Vikings Progress Report: Now That Harvin Is on IR, Someone Else Must Step Up

Andrew Garda@andrew_gardaFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 4: Percy Harvin #12 of the Minnesota Vikings is tended to on the field during a game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on November 4, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks 30-20. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

I had an entire article written for this, which talked about Percy Harvin returning from injury.

You can guess why it's not here now.

With the news that Percy Harvin's season is done, the situation in Minnesota gets dire.

The next four games—Chicago, at St. Louis, at Houston and home against the Packers—is a brutal schedule for a team at 6-6 that already needs help to make the playoffs.

Losing your best—in many ways only good—wide receiver is a blow that will be hard to overcome.

There are two ways the offense can do so, though.

First, do what you should have done the last few weeks with Christian Ponder tanking and the rest of the receivers barely useful—run Adrian Peterson, if you'll pardon the expression, all day.

Second, drill it into Ponder's head that he needs to take care of the ball. If there is no wide-open receiver, throw it away. That he cannot thread the needle past three defenders every time—or even most times.

In the last five games the Vikings have won once. That, not so coincidentally, was the only game in that span Ponder didn't throw an interception.

However, it's not just on Ponder. The Vikings need someone—anyone at all—to step up and help pick up the slack with Harvin gone.

For a few games, it looked as if rookie Jarius Wright might be the guy. Wright has a skill set very similar to Harvin's, though less dynamic and polished.

However, as rookies taken in the fourth round tend to do, Wright has been inconsistent and failed to break free of coverage often enough to help Ponder out reliably.

He's the best bet, though, as the rest of the receivers have proven to be just as unreliable with much more experience.

Jerome Simpson has been arguably the worst free-agent signing around, and definitely in contention with tight end John Carlson for worst signing by the Vikings.

While I expected Simpson to backslide from his 2011 numbers, I certainly didn't expect this to be the dumpster fire it has become. He cannot gain separation, struggles in press coverage and just looks uninspiring. 

Devin Aromashodu and Michael Jenkins are very limited receivers, though Jenkins is useful vertically on occasion. Stephen Burton is more of a special teams player and has not fulfilled some promise he showed in camp and last season.

I've heard it said that the receivers are constantly open and Ponder just can't pull the trigger. I've heard they are never open and Ponder has nowhere to go.

The reality is in between, as sometimes Ponder misses open receivers the same way he misses seeing defenders while other times the receivers prove ineffective and unable to get open.

Someone here will have to turn it up a notch, though, if the Vikings have any hope of beating any of the teams in front of them.

It could be Wright, it could be Simpson. Maybe even Kyle Rudolph can become consistent again as he was in the first quarter of the season.

With Percy Harvin gone, it's time for the other players on the offense to show they can handle the load.


Check out the B/R NFC North Facebook page—like us and keep up with everything NFC North on Bleacher Report.

Follow me on Twitter at @andrew_garda.