Percy Harvin Injury: WR's Absence Will Help Minnesota's Run Game

Andy LiuCorrespondent INovember 10, 2012

WIth Percy Harvin hobbled, the Vikings will have to lean on Adrian Peterson.
WIth Percy Harvin hobbled, the Vikings will have to lean on Adrian Peterson.Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Most likely without star receiver Percy Harvin in their Sunday matchup with the Detroit Lions, the Minnesota Vikings will focus on the run game.

Specifically they will be handing it off to all-world running back Adrian Peterson

The Minnesota Vikings come into this pivotal divisional game at 5-4, while the Detroit Lions are 4-4. Hanging on to the seventh seed in the NFC conference, this would be a big win for the Vikings because they already are 1-0 against the Lions. 

However, Percy Harvin's status is up in the air and if he is unable to play, this severely stunts the Vikings' passing game that already lacks punch. 

Here are three reasons why this puts the onus on Adrian Peterson, and why that's not a bad thing:


Force the Ball to Peterson

Last weekend against the Seattle Seahawks, Adrian Peterson had 17 carries for 182 yards and two touchdowns.

By halftime, Peterson already had 144 yards and was rolling along. However, due to the small deficit and strange play-calling, Peterson had five carries in all of the second half. 

With Percy Harvin out, there is no reason for the offense to throw the ball more than 20 times. With Christian Ponder playing the worst football of his career and without his safety valve, he is better off handing it to Peterson. 

Coming off an ACL injury that he suffered just 11 months ago, Peterson has come back and averaged 5.8 yards per rush. Not only has he been the best running back in the NFC, he's been the best in all of football. 

All running backs should try ACL injuries (I kid). 

He should get at least 30-plus touches this weekend. 


Detroit's Underwhelming Defense

You may ask, "Why does Percy Harvin, a receiver, being out help the running game? Won't they just key on the rusher all day?"

That would appear to be the case, but the Lions aren't world-beaters on the defensive end at all. 

Despite having high-name-value players like Ndamukong Suh, Cliff Avril and Nick Fairley, they have allowed the 14th-most rushing yards in the NFL (106.3 yards per game). 

That isn't bottom of the barrel, considering Peterson "only" had 102 yards against them in Week 3. 

However, Peterson has only gotten stronger as the season has worn on. 

He just ran for nearly 200 yards against a Seattle defense that ranks third in all of the NFL, according to FootballOutsiders

The Lions can always put eight or nine in the box, but with a passing defense that has given up the sixth-most passing yards, it'll be a big risk to take.  


Passing Offense Aimless Without Harvin

So far this season, Percy Harvin has gotten 85 targets in the passing game and 22 rushing attempts in the ground game. 

With a total of 107 looks in nine games, Harvin has averaged almost 12 touches a game. 

With him out, who is going to take over the looks he received? It doesn't look like it will be a struggling receiving corps that includes Jerome Simpson, Michael Jenkins or Devin Aromashodu. 

They can try to get talented tight end Kyle Rudolph more involved after he had six touchdowns in the first five games, but he has also struggled to separate from coverage between the 20s. 

He has had two targets in the past three games, although that may have to do more with Christian Ponder's struggles. 

This most likely leads to their best player, Adrian Peterson, handling most if not all those extra 12 touches. 

Be it through catches or rushes, Peterson will have his fair share of touches and he won't struggle to make them count. 

Harvin will be missed, but the Vikings have one more ace in the hole to help them overcome their struggles.