Percy Harvin (Andy Lyons/Getty)
The Vikings placed Percy Harvin on injured reserve Wednesday, ending his season, after vague comments about his situation earlier in the day. Plus, Jared Allen is expected to play, other injury updates, and the annual Toys for Tots campaign is Sunday.
Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin has played his last down this season. Late Wednesday afternoon, the team announced it has placed him on injured reserve.
The move came after head coach Leslie Frazier had guarded and cryptic comments about Harvin’s situation earlier in the day.
“We can’t go into a whole lot of detail about his injury,” Frazier said about five hours before the move was announced. “I know there are a lot of reports out there about the extent of it. He’s done pretty much the things that the trainers have asked him to do, but he won’t be practicing today.”
Harvin hasn’t played since suffering an ankle injury Nov. 4 against the Seattle Seahawks, missing the last three games as well as having the bye week off.
Prior to the move being announced, Frazier said it would be “hard to say” if Harvin’s season was over. He didn’t practice with the Vikings Wednesday and wasn’t seen in the locker room for the 45 minutes of media access, but Frazier, general manager Rick Spielman and head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman were huddled on the field after practice.
Since the injury, Harvin practiced only on a limited basis one time last week when he had straight-away speed but had a pronounced limp coming out of his routes and when changing speeds.
He has been listed as doubtful on the injury report each of the last two weeks and then updated to “out” on Saturdays when the team made the determination that he wouldn’t travel to Chicago and Green Bay.
Frazier said recently that he had no indications that Harvin had ligament damage in his ankle, but reports to the contrary surfaced Tuesday.
Asked if there were other issues at play besides Harvin’s ankle injury, Frazier was again vague.
“I know that he wants to win like we do and I’m sure he’s going to do everything he can to do what he has to do to help our football team,” he said before practice. “We’ll see where it goes.”
Despite missing the last three games, Harvin is still easily the Vikings’ top receiver with 62 catches for 677 yards and three touchdowns. He is also their top kickoff returner, averaging 35.9 yards on 16 returns, including one touchdown. Before his injury, teammates were promoting him as a possible league MVP candidate.
“Percy is the best player in the NFL right now. I’d like to see anybody challenge that with the way he’s carrying the football and the way he’s really driving our team along,” linebacker Chad Greenway said after three games this season, when Harvin led the league in receiving. “You’re asking him to do a lot of things and he’s doing them all really well. He has not complained. He hasn’t said a peep. He just goes to work. He practices hard every day. He’s phenomenal.”
ALLEN EXPECTED FOR SUNDAY
Defensive end Jared Allen was held out of practice on Wednesday after suffering back spasms Sunday, but an MRI came back negative and the Vikings expect him to play against the Chicago Bears this Sunday.
“His injury is not to the extent that it would keep him out of the ballgame,” Frazier said. “We’ve just got be smart how we utilize him in practices this week, but he should be fine for Sunday.”
Allen was credited with a full sack on a takedown of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodger that he initially shared with Kevin Williams, giving Allen two sacks in Green Bay and nine sacks for the season.
Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder confirmed his engagement to ESPN college football reporter Samantha Steele. News of the engagement got out on Tuesday and Ponder confirmed it during his press conference Wednesday, although he didn’t want to get into details.
“The rumors are true, but we’re focused on the Bears and this week. Obviously, we’re excited about that,” Ponder said.
“… It was a fun experience this week, but we’ve moved on.”
TEAMING UP FOR TOYS
The Vikings will be teaming up with the U.S. Marines to collect unwrapped gifts and cash donations from 10 a.m. to noon before Sunday’s game outside the Metrodome gates in the “Toys for Tots” campaign.
Vikings fans not able to attend the game can drop off gifts next Tuesday in the South East Court at Mall of America as KFAN will broadcast live from there all day with special Vikings guests.
Harvin (ankle) and Allen (shoulder/back) were the only Vikings that didn’t practice Wednesday.
TE Kyle Rudolph (shoulder), LB Jasper Brinkley (shoulder), RT Phil Loadholt (knee), C John Sullivan (ribs/knee) and CB Antoine Winfield (knee) were limited.
The Bears officially listed LB Brian Urlacher (hamstring) as out. WR Earl Bennett (concussion), RB Michael Bush (ribs), CB Tim Jennings (shoulder), WR Brandon Marshall (coach’s decision) and DT Stephen Paea (foot) did not practice Wednesday.
OL Gabe Carimi (hamstring), WR Devin Hester (concussion), WR Alshon Jeffery (knee) and G Chris Spencer (knee) were limited.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.