EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — There are no more questions. Minnesota Vikings receiver Percy Harvin will miss the rest of the season.
Harvin’s status has been dogging the Vikings since he suffered a badly sprained ankle Nov. 4 in a loss at Seattle. Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier and Harvin originally hoped he would be able to return two weeks after the injury, following the team’s bye. But the dynamic playmaker won’t make another appearance for the Vikings this season after he was placed on injured reserve Wednesday evening.
Harvin, a first-round pick in 2009, will see his fourth season end while still leading the team in catches (62) and receiving yards (677). He had three receiving touchdowns, one rushing touchdown and another score on a 105-yard kickoff return in helping Minnesota become one of the early-season surprises in the league. He also owns the league’s top kickoff return average at 35.9 yards per return.
Earlier in the day, Frazier said it was “hard to say” whether Harvin would be able to return this season. The team made the season-ending move a few hours later.
After suffering the sprain against Seattle, Harvin had his ankle re-taped and went back in the game. Since then, he returned only for one practice on a limited basis in the middle of last week.
Harvin has been unable to apply much pressure to the injured ankle and has had trouble pushing off and cutting.
A Tuesday report on 1500ESPN.com said Harvin had suffered a Grade 3 sprain, which means the ligament was completely torn. Frazier didn’t want to confirm that report Wednesday.
With four games remaining, the Vikings are clinging to desperate playoff hopes and will now have to face the schedule without Harvin.
The high-maintenance receiver caused a stir during the team’s summer minicamp when he said he had a “couple of issues” with the team and reportedly asked for a trade a day later. But he returned for the final day of the minicamp with both sides saying they were focused on moving forward.
Harvin, 24, has one more year remaining on his rookie contract that pays him $915,000 in base salary this season and $1.55 million next season. He was one of the team’s leaders on the field this season, and teammates said they were motivated by Harvin’s relentless play during a 4-1 start.
Harvin’s health has always been a hot topic, specifically because of migraines he dealt with often early in his career. However, Harvin had missed only a total of three games in his first three seasons.
Without Harvin in Week 10, Minnesota had 403 yards of total offense and a season-high 34 points in beating Detroit. Two weeks ago, the offense struggled at Chicago with just 258 total yards and 144 passing yards, while dealing with at least seven dropped passes. In last week’s loss to Green Bay, the Vikings had only 119 passing yards.
“Obviously we want him back on the field, but we have good players that are getting out there,” quarterback Christian Ponder said earlier Wednesday.
Tight end Kyle Rudolph is second on the team with 45 receptions for 412 yards, and Michael Jenkins is the top wideout on the team with 30 receptions for 324 yards. It’s easy to see in the statistics – and in Minnesota’s 1-2 record since losing Harvin – that he will be difficult to replace.