective. When all three are available, Seattle can certainly challenge secondaries in a big way, with the luxury of a guy like Tate as a third option. Baldwin being fourth on the projected chart shows how much the Seahawks have significantly improved their now outstanding WR depth.
Rice is a WR3 in Fantasy, as his aforementioned health problems always hinder his value. Adding Harvin, though, could boost his game-by-game production when he plays. Tate now becomes more of a borderline WR3, even though he had a very encouraging season in 2012. Harvin’s presence could mean less playmaking opportunities for Tate when all three top WRs are on the field, but if Rice or Harvin go down, he has already proved he can step into the starting lineup when needed and post respectable Fantasy numbers. Tate’s Fantasy reliability will obviously hinge on the health of Rice and Harvin in any given week or stretch.
Wilson already looked like a Top 10 Fantasy QB for 2013 given his rising appeal as a competent passer with outstanding rushing abilities as well. Now, with a deep and very promising WR crew, you should not hesitate to draft him as a Fantasy starter when the very elite QBs are off the board.
As for the Vikings, they now to be in a complete transitional/rebuild mode in their passing game. We’ll have to wait to see how free agency and the draft play out for Minnesota before we can make any accurate assessments about their offense for 2013.