Vikings coach Brad Childress has said more than once recently that rookie Percy Harvin could be utilized on punt returns in the second half of the season. But considering Harvin is also seeing plenty of time at wide receiver and returns kicks, would Childress really want to put another assignment on Harvin's already full plate?
Asked what would have to happen for Harvin to add punt returning duties, Childress said: "It would probably be if we didn't have another guy available, either by the fact that a guy got hurt, or the fact that we had to dress another guy at another position."
While this makes sense, Childress isn't about to completely tip his hand on how he would use Harvin. In other words, he wants to keep the element of surprise and he's likely planting the "Harvin might return punts" story to keep opponents on their toes.
Harvin had 28 receptions and 28 kickoff returns in the first half so it's not like he couldn't return punts. However, he did injure his shoulder in Week 5 at St. Louis and aggravated the injury a couple of times since. Returning punts would set up Harvin to take more hits.
The Vikings are going to have some options for punt returns today. Darius Reynaud, sidelined since Week 3 because of a hamstring injury, is ready to return and could be up today. Jaymar Johnson returned punts while Reynaud was out. Both are wide receivers. Reynaud averaged 17.3 yards on seven punt returns before he got hurt. Johnson has averaged 8.4 yards on 16 punts.