The Vikings are expected to play their starters one series into the third quarter on Saturday night in their third preseason game against Seattle, but it doesn't look as if wide receiver Percy Harvin will make his exhibition debut.
Coach Brad Childress said he is hoping Harvin can play, but Harvin has not practiced since he collapsed last Thursday on the field at Winter Park and still needs to have another test before he's completely cleared. Childress said Harvin could be cleared to play Saturday in the Vikings' preseason home opener but his conditioning is going to be an issue.
"That's my hope," Childress said when asked if he hopes to see Harvin on Saturday, "but it's hard for me to handicap it. I'm not a doctor. I know you guys are getting tired of [me saying that] but there's another test that has to be adminstered."
Harvin has gone through parts of six practices since training camp opened with his last being on Aug. 18. Harvin was not at at Mall of America Field at the Metrodome on Thursday at the outset of practice as the Vikings held their first workout in the building to test out the new Sportexe turf that has been installed. Harvin did eventually arrive but he was in street clothes.
Harvin was on the field in uniform Wednesday at Winter Park but Childress said Harvin did not do go through drills.
"He stood there with his pads and his helmet on just to kind of [wear] his pads and he caught a couple of footballs," Childress said. "You saw him down with the quarterbacks [in individual drills]. That's really the extent of what he did aside from stretching. He's got another test he's got to accomplish here before he's cleared to play."
Childress said the final test Harvin will go through is "not specific" to migraines but is rather "kind of all encompassing."
A new look at the Metrodome
Childress said he brought his team downtown so players could get a feel for the new playing surface that has been installed by Georgia-based Shaw Sportexe. The surface, which also is used by the Baltimore Ravens, replaces the FieldTurf that had been in the Metrodome.
Childress said he sent kickers Ryan Longwell and Rhys Lloyd and punter Chris Kluwe to the Dome earlier this week to test it out and that they found it already was firmer by Friday. "It could be a little firmer but I’m just glad we don’t have the baseball things popping up anymore," defensive end Jared Allen said, referring to the issues that the baseball sliding pits presented.
"The masses liked it," Childress said. "That's kind of why I wanted to talk to them beforehand. Just if anybody had [concerns about it being] too soft, too hard, too fast. Those kind of things. We were able to work through our normal Friday type of practice with the red zone and then kind of redo our short-yardage, goal line that type of thing. So it was good coming over here before we get back here on Saturday night. ...They did a nice job installing it and it will be interesting to play on. I'm sure we'll learn more as we get going full speed."
A new addition
Childress made his first public comments about Wednesday's trade that sent cornerback Benny Sapp to Miami for wide receiver Greg Camarillo. (Camarillo will wear No. 85 with the Vikings.)
"Love Benny, it's hard to see him go," Childress said. "They had a need and a want and we had a need and a want. We were able to match those two things up. I don't know if that speaks anything about how we feel about the other [cornerbacks] yet, but obviously good enough to part with Benny. But at the same time we had a need that we felt like we needed to fill."
Asked what he liked about Camarillo, Childress said: "You've heard me say it a thousand times. A receiver by definition should receive. He's got A-plus hands and so if you put a ball around him he's got great characteristics that he can pluck the ball out of the air and catch it in his hands. ... He's played outside, he's played in the slot. We'll have to start him slowly. You can't put everything on his plate right away, but we'd like for all our guys to be able to interchange."
Camarillo went through his first practice with the Vikings on Thursday. "It was a crazy day," Camarillo said when asked about what happened after he learned he had been traded on Wednesday. "I found out at 10 a.m. that it was time to leave my home and move to Minnesota. I’ve only been here for maybe 24 hours. But it’s home now. I’m excited. It’s a new opportunity with a great team."
- It's expected that rookie Chris Cook will get the start at right corner on Saturday night and there appears a real chance he could win the starting job with Cedric Griffin sidelined by a knee injury. "He's made a lot of progress," Childress said of Cook. "Whether we in fact decide to do that we'll just have to see but he's done some good things."
- Childress said his offense was "in flux." Asked if that was a concern at this point in the preseason, Childress said: "It's not going to be a concern, it's just a matter of fact. When you're adding pieces and deleting pieces. That's just the way it is. That's where we're at right now."
- Childress said he is not sure if rookie quarterback Joe Webb will play Saturday. Brett Favre will start and get the first half and that first series of the third quarter. Tarvaris Jackson figures to follow and then, Childress said, "We'll see with Sage and see if we can get Joe in the game."