When the Vikings got walloped by the Chicago Bears on Sunday, I found myself really missing two players: Percy Harvin and Chris Cook.
Harvin has been the difference maker in a number of games for the Vikings this season and was in the MVP discussion prior to the ankle injury that knocked him out three weeks ago. The sure-handed juggernaut was greatly missed in a game that featured far too many drops and not enough explosions from the Vikings receivers.
Harvin’s direct replacement, Jarius Wright, had a decent day while hauling in a team high seven passes for 49 yards. However, the nice birthday performance for the rookie was overshadowed by an inexcusable drop in the back of the end zone.
In week four Calvin Johnson was held to five catches and 54 yards, thanks in large part to efforts of Chris Cook. The following week Kenny Britt had two catches for 23 yards. No Washington receiver topped 50 yards in the next game. Larry Fitzgerald was then held to 29 yards. Vincent Jackson had only two catches for 40 yards on Thursday Night Football.
Cook got hurt in that game. Since then the Vikings have faced Sidney Rice, Calvin Johnson, and Brandon Marshall. They have combined for 28 receptions, 353 yards, and two touchdowns.
The Vikings secondary wasn’t perfect when Cook was on the field, and it isn’t absolutely disastrous without him, but it is tough to argue that they are a better unit with Cook on the field willing and able to go toe-to-toe with the NFL’s best receivers.
The injuries to Cook and Harvin have exposed what we all know the Minnesota Vikings are: A young team with consistency and depth issues that will take some time to correct.
Until then, the phrase “Next Man Up!” is a scary one for Vikings fans.