The question remaining is what brought about Harvin's request for a trade. Is it about the money? Is it about the team being in rebuilding mode? Is it about the playing time? Is it about the other wide receivers brought in? Is it about the offensive scheme?
The answer isn't known for sure because, as Harvin put it Tuesday, "it's hard to try to tell you guys without telling you guys." Harvin has the option to say what some of the "different things that have to be sorted out" are. On Tuesday, he declined, saying he didn't want to be a distraction. Hours later, he requested the trade.
"I'll just put it this way. There's a lot of different things that have to be sorted out. I just haven't been real happy lately," Harvin said. "We've got a couple things to work on. I'm here in the classroom, so we'll go from there."
Then he skipped out on Wednesday's afternoon practice, perhaps the most meaty practice of the three-day minicamp and before returning Thursday, smiling on the field and acting as if nothing was wrong before turning down a post-practice interview request.
So, let's take the potential issues on a case-by-case basis:
Before tweeting that he didn't know about all the "crazy reports" – all of which were based off of his words that are on tape for proof – he tweeted that it wasn't about the money.
"Fans I said I have issues to be worked out money not at all being the problem...I've dne everything asked and more," he tweeted. "Me and cch have been speaking and are on same page...theres nothin I can do."
We assume that "cch" is coach and we also assume that money still might be part of the problem because Harvin is scheduled to make only $915,000 in base salary this year and $1.55 million in 2013. General manager Rick Spielman said he has talked to Harvin's agent, Joel Segal, about "the issues." Segal, by the way, didn't respond to a request for clarification, either.
The Vikings signed two receivers to relatively decent contracts recently. Last year, in a post-lockout rush to add talent, they signed Michael Jenkins to a three-year deal with a $2 million signing bonus and a $2.5 million base salary this year.
This offseason, they signed Jerome Simpson to a one-year deal that could be worth as much as $2 million but has an $800,000 base salary.
Based on talent and production, Harvin should be making more than Jenkins and probably more Simpson, but Harvin is still in his rookie contract, something Simpson and Jenkins have played through already. In other words, it's always a process to get to the big-money deals that free agency brings and the Vikings don't normally give out big-money extensions until a players is in the final year of his contract (see Chad Greenway and Adrian Peterson last summer).
But there are two factors often skipped or glossed over in the Harvin money discussion. His base salaries don't account for the signing bonus he got when he signed his rookie contract and he still has some decent money left in the two remaining years – nearly $3.5 million factoring in escalators, according to NFL.com's Brian McIntyre.
DeSean Jackson got a five-year, $47 million contract with Philadelphia Eagles, and he might be the closest comparison to Harvin. Jackson and Harvin are explosive receivers with 961 and 967 receiving yards, respectively, last year.
Jordy Nelson is another who has been compared to Harvin, and Nelson agreed to a three-year, $13 million contract during the 2011 season that calls for base salaries of $1 million this year and $2.7 million in 2013.
So if it is about money, Harvin could have a case, but he says it is not about money.
No one, not even head coach Leslie Frazier or Spielman denies the organizational philosophy to build with youth. They gutted the 30-somethings with the releases of Steve Hutchinson, Anthony Herrera and Ryan Longwell, the retirement of Jim Kleinsasser and letting Cedric Griffin, Visanthe Shiancoe and E.J. Henderson sit out on the free-agent market (only Griffin has signed elsewhere).
But the youth movement makes Harvin even more valuable. He fits exactly what they are looking for – an already-productive, talented, ascending player. Being in his rookie contract only helps. Rightfully, they don't have a lot of interest in trading Harvin. It would likely take an impressive offer from another team – thinking a first-round pick and another second-day pick – for Spielman to even consider it.
Harvin seemed to be in awe of Brett Favre and Randy Moss when he played with them only two years ago, but without them last year he seemed to become a more mature locker-room presence who was willing to take on the questions of the day and offer what appeared to be honest answers.
Being in rebuilding mode doesn't have to be a bad thing if Harvin can step forward (again?) as the unquestioned leader of the receivers and become a 1,000-yard guy. That would only increase his value in the future.
One of the most interesting conversations I've had with Harvin was in December when discussing the future of the offense. His view bucked the common thinking that the Vikings needed a deep threat. Bernard Berrian failed miserably in that role and Sidney Rice left. Michael Jenkins isn't a speed guy and Devin Aromashadu is a poor man's stopgap.
Still, Harvin didn't believe the team needed a big-bodies speedster.
"This offense is not particularly built for that 6-5 guy that can stretch the field. You can look to Atlanta and it's identical to our offense," Harvin said. "You don't see them catching too many (deep) balls. It's (Tony) Gonzalez catching 10-yard passes off of option routes. It's (Roddy) White catching 100 balls a year off the same routes. It's not too many flat-out deep balls. I don't think this offense is tailored for that deep pass, although we've been able to draw some up this year. We'll see what direction and how much coach adds to the playbook."
Asked Tuesday about what they added this year, Harvin said he hasn't really studied the playbook much, but instead concentrated on studying his route-running on film.
It would be strange to think that any playmaker of Harvin's abilities would be upset about adding additional talent like Simpson. It could take some pressure off Harvin. But the addition of fourth-round receiver Jarius Wright has some wondering if adding another young slot receiver has Harvin concerned about the team's long-term outlook with him. Again, until Harvin opens up on what was/is making him unhappy, it's anyone's guess.
Here's where I believe Harvin has a legitimate gripe. He was easily the team's best receiving option last year and still was only on the field for just more than 58 percent of the offensive snaps. That's just wrong for an offense that lacked explosive playmakers.
The coaching staff talked often about preserving Harvin. On some level, that line of thinking makes sense. He has a running back's mentality, unafraid to lower his shoulders for the extra yardage.
However, one of the factors in limiting his reps was his use on special teams, but he only returned 16 kicks last year. If they are limiting his offensive reps because of his special-teams usage, then he should be the full-time kick returner.
Since Harvin's beef became public, there have been all kinds of statistics referenced. NFL Network pointed out that he has the most all-purpose yards of any wide receiver since he entered the league. Others have pointed to an increase in production once Christian Ponder was the starter – he averaged 43.5 yards receiving with Donovan McNabb and 63.3 with Ponder last year. The real jump came when the Vikings were without Adrian Peterson, when Harvin averaged 108.7 receiving yards in those four games.
Pro Football Focus also showed how much better quarterbacks are when they target Peterson. Ponder had a passer rating of 70.1 last year and McNabb 82.9, but according to PFF they combined for a 97.2 rating when they targeted the reliable Harvin.
In discussing the situation, Frazier said Harvin wants to win a championship. The best way to eventually get that done is to have the best playmakers on the field. Harvin, obviously, is one of the best.
Harvin can beat cornerbacks deep. He can juke a safety or linebacker easily in the open field. He can also find an opening after taking a handoff in the backfield.
There are a lot of ways to use him and he seems to enjoy them all. While the best guess is that his playing time is the main issue, it might be the complexity of the offensive scheme and what is asked of receivers. During that December conversation, he talked about the time it takes receivers to get used to the route options and how they are expected to know all the different receiving positions.
"For the most part, we all know (the offense). It just gets tricky where it might be a deep pass and a receiver might be coming back to the huddle and he doesn't hear the exact personnel, that one receiver could be at each of the five spots," he said. "Just from that standpoint, you've got to be on top of your game. It's been a little tricky for me this year, but I've loved it.
"… It's tough to learn the offense, but people have done it numerous times, so that's not to say a wide receiver can't come in and with (organized team activities) pick up on the offense. With having OTAs and having a full year this year, I expect our offense to make major leaps next year."
If that's going to happen, having a happy Harvin would help. If it's contract issues, a bump in pay would help, but it would set a precedent of redoing contracts before the final year.
Ultimately, Harvin has to realize it is a two-way street. The Vikings need to be able to trust him. The worst of the migraines might be behind him, as he played in all 16 games last year, but they also have to trust that he'll be the leader he started to emerge as last year. Skipping a practice and teasing the public with his unhappiness won't help that trust.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.