Harvin suffered ligament damage in his left ankle on Nov. 4 against the Seattle Seahawks, was inactive for the next three games and was placed on season-ending injured reserve for the final four games of the regular season and the Vikings' playoff loss at Green Bay.
"Percy is a very good football player. I think the issue was we weren't seeing the progress (in his ankle) we needed to see, and when we made that decision to put Percy on IR, it was for his benefit down the road," Spielman said during a one-hour, in-studio session with KFAN radio. "He's still a young player. We felt we didn't want to put him out there to further any damage or risk to potentially have any long-term issues with his ankles.
"We did what was best for Percy Harvin at the time. I know Percy was very frustrated from the fact that his ankle wasn't coming around as quickly as he had hoped as well. I know our medical staff was working extremely hard."
Television cameras caught Harvin yelling at head coach Leslie Frazier during that Seattle game before his injury (Harvin was also dealing with a hamstring injury at the time), and 1500 ESPN reported there was another confrontation between Harvin and Frazier at Winter Park.
All the frustration has led to speculation that Harvin could be traded this offseason. Last year, Harvin requested a trade during minicamp after telling reporters he was not happy about some issues but declined to get into specifics.
"I'm not going to say what's going to happen this offseason because he is going into the last year of his contract," Spielman said. "But right now, where we're at, Percy Harvin is a member of this football team and he is a very good football player. We don't like to get rid of good football players."
Asked if he wants Harvin on the team in 2013, Spielman said, "We love Percy Harvin as a football player. Everybody sees what he does for our football team."
Harvin played in nine games before his ankle injury. Despite missing the final seven games of the regular season, he still led the team in receptions (62) and receiving yards (677). He was leading the league in receptions midway through the season.
He has been a highly competitive and emotional player, but he hasn't spoken with reporters since being placed on injured reserve and it's unclear if he wants to return to the team for the final year of his rookie contract, which will pay him $2.9 million in base salary – a figured that nearly doubled after he hit incentives in contract in 2012.
"Percy Harvin is a blue-chip player. He is a game changer," Spielman said. "He was on track to be a potential MVP and we were very fortunate to have two players and we had one that did win the MVP award. We are very fortunate to have two players of that caliber on our football team."
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.