On many Sundays, the Minnesota Vikings have been happy to have Percy Harvin wearing a purple jersey. These days, he represents a dilemma.
The Vikings can try to sign the multi-talented but moody receiver to a contract extension before the season begins for the big money he's sure to command.
They could let the last year of his current contract play out and brace for the potential distraction that comes with that move, risking the possibility he'd hold out of training camp.
Or they can try to trade him, even though a top Minnesota executive has made it clear that's not what the team wants to do.
Harvin is a sure-handed pass-catcher and a speedy yet hard-nosed ball-carrier capable of lining up as a running back. He's also a dangerous kickoff returner.
He will turn 25 on May 28. Most teams in the league would love to have his diverse skills.
This doesn't mean Minnesota would find it easy to trade Harvin for equal value if he's not included in the future core.
Vikings fans remembering the seventh overall draft choice that Randy Moss fetched from Oakland in 2005 might hope for the same return from Harvin or dream of a deal with Arizona for Larry Fitzgerald, a native of Minneapolis. But the reality of the NFL is headliner trades will likely again be rare once the market opens on March 12. Because of the team-to-team differences in schemes, the complications of the salary cap and the precious resource that draft picks have become, this league is not much for wheeling and dealing.
While Harvin might have played his last game with Minnesota, the chance of the former Florida Gator continuing his career with the club that made him the 22nd overall pick in the 2009 draft is probably just as good.
"Again, there is no intent to trade Percy Harvin," Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said Friday. "He is a very good football player."
With rosters twice as big in pro football, there are more than two times as many active players in the NFL than in Major League Baseball. But according to STATS research, there were only 448 players traded in the NFL the past 10 years. In MLB? A whopping 2,362 players were dealt, according to STATS.
Sure, Moss has been traded twice now. So was Brandon Marshall. Jay Cutler brought Denver a significant return, as did Jared Allen for Kansas City. But none of those deals were star for star, unless the star developed from a draft pick. Clinton Portis for Champ Bailey is one of the few modern examples of that.