By Joseph Gunther
The Minnesota Vikings have missed Percy Harvin. The injury he suffered in the Week 9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field may have been worse than originally thought.
Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier would not talk about a report that the star receiver suffered a Grade 3 sprain Wednesday.
“Hard to say. Hard to say” is all the second-year coach said about Harvin’s status for the rest of the season. Later in the evening, the Vikings cleared all confusion and placed the 2009 first round draft pick on season-ending injured reserve.
Minnesota is just one game behind the Seahawks for the final playoff spot, but outside of Adrian Peterson, lack a player on offense that can scare opposing defenses.
Despite missing the last three games, Harvin has accounted for nearly 30 percent of the team’s passing offense and has more than twice as many catches as the next highest wide receiver.
Injuries mounting for Allen
Jared Allen has just 8.5 sacks this season, including 1.5 against the Packers on Sunday. However, he confirmed after Sunday’s game that he has been playing with a torn labrum in one of his shoulders.
“Honestly, my hats off to our training staff,” Allen said. “I’ve been banged up a lot this year from (my) groin to my shoulder. They’ve done a great job of getting me there. I’ve never had to miss a practice for it. I’ve never had to miss a game for it. They do a good job of keeping it healthy and I think my AC joint is probably the worst part about it.”
After the game, it was announced that the ninth-year veteran was going to have an MRI on his back. Tuesday, it showed no structural damage, but does add another body part to list of things that have put him on the injury list.
Allen not worried about retaliation
Allen drew a fine for a blindside block on Bears’ guard Lance Louis, but does not feel the Bears will go after him during this Sunday’s contest between the two teams at Mall of America Field.
“No, I mean they had a chance to retaliate during the game,” Allen said during a conference call with Chicago reporters. “Like I said, there’s nothing to retaliate. It wasn’t malicious, it wasn’t done out of ill will. We had an interception, a guy was running toward our guy to make a tackle and I threw a block.”
Even though Allen says it was not malicious, some believe it that way. Allen remains apologetic, but knows it is part of the game.
“Look at the block, I didn’t hit him in the head, I hit him with my shoulder,” he said. “I have no way of foreseeing that his knee is going to go out, but I understand why people would get upset. I apologized for the fact that I ended his season. You never want any of that to happen. I’ve been in situations in Detroit where a guy (Gosder Cherilus) comes and knifes my knee. That was intent to knife my knee. Luckily, I was able to play through it and the league didn’t find any malicious intent in that. Again, I play the game pure,” said Allen. “My integrity in this game to me I don’t worry about. The guys around the league who know me know that I play hard, I play to the whistle and I’m not a malicious guy. I’ve never tried to intentionally hurt a guy on the field.”
The Bears injury list includes three players on the injured reserve, one on the physically unable to perform list, one on the non-football injury list and one active player already ruled out for Sunday’s contest.
Ponder on the hot seat
Frazier has been behind quarterback Christian Ponder all season. However, he left the door open for Joe Webb to take the second-year quarterback’s place on the field.
“If things get to a point where your No. 1 (quarterback) is really costing you some situations that could preclude winning you do have to do what’s best for the football,” he said Monday. “That’s always the case, it’s always about what’s best for the team.
“Up to this point, I felt it’s been best for our team that Christian remains our No. 1 quarterback. I still feel that way. But every position you need those guys to continue to progress and continue to improve. He knows that as well as every position on our team.”
Frazier continued to insist that he never considered pulling Ponder Sunday, even though he had completed just five passes through the first three-plus quarters of the game (all of which came during a second quarter scoring drive).
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Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. His work can be found on Examiner.com.