With more than $8 million dollars in cap space and the end of Percy Harvin's contract in sight, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman declined to get into specifics on the team's intentions with their star receiver.
Harvin ranks only 14th on the Vikings in average salary per season because he is still in his rookie contract after being a 2009 first-round draft pick.
"I think what we'll do at the end of this season, just like our normal procedure, it takes about 3½ days to go through an evaluation on each one of our players. We talk about each player," Spielman said when asked about Harvin.
The Vikings will have other contracts to consider in the offseason, but none bigger than Harvin's.
Until an ankle injury sidelined him Sunday, he was leading the league with 62 receptions (no else on the Vikings has more than 34), but because he is still in his rookie contract he has a base salary of only $915,000 and a salary-cap number of $2.04 million – a fraction of some of the highest paid receivers in the league who are making about five times that.
"We're going to have decisions this offseason, too, on guys that are going to be unrestricted free agents, guys that you want to try to extend, guys that are going into the last year of a contract. All that stuff is coming up. But we will wait until the end of the season, whenever our season ends, before we get into our planning process," Spielman said Wednesday. "But that's a process that we go through every year."
Harvin has a fifth-year option on his contract that would increase his base salary to $1.55 million and cap number to $2.679 million in 2013, but he is expected to opt out of that and look for bigger money.
While Spielman wouldn't get into specifics on any potential contract negotiations – the Vikings have a recent history of extending players of value in December when cap space allows – he knows Harvin's value.
"Percy Harvin is a unique, unique football player and he brings so much value to this football team and Percy has developed into one of our core players and a leader for us on this football team," Spielman said.
Harvin is currently fifth on the NFL's receptions chart and is second with a 35.9-yard average on kickoff returns, including a 105-yard return for a touchdown.
The Vikings have likely discussed his future internally and could make a move to extend him in the next six weeks, but if that's the case, their general manager isn't letting on.
"I'm not going to discuss anything that's going on internally. We will keep all that in-house," Spielman said. "I don't want to say anything about where we're at with any of our players right now. Right now, the whole focus is for coming back out of the bye."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
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