A day after top receiver Percy Harvin was placed on injured reserve, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier asserted that the move was made "purely based on injury."
Speaking after Thursday's practice, Frazier said the decision to end Harvin's season proved difficult but was one the organization began seriously discussing earlier this week when it became apparent Harvin's recovery from a sprained left ankle wasn't progressing significantly enough.
"You realize that for him as well as our team this is the best thing to do," Frazier said, "as opposed to continuing to try to make something happen that's not going to happen."
Asked directly if there was anything more than the injury that factored into things -- the same question the head coach danced around Wednesday -- Frazier shook his head.
"No," he replied firmly. "No."
In total, it took 31 days for Harvin's season to transform from fantastic to frustrating to finished.
The dynamic receiver severely sprained his ankle during a Nov. 4 loss in Seattle. And while the early stages of his rehabilitation seemed encouraging, the damage to Harvin's ankle was serious enough that even four weeks later he was still nowhere close to cutting and pushing off the way he's accustomed to.
Frazier acknowledged Thursday that Harvin suffered some tearing in the ankle but that surgery hasn't been deemed necessary.
"I'm hoping, got my fingers crossed that won't be the case," Frazier said.
Harvin remains at Winter Park but was unavailable to the media Thursday. Instead, he released a statement.
"As a competitor, I definitely wanted to get back out on the field," Harvin said. "But my injury has just not allowed me to progress to the point where I can help our team. I appreciate the efforts of our medical staff and the support of our fans in helping me through this process and look forward to coming back stronger and better than ever."
Frazier praised the Vikings medical staff for doing everything it could to aid Harvin's recovery. The Vikings coach also reiterated that Harvin himself was determined and fully cooperative during the process. But significant strides forward just weren't being seen.
Said Frazier: "It still was at a point where we couldn't get the things that needed to be done done, to make enough progress for us to say, 'OK, he's moving in the right direction.' "
Frazier admitted there were difficult dynamics at play as the Vikings weighed the urge to have Harvin back on the field as soon as possible while also considering his long-term worth.
"It's hard," Frazier said. "But ultimately you have to do what's best for the player and the organization. This was not an easy decision by any means."