COMMENTARY | It is only natural to think about Percy Harvin in a San Francisco 49ers' uniform at the moment. The 49ers are coming off a Super Bowl XLVII loss to the Ravens with serious questions surrounding their receiving core, which was dumbed down to minimal targets in the playoffs for the second season in a row. Harvin, on the other hand, is reportedly demanding a trade from the Vikings and has plans for a new home next season.
Harvin's sideline spat and reported volatile arguments with head coach Leslie Frazier in November 2012 have made Harvin the most coveted player on the offseason trade block.
According to Mike Max of WCCO in Minneapolis, the Vikings will pursue trading Harvin in the offseason, which was followed by Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reporting that Harvin intends to hold out of the final year of his contract with the team.
Harvin had 62 receptions for 677 yards and three touchdowns in 2012 before tearing a ligament in his ankle on Nov. 4 against the Seattle Seahawks.
While Harvin would fit nicely on any NFL's teams roster, the 49ers arguably make the most sense for the talented and versatile wide receiver. Return man Ted Ginn, Jr. is a free agent and likely will not return to the team after a rather disappointing 2012-13 campaign that saw him become a liability in the return game and a non-entity in the passing game. Harvin would fill that void nearly perfectly.
More than anything, San Francisco has the pieces to trade for a player of Harvin's caliber. Alex Smith is expected to be traded or released before April 1, as will his $8.5 million per year contract, giving the 49ers money to spend on a possible extension for Harvin -- a point Harvin is sure to make clear in the acquisition of him.
Draft picks are also something the Vikings will surely want in return for the wide receiver, and the 49ers have plenty in the 2013 NFL draft -- 14 to be exact -- including the No. 31 overall pick and three third round picks. It is certainly something Minnesota will take a good look at as they continue to look to build a competitive team around NFL MVP Adrian Peterson.
Harvin is a risk to those teams that wish to acquire his services, though. His volatile personality is a bit of a worry, but his upcoming contract may be an even bigger point of interest. He is in the last year of his deal with the Vikings that will pay him $2.9 million in 2013, and a contract extension presumably in the ballpark of $10 million per year is expected.
According to the Sacramento Bee's Matt Barrows, the 49ers would have a hard time meeting Harvin's extention standards if the NFL runner-ups acquire him.
"The Vikings are struggling with what to pay Harvin, who is signed only through 2013 and who is due for a contract extension. Any team that acquires him -- he'll likely want a top-wide receiver contract -- will have to face the same issue. Meanwhile, Crabtree has two more years left on his rookie contract while Kaepernick is eligible to have his modest rookie deal renegotiated after next season."
The 49ers do have several big-deal contracts ahead of them, if they want to keep their young core group players satisfied. Their defense, with Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman locked up through 2016, is set, but Colin Kaepernick and Michael Crabtree's abilities will translate into elite-level contracts sooner than later.
It is a bit of risk and reward for the 49ers if they do acquire Harvin. One thing is for sure, though, adding Harving only furthers the chances of San Francisco making a repeat appearance on the biggest stage in sports.
Scott Semmler is a senior at San Jose State University fortunate enough to have covered nearly every Bay Area professional sports team, including the San Francisco Giants' 2012 World Series title. Follow him on Twitter @ScottSemmler22.