Percy Harvin has been spotted on crutches this week, following an ugly hit to his ankle last week, but limped slowly through the locker room on Thursday without support. Leslie Frazier says Harvin will play on Sunday if he can, but all signs point towards it being too big of a risk at this point in the season.
The only playmaker to account for more yards in this offense than Harvin is Adrian Peterson, and it has recently been argued that Harvin should be a candidate for the NFL’s MVP award.
If Harvin doesn’t play then the Vikings have to find a way to make up the 75 receiving yards, 10 rushing yards, and 64 return yards he has been gaining on average per game. That is not an easy task and a number of players will have to step up and fill his shoes if the Vikings are going to avoid further regression this Sunday afternoon.
Jarius Wright, WR
Wright has proven to be a bit of a mystery this season as he has been on the 53 man roster all year but has yet to be active on game day, after the Vikings selected him in the fourth round of April’s Draft. There have been a number of theories about why Wright has yet to be on the field, one of which is that he is simply regarded as a Harvin clone in the case of an injury. Wright is a similar player, albeit not likely to be as dominant, as Harvin is and it is logical to expect that he will not only be active in Harvin’s absence, but that we will actually see him get some action.
Toby Gerhart, RB
I already find it ridiculous how little the Vikings are using Gerhart, even when Harvin was healthy, and I would hope that he will be called on to pick it up this week.
Gerhart had a rough outing in week three, but has otherwise been his normal self. Strangely, however, his role seems to be gradually disappearing. In the last four games he has only carried the ball four times, while Harvin has carried it nine times over the same period.
It only seems logical that Gerhart will get some of the carries that would normally go Harvin’s way, and he should arguably get even more than that if the Vikings truly want to embrace their offensive strengths and run the ball with more frequency.
Marcus Sherels, CB
It seems likely that, even if Harvin is active, Marcus Sherels will be the Vikings primary kick returner against the Lions. The Lions got torched by both Harvin and Sherels in the return game earlier this year, but Leslie Frazier seems to think the Lions won’t be so easily fooled on special teams this time around.
Sherels has only returned two kicks this year, averaging 23.5 yards, and doesn’t seem to have the same explosiveness as Harvin does. Still, he will need to be ready to take advantage if the Lions decide to revert to early-season form and provide a big chance for a game-changing return at the Metrodome.
Adam Warwas, Hack Blogger
Somebody has to blow up at the coaching staff, like Harvin did last week, if Bill Musgrave calls three horrible red zone plays in a row that are short of the goalline and result in a field goal.
I nominate me.