What Percy Harvin's Injury Means to Minnesota Vikings, Fantasy Owners
According to Judd Zulgad of 1500ESPN.com:
Receiver Percy Harvin, using crutches to get around the Winter Park locker room Monday after suffering a sprained left ankle in Sunday's loss at Seattle, would not rule himself out for the Lions game but acknowledged it's a "long shot" he will play.
Harvin admitted to being in "a lot of pain" and said the sprain was in three places. An MRI showed that Harvin had not fractured the ankle.
With that said, Harvin's potential absence would surely be damaging to the Vikings offense. He is undoubtedly Minnesota's best receiving weapon, because of his versatility and athleticism against man and zone coverage.
In turn, his contributions allowed tight end Kyle Rudolph to see favorable coverage situations and prevented defenses from consistently stacking the box versus Adrian Peterson. Here, let's divvy up some preparation in the event of Harvin's absence being the worst-case scenario.
How the Vikings Can Adjust
The simplest form would be to feed Peterson more carries. After all, the star running back is the Vikings' most dominant offensive weapon and still among the best players in the game.
Considering Christian Ponder is still a young quarterback that has recently struggled with turnovers—get the rock into the playmaker's hands. Minnesota needs to remain a run-balanced offense especially because the NFC North has shown immense improvement defensively.
Elsewhere, Rudolph can definitely expect to see more targets off play-action and when facing single coverage. Still, Ponder must spread the field and do so by taking shots downfield. That will fend off a constant barrage of blitzes, assist the offensive line and keep opponents from zeroing in on Peterson.
Not too drastic of an adjustment, but enough to keep a defense honest.
Fantasy Impact on Other Minnesota Players
Harvin potentially being sidelined will open the door for other Vikings players, but will also slightly close the door for some.
Ponder's impact as a No. 2 fantasy quarterback won't possess as much value, even when needing to fill a bye-week spot. Considering most leagues are generally from eight to 12 teams, other non-weekly quarterbacks such as Alex Smith, Brandon Weeden and Russell Wilson become more appealing options.
We'll also see a slight decline in Rudolph's production, because defenses will gear coverage toward blanketing the dependable tight end. Yes, Ponder will likely offer him more targets but that doesn't guarantee inflated numbers.
So, overlooked players like Jerome Simpson and Michael Jenkins do gain some acknowledgement. And although neither have Harvin's ability or fantasy potential, Minnesota will need to throw the ball to maintain balance.
The Remaining Schedule is Quite Rugged
Then, Minnesota closes out with four road games in its final six contests. Of the six, home and away games against the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears still lie ahead, with the Houston Texans and St. Louis Rams sandwiched between.
So, it certainly looks like giving Harvin that extra time to rest would benefit from late November onward. And if the Vikings are to make a run at January, being fully healthy has to remain a top priority.
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