Harvin's late touches salvage a lackluster first half for offense

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER and MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: September 10, 2012 - 9:18 AM

Offensive highlights were hard to come by for the Vikings in the early parts of their season opener Sunday. Through four possessions against Jacksonville, the Vikings netted 58 yards, never crossed midfield and punted all four times.

But then, late in the first half, the Vikings offense received the resuscitation it needed from Percy Harvin.

Trailing 9-0 with 2 minutes, 28 seconds left in the half, Harvin ignited the Vikings' first scoring drive of the season by taking quick passes from Christian Ponder and turning them into gains of 16, 5 and 11 yards. Just like that, momentum started building with a 2-minute drill, producing a 59-yard touchdown drive that reassured the offense.

"Huge," Ponder said.

Harvin finished with six catches for 84 yards and added five carries for 20 yards. He was also back on six of seven Jacksonville kickoffs, returning three for 88 yards. Coach Leslie Frazier was thrilled with Harvin's production, particularly on those quick-hitters.

"They weren't always blocked perfectly," Frazier said. "And he found a way to find a seam as only he can with his burst that he has. What should be a 2- or 3-yard gain all of a sudden is a 10-plus-yard gain."

Frazier also flashed back to his stint coaching at the Senior Bowl last January when coaches from all around the league repeatedly approached to tell him how difficult Harvin is to defend. That was echoed a month later by coaches at the NFL combine.

"As I heard that, I made a note to myself," Frazier said. "I have to find a way to keep him on the field more."

Pressure points

After leading the NFL with 50 sacks in 2011, including 40 1/2 by the defensive line, the Vikings took down Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert only twice Sunday. Linebacker Erin Henderson and cornerback Chris Cook delivered the sacks. Jared Allen, who recorded sacks in 12 of 16 games last season, couldn't get past Jaguars left tackle Eugene Monroe on Sunday.

For what it's worth, the Vikings did hurry Gabbert seven times.

Allen, however, was furious with the defensive effort early. Jacksonville's first two scoring drives ate up 155 yards and 16:31 on the clock and had the Vikings defensive end animated on the sidelines.

"We have a lot of stuff to clean up," he said.

Something special

Rookie kicker Blair Walsh wasn't the only special teams hero, with his tying field goal from 55 yards at the end of regulation and a game-winner from 38. The Vikings also got a special teams lift from rookie left tackle Matt Kalil, who blocked a Josh Scobee extra-point attempt midway through the second quarter.

Walsh's heroics, though, on the 55-yard kick had Adrian Peterson feeling giddy.

"I've been bragging on this guy," Peterson said. "So when he made it I was looking up in the stadium to see my uncle. I've been like, 'I've seen this guy make a 70-yard field goal during training camp.' So I was trying to look up and find [my uncle]. I'll find him and say, 'I told you about that guy. He's good. He has a good leg.' "

Missed chances

The Jaguars left the Twin Cities kicking themselves for squandering several early opportunities to put an inescapable sleeper hold on the Vikings. Scobee's missed PAT hurt. Jacksonville also had to settle for a field goal on its first drive, after a 16-play, 77-yard march.

On first-and-goal from the 5 on that series, Gabbert overthrew rookie Justin Blackmon, who had gained 5 yards of separation from Antoine Winfield in the end zone.

Said Gabbert: "One of those bang-bang plays. I need to adjust to the play. It was sort of a blind throw. That was on me."

On Jacksonville's next defensive series, safety Chris Prosinski dropped a gift interception that Ponder threw right to him near midfield.

Paving the way

Peterson scored both Vikings touchdowns, on runs of 3 and 2 yards. On both plays, right guard Brandon Fusco, making his first NFL start, delivered crushing blocks that helped create an opening.

"I felt good about those," Fusco said.

In his second year out of Slippery Rock, Fusco admitted after the victory that he had never been a part of anything quite as wild and improbable during his career.

He also acknowledged the calm the offense had when taking the field for the final 20 seconds of regulation, down 23-20 with the ball at its own 31.

"You always have to believe," Fusco said. "We knew we had the guys to do it. We just said, 'Do your job and everything will fall into place.' "


• The Vikings failed to sell out Sunday, the first time a regular-season game had not sold out since Dec. 21, 1997.

• Jacksonville running back Maurice Jones-Drew had an impressive afternoon, less than a week after returning to practice after a lengthy holdout. Jones-Drew, who led the NFL in rushing a year ago, ran for 77 yards on 19 carries Sunday.

  • related content

  • Video: Postgame: AP scores twice

    Monday September 10, 2012

    Vikings running back Adrian Peterson returned to the field for a two-touchdown performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the...

  • Percy Harvin

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


New Orleans 28 FINAL
Carolina 10
Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia 11/2/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 11/2/14 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Denver 11/2/14 3:25 PM
New England
Oakland 11/2/14 3:25 PM
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 105 FINAL
Orlando 98
Detroit 91 FINAL
Minnesota 97
New York 95 FINAL
Cleveland 90
Utah 102 FINAL
Dallas 120
Oklahoma City 90 FINAL
LA Clippers 93
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
Buffalo 2
Winnipeg 1 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Pittsburgh 3
Chicago 5 FINAL(SO)
Ottawa 4
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Arizona 1 FINAL
Florida 2
San Jose 3 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 4
Anaheim 0 FINAL
St. Louis 2
NY Islanders 0 FINAL
Colorado 5
Montreal 2 FINAL(OT)
Vancouver 3
(2) Florida State 42 FINAL
Louisville 31
Troy 10 FINAL
Ga Southern 42
Cincinnati 7:00 PM
Tulsa 7:02 PM
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
(19) Oklahoma 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Northwestern 11/1/14 11:00 AM
(24) Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Maryland 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
(21) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Purdue 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(17) Nebraska
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(20) West Virginia
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Texas State 11/1/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(4) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(7) Ole Miss
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:15 PM
(1) Miss State
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(5) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Texas 11/1/14 6:30 PM
Texas Tech
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(6) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(14) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(18) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Bowling Green 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Toledo 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Kent State
Buffalo 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ohio U
Northern Ill 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ball State
(22) Clemson 11/6/14 6:30 PM
Wake Forest
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 2
Hamilton 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 11/7/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Montreal 11/8/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters



Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon




question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question