EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings are taking no chances with injured star receiver Percy Harvin.
Harvin returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since spraining his ankle in three places on Nov. 4. Harvin was in uniform again for Thursday’s practice, but he was without a helmet and didn’t participate. He stayed with the receivers group but didn’t run.
Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier said it seemed Harvin responded well to the work he did on Wednesday, but the team backed off him a day later.
“The treatment and how he feels after we get done today will give a better indication of what we can get out of him tomorrow and if we have a chance for Sunday,” Frazier said. “Hopefully he can do more tomorrow. I’m hoping, but we’ll see.”
Tight end Kyle Rudolph returned to practice Thursday. Rudolph has been dealing with a shoulder strain he suffered on the same play in which he sustained a concussion in Sunday’s loss at Chicago. Rudolph was cleared of his concussion earlier in the week, but he missed Wednesday’s practice because of the shoulder injury.
Rudolph was listed as limited on the team’s injury report for Thursday, along with linebacker Jasper Brinkley (shoulder), tackle Phil Loadholt (knee), safety Harrison Smith (concussion) and cornerback Antoine Winfield (knee). Smith suffered a concussion in last week’s game, but he has passed the required testing.
Harvin was hopeful to return last week when the Vikings returned from their bye week, but he was unable to put much weight on the injured ankle. This week, he’s been seen running, but it hasn’t been enough to clear him fully. He was limited on Wednesday while the team practiced indoors and was out today with Minnesota practicing outside.
Frazier said Harvin likely will have to be able to practice on Friday to be activated for Sunday’s game at Green Bay after missing so much time.
“It would be hard to put him out there in a game without seeing him running around a little bit more than what he did on Wednesday,” Frazier said. “We’ll see what he can do tomorrow, if he can do anything.”
Harvin leads the Vikings with 62 catches and 677 receiving yards. He also leads the league with a 35.9-yard average on kickoff returns among players with more than seven returns. Without Harvin in Week 10, Minnesota put up a season-high 34 points and had 403 yards of offense. But the Vikings slipped in Sunday’s loss to the NFC North-leading Bears, totaling just 258 total yards, including 144 yards passing.
Frazier said he’s remaining cautious regarding Harvin’s status for Sunday.
“Kind of holding out,” Frazier said. “Don’t want to get too high or too low. It would be a big boost to us to have him, but we have to see how he does tomorrow.”
Frazier said Harvin is frustrated with the missed time.
“Without question, he’s a competitor,” Frazier said. “He wants to be out there to help his team. It’s very frustrating for him.”
Frazier said he doesn’t believe injuries will hold out anyone else from Sunday’s NFC North game against the Packers.