Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Use Percy more? Use Percy less? Vikings face tough conundrum

Posted by: under Vikings, Bears, Leslie Frazier, Leslie Frazier, Percy Harvin Updated: September 17, 2012 - 3:28 PM

Through two games, Vikings receiver Percy Harvin has touched the ball 30 times. He has 18 catches for 188 yards, seven rushes for 33 yards and five kickoff returns for 166 yards. Harvin has been, without question, the Vikings’ most reliable and most dangerous player – elusive when he has to be and as fearless and powerful as a Pamplona bull when he wants to be.

“He’s a beast,” Colts linebacker Robert Mathis said after Sunday’s game. “I won’t say that about a lot of guys. But he’s a beast.”

So here comes that constant conundrum for the Vikings, who are left to plan for how they can continue to fulfill Harvin’s wishes to get as much action as possible while still taking care of him so they can keep him in the lineup for a full season.

“He’s one of those guys who wants to be out there,” coach Leslie Frazier said Monday. “He wants to return every kick. He wants to catch every ball, wants to get the handoffs. But we’re the ones that have to be smart about how we use him and know that we need him, not just for this game but many games. It’s a fine line. He’s so valuable to us. But we also know the way he plays. He’s going to have some collisions on a regular basis. So it’s a fine line to have that balance.”

Lost in space

Andrew Luck’s 20-yard completion to Reggie Wayne with 18 seconds remaining Sunday came against a zone blitz in which safety Harrison Smith couldn’t penetrate the Indianapolis front. The lack of pressure from Smith and the front four gave Luck added time to settle in his drop and deliver a pass that took the Colts from their own 40 to the Vikings’ 40 with Wayne easily hauling in the reception in front of rookie cornerback Josh Robinson. It appeared Robinson had perhaps provided far too much cushion on the play.

Explained Frazier: “I’d like for Josh to push it a little bit more. We think that would help him, but the pressure is what you're counting on. We didn't get enough pressure.

Now what?

You can never read too much into the transitive property in the NFL. But after two weeks, it is worth noting how the Vikings’ two opponents fared in their other games. After suffering a galling 26-23 overtime loss at Mall of America Field, Jacksonville returned home Sunday, gained all of 117 yards and lost 27-20 to Houston. The Colts, meanwhile, preceded their 23-20 win over the Vikings with a 41-21 loss in Chicago. The Bears, meanwhile, followed that by absorbing a 23-10 pounding Thursday night in Green Bay.

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