EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin has been listed as doubtful to play the rival Packers on Sunday because of a sprained left ankle, a frustrating absence for him and the team that would reach three games if he’s not in uniform at Lambeau Field.
Harvin did some catching drills on Friday but did not participate in practice again.
“Not the cutting that we’d like to be able to see,” coach Leslie Frazier said. He said he wasn’t sure yet whether Harvin would travel with the team to Green Bay. He hasn’t been at the stadium with the Vikings since Nov. 4 at Seattle, when he suffered the injury. Harvin has been told to stay home and rest the last two Sundays the Vikings have played.
The team expected Harvin to return after their Nov. 18 bye, but he hasn’t healed enough to be able to use his foot at full strength.
“The ability to push off and change direction seems to be giving him a little bit of trouble,” Frazier said, adding: “No real setbacks. Just hasn’t made the improvement that we had hoped.”
Harvin returned to the Seahawks game after initially getting hurt in the third quarter and sitting out for a bit, hobbling around as best he could until the end. Frazier said he doesn’t second guess the decision to send Harvin back in.
“He felt like he could go back in and participate, and he did. He finished the game. That was the thought process,” Frazier said.
Marcus Sherels has been taking Harvin’s place on kickoff returns, and rookie Jarius Wright has been filling his spot as the slot receiver. Harvin has elite skills that Wright might not ever show, but the fourth-round draft pick from Arkansas has two productive performances on the ledger since Harvin’s injury — the only two times he’s even been on the active roster for an NFL game. Wright had 65 yards and a touchdown on three catches on Nov. 11 against Detroit and seven receptions for 49 yards last Sunday at Chicago.
Jerome Simpson, the outside receiver the Vikings were counting on to come off a three-game suspension and help produce a capable deep passing attack, has just 12 catches for 138 yards over seven games.
“Jarius is a little bit slight in stature as well all know, but he’s tough and he’s proven his toughness in the last two games,” offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said.
Frazier said he’s seen Wright gain confidence this month.
“You can see it in practice. We’re relying on him a little bit more in some of the things we’re doing. We’re actually putting in some plays directly for him because of the confidence that he’s shown and the confidence we’ve developed in him,” Frazier said.
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