For the third week in a row, the Minnesota Vikings will have to hit the field with their most explosive player unpadded and watching from the comfort of home.
Percy Harvin, currently nursing a sprained ankle, has been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers and didn’t travel with the team on Saturday. Harvin saw limited practice time on Wednesday but reportedly looked uncomfortable before sitting out of practice on Thursday and Friday.
The last time that Harvin saw the field was back on November 4, when the Vikings fell to the Seattle Seahawks. He sprained his ankle on a short pass and finished out the game. Harvin was spotted the next day sporting crutches and is still unable to handle exerting the ankle.
Heading into this tide-turning game with the Packers, the Vikings need all of the help they can get on the offensive side of the ball. Running back Adrian Peterson has been harassing defenses all season long, but the inept passing game has hindered Minnesota’s ability to consistently put points on the board. Christian Ponder is having a tough time getting anything going via the air without a reliable target like Harvin.
With Harvin indefinitely shelved, the Vikings will be forced to rely on rookie Jarius Wright to shoulder the load out of the slot. The 2012 fourth-round pick has hauled in 10 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown in his first two NFL games, so there is some promise moving forward.
The Vikings proved two weeks ago that they can win without Harvin. Heading into some crucial NFC North showdowns, though, having every weapon available would have been ideal. It looks like Jerome Simpson and Michael Jenkins will have to do for now.