Vikings are best when Harvin is raising havoc

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 18, 2012 - 10:04 AM

He's been tough, he's been productive and he's the spark that ignites the offense.

If you're keeping a running log of Percy Praise this season, it's time to add Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald and Ken Whisenhunt to the register.

With the Cardinals preparing to march into Mall of America Field on Sunday, both Fitzgerald and Whisenhunt are fully aware that Percy Harvin has been a major catalyst for the Vikings' fast start.

And neither were shy with their compliments Wednesday.

Fitzgerald, tuned in enough to appreciate receiving brilliance from afar, labeled Harvin "the most dynamic offensive player in the game" right now.

"It's hard to miss him," Fitzgerald said. "He's on ESPN every weekend with the highlight plays."

So often, in fact, that Fitzgerald compares Harvin's fearless playing style to Adrian Peterson's.

"He's not scared of contact," Fitzgerald said. "He doesn't shy away from it. ... Those kind of guys make me glad I don't have to play defense. There's no way I'd want to have to tackle guys with those kinds of moves and that kind of power."

Whisenhunt, meanwhile, is busy formulating a plan to contain Harvin, a task he knows has few obvious solutions.

"He's all over the place," Whisenhunt said. "It's tough. You have to be aware of where he is and try to understand how they're going to attack with him. ... He's versatile and explosive and tough."

The long and short of it

It'd be outlandish to suggest the Vikings are underutilizing Harvin, whose 49 catches are the most ever by a Viking through six games. Harvin has been targeted on 62 passes this season and has also added 15 runs for 63 yards, clearly a focal point in offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave's attack.

But there remains some question as to why Harvin is used almost exclusively on shorter passes.

Of his 49 catches, only four have been hauled in more than 15 yards downfield. And of Harvin's seven receptions this year for 20 yards or more, three were caught behind the line of scrimmage or within 4 yards.

Said quarterback Christian Ponder: "Obviously, the stuff underneath is working really well. [Percy] caught a go-ball a couple weeks ago [against Tennessee] and we had a deep ball against Washington caught down the middle. We're going to find ways to get him downfield and keep getting him stuff underneath.

"But we're going to keep giving him the ball no matter what."

This week, there's also the matter of those nine first-quarter red zone plays the Vikings had in Washington where Harvin didn't touch the ball.

On Wednesday, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier again attempted to explain Harvin's limited red zone role.

"We had some things where we would have liked to try to get him the ball when he was in there," Frazier said. "But they did a good job on defense."

True grit

Still, it's hard to look back on Harvin's first six games with anything but glowing praise.

Perhaps more impressive than his productivity has been his toughness. Against the Redskins, for example, it wasn't just that he had a career-best 11 catches for 133 yards. It's that after almost all of those grabs, he went into Tasmanian Devil-mode, zooming around and slamming into defenders at every opportunity.

That's a big reason Harvin's 415 yards after the catch leads the NFL by a wide margin. (New England's Wes Welker is second with 300.)

Yet even with all those demolition derby collisions, Harvin continues to bounce back up.

"I'm a little sore," he admitted Monday. "But no sorer than anybody else."

A year ago, Harvin was listed on the injury report before seven games, slowed by injuries to the point that Frazier and his staff felt compelled to rein in his role a tad.

But so far this season, Harvin has yet to miss a practice and surfaced on the injury report for the first time last week with a minor hamstring injury.

At this point, with Harvin providing the green light, the Vikings will continue turning him loose, still conscious of keeping their playmaker in one piece but no longer feeling restrained in how they use him

Said Frazier: "We're going to always try to do what's best for the team. And what's best for our team is to have Percy on the field. That's obvious. "His style of play is not going to change, so we're going to utilize his talents to the fullest."

  • related content

  • Week 7 three-and-out

    Wednesday October 17, 2012

    1. Larry Fitzgerald can't seem to find continuity with a quarterback.

  • Week 7 scouting report: Arizona Cardinals

    Wednesday October 17, 2012

    game 7VIKINGSVS. ARIZONANoon SundayMall of America FieldTV: Ch. 9 (100.3-FM, 1130-AM)Line: Vikings by 6ABOUT ARIZONARECORD: 4-2• The Cardinals lost at...

  • Vikings turn to espionage

    Wednesday October 17, 2012

    Backup cornerback A.J. Jefferson has been a popular fella among the coaching staff at Winter Park this week.

  • Chart: NFL's leading receivers

    Wednesday October 17, 2012

    2012 NFL RECEPTION LEADERS Longest receptionsPlayer Rec. Yds. Avg. 20+ yds. 40+ yds.Percy Harvin, Vikings 49 540 11.0 7 1Wes Welker, New England 48 622 13.0 6 2Victor Cruz, N.Y. Giants 43 496 11.5 5 1Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta 43 430 10.0 2 0A.J. Green, Cincinnati 43 628 14.6 7 3Reggie Wayne,...

  • VikesCentric: Percy's prolific pace

    Thursday October 18, 2012

    We take a look at Percy Harvin's pursuit of both the NFL's and Vikings' single-season reception record.

  • Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin on the opening drive at FedEx Field in Andover, Maryland.

  • VIKINGS WEEK 7

    Up next: Noon Sunday vs. Arizona

    Mall of America Field • TV: Ch. 9 (100.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Toronto 2 1st Qtr 7:05
Indiana 9
Cleveland 6:30 PM
Detroit
Milwaukee 6:30 PM
Miami
Memphis 7:30 PM
Dallas
Chicago 9:30 PM
Golden State
Washington 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
NY Rangers 0 1st Prd 12:27
NY Islanders 0
Arizona 2 1st Prd 14:10
Philadelphia 0
Winnipeg 0 1st Prd 12:01
Pittsburgh 1
Washington 0 1st Prd 13:09
Columbus 0
Tampa Bay 6:30 PM
Carolina
Dallas 6:30 PM
Montreal
Detroit 6:30 PM
Florida
Colorado 7:00 PM
Nashville
Buffalo 8:00 PM
Calgary
Minnesota 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Anaheim 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Ball State 7 1st Half 13:49
Akron 4
Northern Ill 7 1st Half 13:33
Bowling Green 11
Western Mich 12 1st Half 12:45
Buffalo 17
Ohio 4 1st Half 14:45
Eastern Mich 10
Xavier 9 1st Half 11:56
Georgetown 6
Vanderbilt 17 1st Half 10:38
Georgia 19
West Virginia 5 1st Half 14:02
Kansas State 7
Central Mich 10 1st Half 12:05
Kent State 8
Saint Josephs 9 1st Half 12:00
La Salle 10
Nebraska 6 1st Half 10:53
Michigan 11
Miami-Ohio 9 1st Half 13:58
Toledo 9
Tulsa 11 1st Half 11:52
Tulane 8
George Washington 13 1st Half 12:08
VA Commonwealth 12
Pittsburgh 13 1st Half 11:32
Virginia Tech 10
Indiana State 7:00 PM
Evansville
Tabor College 7:00 PM
Oral Roberts
Florida 8:00 PM
Alabama
Tennessee 8:00 PM
Arkansas
Texas A&M 8:00 PM
Auburn
Baylor 8:00 PM
Oklahoma State
DePaul 0 Postponed
Providence 0
Michigan State 0 Postponed
Rutgers 0
Wyoming 8:00 PM
Utah State
Fresno State 8:05 PM
San Diego St
UNLV 9:00 PM
Nevada
SD Christian 9:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
Colorado State 10:00 PM
Boise State
Temple 6:00 PM
UCF
Coastal Carolina 6:00 PM
High Point
UNC-Asheville 6:00 PM
Liberty
Columbia International 6:00 PM
Charleston Southern
Campbell 2 1st Half 15:06
Presbyterian 5
Gardner-Webb 7 1st Half 12:33
Radford 7
Winthrop 9 1st Half 12:38
Longwood 10
Tulane 7:00 PM
Houston
(3) Baylor 7:00 PM
TCU
Navy 7:00 PM
American Univ
Valparaiso 7:00 PM
Illinois-Chicago
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

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 NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who will win the Super Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close