Wiederer: Harvin questions keep popping up, but few answers

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 4, 2013 - 1:27 PM

His teammates aren't bothered by his absence, but his future in Purple will spark a lively post-playoffs debate.


Vikings receiver Percy Harvin hasn’t been around the team since going on injured reserve Dec. 5. The Vikings are 5-2 since then.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

It'd be darn near impossible to sour the Vikings' spirits this week as they continue their captivating run with Saturday's playoff clash in Green Bay. But there are two words that add at least a dash of confusion to the excitement at Winter Park.

Percy Harvin.

You remember him, right? The receiver who spent this season's first eight weeks alchemizing Christian Ponder screen passes and turning Paul Allen hoarse.

Now? Harvin has vanished, an out-of-sight, out-of-mind pawn whom Vikings coaches and players have stopped thinking about. Until, of course, they're asked about him. And then the awkwardness surfaces.

No one seems to know what to say. They're not exactly sure what Harvin's been up to since he bolted town almost immediately after being placed on injured reserve on Dec. 5. And they are not certain what Harvin's future holds. But wasting time trying to solve that puzzle now seems misguided.

Around the locker room, teammates notice reminders of Harvin's mysterious absence, such as the unopened packages stacking up inside his locker stall. But many players shrug it off. They have never felt Harvin was a significant distraction or divisive force to this team. Just a complex personality whose moodiness is part of the deal.

So even as those within the organization privately express confusion at the receiver's disappearance and unwillingness to return text messages and even as those higher up the power structure convey that they wish Harvin was around, no one is consumed by the subplot.

In a public setting Wednesday, Leslie Frazier was asked about Harvin's whereabouts and never wandered from his talking points. The Vikings coach confirmed Harvin is in Florida (at least at last check); that he is still continuing rehabilitation on his sprained left ankle; and that he is in constant communication with athletic trainer Eric Sugarman. Oh, and that he is still a big Vikings supporter.

"I know he wants our team to do well," Frazier insisted, "and that's important."

Safety Jamarca Sanford, one of Harvin's closest friends, offered a similar report. In frequent communication with Harvin, mostly by text, Sanford said Harvin has recently expressed enjoyment of this Vikings' run and disappointment for not being able to contribute.

"He tells me he's really proud of us," Sanford said. "I know it was hard for him [to go on IR]. He wants to be helping this team win. But unluckily he got hurt. That's part of the game. So all he can do is sit back and watch."

Still, even if Harvin truly is rooting from afar, that's just dressing on a saga containing so many more questions right now than answers. Like why has Harvin chosen to separate from the team during such a delightful run?

Sure, it might be torture for a guy that competitive to watch practices and games without being able to participate. But players on IR are allowed to attend meetings and observe practices. They are allowed to travel with the team and be on the sidelines during games. So wouldn't Harvin want to be a part of this magic? And wouldn't he be a valuable resource for the other receivers?

"If he wanted to be around, he can be around," Frazier said.

Before long, perhaps as early as Monday, the organization will find one of its biggest 2013 issues thrust into the spotlight: Will Harvin remain a Viking next season and beyond?

At present, it's a question no one seems to be able to answer.

Harvin is signed through 2013, and the front office has conveyed its willingness to negotiate a long-term extension soon -- if, of course, they can marry their vision with the receiver's.

Adding to the complexity, however, isn't just Harvin's current absence but the fact that the Vikings are 5-2 since he last played. And suddenly rookie Jarius Wright is showing flashes of promise in a similar role.

Plus there's this: The Vikings ushered Harvin to IR with four regular-season games left, explaining they were convinced his ankle wouldn't heal enough to have him at full strength again this season. Yet the injury hasn't required surgery. And now the Vikings will play a playoff game 62 days after Harvin sprained the ankle.

Had he avoided IR and remained on the active roster, isn't it fair to wonder whether he could have recovered in time to play Saturday?

It all leads to the growing outside belief that there are unspoken complications to the whole ordeal. But what exactly?

Dan Wiederer • dan.wiederer@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Cleveland 86 FINAL
Indiana 93
Washington 81 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Golden State 113 FINAL
Toronto 89
New York 121 FINAL
Detroit 115
Orlando 88 FINAL
Atlanta 95
Charlotte 98 FINAL
Boston 106
LA Clippers 97 FINAL
Memphis 79
Brooklyn 98 FINAL
Houston 102
Miami 102 FINAL
New Orleans 104
Minnesota 89 FINAL
Chicago 96
Utah 104 FINAL
Denver 82
San Antonio 107 FINAL
Sacramento 96
Milwaukee 93 FINAL
LA Lakers 101
Oklahoma City 112 FINAL
Portland 115
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 2
Calgary 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Washington 0 FINAL
Carolina 3
Chicago 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Colorado 5 FINAL(SO)
Dallas 4
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Siena 63 FINAL
Quinnipiac 73
Harvard 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Penn 69 FINAL
Brown 75
Fairfield 65 FINAL
Canisius 72
Manhattan 75 FINAL
Iona 79
Saint Peters 67 FINAL
Marist 69
Princeton 60 FINAL
Yale 81
Ohio 58 FINAL
Akron 70
Dartmouth 84 FINAL
Columbia 71
Valparaiso 56 FINAL
Cleveland State 53
Louisiana Tech 75 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 88
Seton Hall 77 FINAL
Xavier 60
Cornell 54 FINAL
Harvard 60
Yale 49 FINAL
(14) Princeton 67
Elon 51 FINAL
Drexel 54
Northeastern 47 FINAL
James Madison 82
St Johns 60 FINAL
Butler 49
Creighton 71 FINAL
Georgetown 62
Brown 58 FINAL
Penn 75
Columbia 50 FINAL
Dartmouth 60
Canisius 54 FINAL
Siena 58
St Josephs Brooklyn 35 FINAL
Western Carolina 86 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 80
Colorado 66 FINAL
Arizona 51
Southern Ill 72 FINAL
Bradley 66
Drake 59 FINAL
Wichita State 80
Indiana State 71 FINAL
Evansville 53
Illinois State 53 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 67
Northern Iowa 70 FINAL
Missouri State 72
Utah 42 FINAL
(10) Arizona State 46
Providence 62 FINAL
Villanova 71


question of the day

Poll: With Adrian Peterson's suspension overturned, what should the Vikings do?

Weekly Question





Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters