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Mid-day talker: How much do the Vikings miss Percy Harvin?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Vikings Updated: October 17, 2013 - 1:18 PM

Remember Percy Harvin? Sure you do. Strangely enough, we don't hear people talking much about how much the Vikings miss him.

He had 407 receiving yards through five games last season, with at least 80 yards in all but one. In the lone game he didn't hit that mark, he ran a kickoff back 105 yards for a TD in a victory over Detroit. He was a first-half MVP candidate before he got hurt. He routinely took what Clarence Swamptown terms "throwpunts" from Christian Ponder and turned them into first downs with his skills and will.

In fact, Harvin had 528 yards receiving after the catch last season despite playing just nine games. From 2009-2012, he was second in the NFL in YAC to Wes Welker.

He was a game-changer. A mercurial guy, but a game-changer.

The Vikings, emboldened by winning four consecutive games down the stretch and weary of giving a big contract to someone with his attitude and injury history, traded him to Seattle in March for a first-round draft pick and a couple other lesser picks.

Most people conceded it had the potential to be a good deal for both sides. It looked good as people grew excited for the Vikings' three first-round draft picks. It looked better for the Vikings when Harvin was injured (he's still out, though he's set to return soon).

But let's not forget just how big of a role he played in launching the Vikings toward respectability and eventually the playoffs last year. He was more valuable than Adrian Peterson in the first half of the season. He was, at times, the offense. He allowed for an incredibly safe passing game that could still be somewhat productive because of what he could do after the catch. Through five games last season, Christian Ponder had six TD passes and just two INTs. The Vikings were 4-1. And Harvin was a major reason.

Let's also not forget that the Vikings won four games down the stretch without Harvin largely because Peterson became superhuman during that time, running for 651 yards in those games.

The Vikings receiving group this season is probably better, collectively, than it was a season ago. But they don't have a Harvin-type (or at least aren't using anyone consistently as a Harvin type). They are throwing downfield more (which is generally good), but the inaccuracy of Ponder and Matt Cassel has led to seven interceptions through these five games instead of the two last season.

And the record? It's 1-4 instead of 4-1. The main reason for this negative turnaround is the defense. Minnesota has allowed twice as many points (158) in five games as it did last year in five games (79).

But let's not forget how good Harvin was early last season. The Vikings undoubtedly miss him.

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Kansas City - LP: B. Chen 1 FINAL
Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber 5
Cincinnati - WP: T. Cingrani 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: B. Cumpton 1
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Quintana 4 FINAL
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 7
St. Louis - LP: L. Lynn 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: B. Colon 4
Minnesota - WP: R. Nolasco 9 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: E. Bedard 7
Arizona - WP: M. Bolsinger 5 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson 2
San Diego 3 Top 9th Inning
Washington 3
Baltimore 11 FINAL
Toronto 4
NY Yankees 12 Bottom 7th Inning
Boston 2
Oakland 7 Top 5th Inning
Houston 1
Philadelphia - K. Kendrick 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - D. Haren
Indiana 85 FINAL
Atlanta 98
Oklahoma City 63 4th Qtr 11:30
Memphis 73
LA Clippers 9:30 PM
Golden State
Boston 1 2nd Prd :06
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Minnesota 0
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2013 preseason     
Aug 9 - vs. Houston 7 pmX27-13
Aug 16 - at Buffalo 6 pmX20-16
Aug 25 - at San Francisco 7 pmX34-14
Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee 7 pmX24-23
2013 regular season     
Sep 8 - at Detroit NoonX34-24
Sep 15 - at Chicago NoonX31-30
Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland NoonX31-27
Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London) NoonX34-27
Oct 6 - Bye
Oct 13 - vs. Carolina NoonX35-10
Oct 21 - at. NY Giants 7:40 pmX23-7
Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay 7:30 pmX44-31
Nov 3 - at Dallas NoonX27-23
Nov 7 - vs. Washington 7:25 pmX34-27
Nov 17 - at Seattle 3:25 pmX41-20
Nov. 24 - at Green Bay Noon26-26
Dec 1 - vs. Chicago NoonX23-20
Dec 8 - at Baltimore NoonX29-26
Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia NoonX48-30
Dec 22 - at Cincinnati NoonX42-14
Dec 29 - vs. Detroit NoonX14-13

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