MINNEAPOLIS — NFL leading receiver Percy Harvin couldn’t make enough improvement with his sprained ankle this week and is out for the Minnesota Vikings’ home game today against the Detroit Lions.
Harvin — who leads the league with 62 catches and a 35.9-yard average on kickoff returns — sprained his ankle in three places during last week’s loss at Seattle.
Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier and Harvin both were holding out hope the dynamic playmaker would improve enough to play Sunday. Harvin missed practice all week, and Frazier said his availability could come down to a pregame workout Sunday.
“He’d have to make quite a bit of recovery tomorrow for us to say, ‘We’ll wait until Sunday to see what you can do,’” Frazier said Friday. “But it’s possible. We’ve seen it happen before. So, we’ll continue to treat him and see how he feels tomorrow.”
But Harvin, who said he was in a lot of pain on Monday and admitted playing would be a “long shot,” just couldn’t get ready in time. Running back Adrian Peterson, who leads the league with 957 rushing yards, is active and will start after missing practice one day this week because of an illness.
Missing Sunday allows Harvin two weeks to recover with the Vikings’ bye coming next week.
Frazier said earlier this week that resting Harvin with the bye up next wouldn’t be a consideration and that Harvin would play Sunday if he were ready.
“Well, if he can go, we’ll play him and rest him after the game,” Frazier said.
Harvin’s absence Sunday is a big blow for Minnesota (5-4), which has seen its passing game struggle while losing its last two games and three of its past four. Sunday begins a stretch of four consecutive games within the NFC North, a span that could determine the surprising Vikings’ fate in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL.