If we rewind back to the team's minicamp in May, there was the inexplicable comments from Harvin conducted in which he said he wasn't happy and he asked the team for a trade shortly thereafter. At the time, the media made the logical conclusion that Harvin was angling for a new contract – a charge he would vehemently deny. If it wasn't his contract, what was it that had Harvin so unhappy?
The thinking since was that Harvin was upset about his role in the offense. He never threatened to hold out or not give his full effort in training camp or the preseason. If anything, he wanted to have a larger role in helping the Vikings win games. That meant he was willing to do whatever it would take – catching passes, taking handoffs and returning kicks.
Through two games this season, Harvin is looking like he has a Pro Bowl in his future – as a wide receiver – at the end of the season and not being named as a return specialist. His 18 receptions are second only to Danny Amendola (who casual NFL fans know as Danny Who?). His 188 receiving yards would put him on pace for 1,500 yards over the course of a full season. His 387 combined yards (188 receiving, 33 rushing and 166 on kick returns) leads the NFL and has him on pace for a whopping 3,096 all-purpose yards. His 33.2-yard kickoff return average is the highest among anyone with five or more returns.
On Sunday, Harvin was on the field for 77 percent of the snaps, the second week in a row he was used more than 75 percent of the time after playing in only 58 percent of the snaps last year.
"We are always talking to him we're talking to Adrian and other guys who get utilized a lot in ball games as to where they are health-wise and making sure as we line up on Sundays they are ready to go," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "We'll always be in communication with Percy about and his health and where he is and what we need to do that week for him to be ready to play on Sunday.
There were times in Sunday's game with the Colts that it seemed like Harvin was the only real playmaker on the field. With Adrian Peterson looking more like skeptics thought he would last week against Jacksonville and Christian Ponder not taking shots deep down the field, the Vikings offense was in the hands of Harvin to get the job done. For one of the smaller players on the roster, it seemed as though Harvin would be putting the entire team on his shoulders and carrying them along with him.
"Man, he's off to a great start for us, no question about it," Frazier said. "It's working just like we wanted it to when we sat down this offseason and talked about being able to utilize his strengths." Whether it was Harvin's intent when he went public with his displeasure, it would seem as though the salary and playing time are going to end up running hand in hand. If it was his role with the offense that was the problem, it would seem clear that the Vikings have addressed that because, in many ways, he has been the offense for the first two weeks of the season. If the problem was based around money, it would seem just as certain that Zygi Wilf and the money men in the Vikings organization need to start working with Harvin's agent to get a contract extension done before he gets close to free agency (he is signed through the 2013 season).
The Vikings have a history of signing contract extensions with those players the franchise values. Chad Greenway got done. Brian Robison got done. John Sullivan got done. Peterson got done. It may take until the end of the season to get it to happen, but, if Harvin has proved anything in these first two games, it's that he is one of (if not the) most valuable players on the Vikings and, without him, they would likely be 0-2 and have lost both games by a significant margin.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.