Vikings’ Harvin improving but misses practice

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — League-leading receiver Percy Harvin missed Wednesday’s practice with a badly sprained ankle, and the Minnesota Vikings are still not sure whether he will be ready to play Sunday when they host Detroit.

Harvin, who has an NFL-high 62 receptions for 677 yards and three touchdowns, was injured during the third quarter of last week’s 30-20 loss at Seattle. A defender rolled on the back of his left ankle while he was tackled. Harvin said Monday the joint was sprained in three places and admitted it is a “long shot” that he’ll be able to play this week.

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Harvin and starting defensive tackle Letroy Guion (turf toe) would be held out of Wednesday’s practice. Frazier said Harvin is showing improvement and that he is hoping to have Harvin on the practice field by Friday.

An MRI on Monday confirmed Harvin didn’t have any fractures or additional damage but did show the three separate sprains. He said he felt he originally had a more serious injury, that he was “done” when hurt in the third quarter of Sunday’s game. Harvin later returned after having the ankle retaped, but the joint became more painful and was swelling after the game and on the flight home.

On Monday, Harvin was in the locker room on crutches, and there’s a chance the team could rest him this week with a bye coming up.

“I’m in a lot of pain,” Harvin said Monday. “There’s a lot of swelling right now. My whole ankle, all the way around, is swollen. So we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

In addition to his league-leading 62 catches, Harvin is sixth in receiving yardage and owns the league’s top kickoff return average (35.9). Punt returner Marcus Sherels would likely fill in as the team’s kickoff returner, and rookie fourth-round draft pick Jarius Wright could get his first game time of the regular season if Harvin isn’t ready to go.

Speedy but short in stature like Harvin, Wright has been on the 53-man roster all season but has been inactive on game days. Frazier said Wright could factor into the game plan if Harvin isn’t ready and said Wright needs to prepare as such.

“They are very similar in a lot of ways, and the way we would use him is similar to the way we use Percy if he ends up playing on Sunday,” Frazier said.

Wright has been waiting for his chance but knows filling Harvin’s shoes is a tough request.

“It’s not too many people that can get in there and fill Percy’s role,” Wright said, later adding: “Me personally, I feel like it is an opportunity to crack the door. I’ve been patiently waiting, and if they feel like I’m ready, I feel like I’m ready also.”

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