Percy Harvin (Brace Hemmelgarn/US Presswire)
Percy Harvin will be wearing extra padding around his ribs, but he is expected to play after returning to practice Friday. Antoine Winfield isn’t as likely. Get status updates on them, as well as Lorenzo Booker, Bernard Berrian, Tyrell Johnson and more.
Vikings receiver Percy Harvin returned to practice on Friday after having an X-ray on his ribs Thursday.
The examination showed no fracture to Harvin’s ribs, but head coach Leslie Frazier said Harvin would likely wear some sort of protection for the sore ribs. Trainers and the equipment staff put together an undershirt with padding sewn into it to help protect the ribs.
“I think he should be ready,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said after Friday’s practice. “He did limited work today and we’re optimistic that he should be ready on Sunday.”
Despite all the different ways the Vikings use Harvin on offense, Frazier continued with the team’s “next man up” mantra if Harvin can’t play or is limited Sunday night against the Chicago Bears.
“But,” Frazier admitted, “Percy Harvin, he’s a difference-maker. He’s one of those guys you have to game plan for if you’re an opposing defense. People we play against, they’ll have certain packages when No. 12 is on the field. He understands that, but we have other guys that can make plays for us.”
Harvin is expected to play, despite him being listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report, but his rib injury could mean receiver Greg Camarillo contributes some to the offense, as he did last week.
“He helped us out a week ago,” Frazier said of Camarillo. “He’s a versatile guy who can play inside or outside. He’d be a guy that would be stepping in and helping us in the rotation.”
Harvin had only one catch and one run on Sunday, but he had several big blocks during the game.
Cornerback Antoine Winfield was held out of Friday’s practice, but was out on the field doing conditioning drills in front of trainer Eric Sugarman.
Winfield suffered a neck injury two weeks ago while making a tackle against the Kansas City Chiefs and was held out of last Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals. He hasn’t practiced at all this week, either.
“Yeah, if it’s at the point where he can move his head from left to right and up and down and he doesn’t have any discomfort, when he feels comfortable then I can do what I have to [approve] him to play,” Frazier said.
In Winfield’s absence and with a disciplinary move to bench Cedric Griffin for the first series last week, Chris Cook and Asher Allen made the starts at cornerbacks and played well.
“That was extremely encouraging watching both of those guys compete the way they did. We feel like we should be in pretty good shape,” Frazier said. “With Antoine, you miss something from a tackling standpoint and leadership and all the intangibles he brings, but both Asher and Chris, they’re showing they are really coming along, which is great for our team.”
While Winfield was doubtful and Harvin questionable, the Vikings listed the rest of their injured players as probable, including LB E.J. Henderson (knee), LB Kenny Onatolu (hamstring), S Husain Abdullah (pelvis) and DE Jared Allen (eye).
The Bears listed defensive end Julius Peppers as doubtful after he reportedly sprained his medial collateral ligament in the Chicago’s Monday night game against the Detroit Lions.
In addition to Peppers being doubtful, the Bears listed offensive tackle Gabe Carimi (knee) and defensive tackle Matt Toeaina (knee) as out. WR Earl Bennett (chest) is questionable, and CB Charles Tillman (hip) and DE Corey Wooten (hand) are probable.
After registering no rushes or receptions in the Vikings’ first four games, Lorenzo Booker played a bigger part in the offense last week against Arizona. He had one run for 25 yards and two receptions for a combined 25 yards.
“Book is a weapon, he’s definitely a weapon,” offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said. “We were happy to get him some touches the other day. Looking back, we probably would have had more production if we would have done that earlier in the year. We’re hoping to build on that and he’ll help us in certain situations like he did on Sunday.”
Musgrave said Booker is an especially tough matchup for linebackers and he knows who to block when defenses blitz.
Rookie defensive lineman Christian Ballard was taped to the goal posts after Friday’s practice and his fellow defensive linemen sprinkled powder on him.
“As you can tell, the atmosphere is pretty good. The guys have found a way to relieve the tension of getting ready for an NFL game,” Frazier said with a smile as the players had fun with it in the background.
Despite Bernard Berrian having only two catches and being deactivated for disciplinary reasons last week, Frazier said he still views the receiver as a starter. “We still have him working in the rotation. We’re moving forward and we’re counting on him to make some plays for us on Sunday,” Frazier said. “… Still view him as a starter. Hoping he’ll have a big game for us on Sunday night.”
Tyrell Johnson isn’t a starter anymore, but Frazier said Johnson will continue to work into the safety rotation, despite being in the wrong position or taking bad angles for a tackle several times over the last two games.
“You do have to weigh the risk-reward. You hope you get to the point where you’re thinking more reward, more reward, as opposed to risk," Frazier said. "When you get to the point where you’re thinking more risk, then it really cuts down on reps to the point where the reps can disappear. So we’d like to see consistency if you get X amount of reps, and that’s what we’re striving for with Tyrell. Then we have to make a determination along the way: Do you increase those reps or do you decrease those reps?”
Chicago native Donovan McNabb has had good success against his hometown team, posting a 6-2 record against the Bears with a 5-1 mark at Chicago. On the other side of the equation, Bears QB Jay Cutler has won four of five starts against Minnesota and has 10 touchdown passes in his past three meetings. When Cutler has a passer rating in excess of 100, his teams are 23-0.
Adrian Peterson has rushed for 784 yards (112 yards per game) and 11 touchdowns in seven games against Chicago. In NFC North games, Peterson averages 103.5 yards per game and has 24 touchdowns.
Defensive end Jared Allen has 8.5 sacks for the season and 8.5 sacks in six career games against the Bears.
In his past six games at Soldier Field, Bears RB Matt Forte has averaged 155.2 scrimmage yards per game. Forte’s 785 scrimmage yards leads the NFL
Devin Hester has four receiving touchdowns and three punt-return touchdowns against the Vikings. He has had a touchdown in each of his last two meetings with the Vikings.
Interesting that the Bears are reportedly ready to bench safety Chris Harris against the Vikings when he has had an interception in his last three games against the Vikings.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.