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Harvin injury changes Vikings' dynamic in dramatic fashion

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Posted Nov. 05, 2012 @ 5:21 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

Even if he’s out only a week or two, the loss of WR Percy Harvin (ankle) comes at the worst possible time for a struggling Vikings passing game. No matter if he wasn’t catching passes or taking handoffs, Harvin, who was injured in the Week Nine loss at Seattle, was a player the defense had to account for. Putting him in motion, for instance, could take a defender away from the box and open things up for RB Adrian Peterson.

Losing Harvin on offense — and on kickoffs, where he is gaining a whopping 35.9 yards per return — makes field position a huge concern for the Vikings. Peterson now has tougher sledding, the defense must pick up its game and QB Christian Ponder has to be far sharper than he has been.

After throwing for 63 yards in Week Nine on 22 attempts, it was the second time in three games that Ponder has thrown for fewer than 100 yards. Head coach Leslie Frazier won’t bench him yet, but you almost have to think they could revive the Joe Webb “Blazer” package in some form, if for no other reason than to put another dynamic player on the field with Harvin out.

Harvin’s versatility was one of his best assets, but not better than his game-breaking ability. Webb might be the one player on the roster who could add that kind of burst and mimic that kind of tackle-breaking speed.

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