Vikings struggling with Harvin's headaches

Percy Harvin's headaches continue to perplex the Vikings as they struggle to control them and try to limit their impact. Brad Childress addressed the issue in-depth on Wednesday, saying Harvin has been undergoing further evaluations.

The Vikings didn't know how bad Percy Harvin's migraines were when they drafted him – they just saw a designation on his predraft scouting report for migraines – but they are finding out they don't have much control over them.

Even so, with the production Harvin has turned out in his rookie season – he has 48 catches for 681 yards and six touchdowns, 13 rushes for 113 yards, and 34 kickoff returns for 986 yards – Vikings coach Brad Childress said that in hindsight Harvin's migraines wouldn't have disqualified him from becoming the Vikings' first-round draft choice.

"Just so we're clear, it wouldn't have been a disqualifier or anything like that," Childress said Wednesday. "But I think anybody that reads the scouting report, I don't know that we look into it and say ‘Oh, boy, to what extent?' Not to the point where he's missed a bunch of games or anything like that. We'll be wiser next time. Again it's just something that we have to learn and deal with."

Now, after Harvin missed his first game as pro because of his migraines on Sunday, the Vikings are trying to figure out if there is anything they can do to limit the effect they have on their budding rookie receiver.

"It's debilitating. It's not like he can stand on the side and converse. He has to shut down," Childress said.

Childress said Harvin was at Wednesday morning's walkthrough, but he wasn't on the field for the afternoon practice. His availability isn't guaranteed for Sunday night's game against the Carolina Panthers.

Harvin saw a doctor last week and visited a specialist on Monday as the team tries to figure out if there is anything the medical experts can do to ease his pain.

"We're attempting to look into it and see if there's any common denominators if you will. We're actually in that process right now," Childress said Wednesday. "He's been having them for a good period of time. It's important for us to get some kind of a baseline if we can, doctor-wise, and yet still know that they're fairly unpredictable. We as coaches – you know, the controlling types – we would like to control those things, but that's something beyond my control, so I'm maturing too in the things I can control and can't control."

Harvin has been dealing with the headaches since childhood, but Childress indicated they have gotten more frequent in the last year.

While Harvin has missed practice time because of migraine this year, Sunday was the first game he missed. Quarterback Brett Favre said as play-caller he never wants to admit that the offense will miss a beat without a player, but he believes Harvin has affects the way defense's approach the Vikings offense.

"Percy obviously is a dynamic player and I think threatens the defense (like) only a few guys at the slot position can do. He's still light years away from being as good as I think he's going to be, but he's pretty darn good. It's just not the same," Favre said.

"… He's so fast and physical inside and that's why Arizona chose to double and triple him most of the time. It's just hard to cover him one-on-one and he makes teams pay for it. He still had a great game against Arizona. I think if he's not in there you're going to see maybe a little different approach defensively than maybe you normally would."

Favre said that before Wednesday morning's walkthrough he hadn't seen Harvin since the team returned from the Arizona game on Dec. 6.

"I don't know what he's going through," Favre said. "I've seen it with guys throughout my career. There have been guys that have had bouts with that. I know it's pretty awful because those guys have missed as well."

For now, all the Vikings can do is continue to see if there is anything the medical profession can do to try to limit the impact of the headaches.

"He will be seeing somebody that's expertise lies in that area. Once again, it's … an abstract thing right now," Chidlress said. "We know that he gets headaches. We don't know the whys and whatfors."

NOTES

  • Childress made his first comments on LB Erin Henderson, who was suspended four games for violating the league's policy on banned substances.

    "It's always disappointing to lose good football players," Childress said. "His state of mind wasn't great when he left here, but he knew it was on the table. I expect him to take good care of himself here in the next four weeks and we'll see what unfolds."

  • While Harvin didn't participate in practice, several other Vikings were limited. WR Bernard Berrian (hamstring), CB Cedric Griffin (neck), G Steve Hutchinson (shoulder), T Tyrell Johnson (concussion), T Phil Loadholt (shoulder), CB Karl Paymah (knee/ankle), TE Visanthe Shiancoe (ribs/foot), C John Sullivan (concussion) and CB Antoine Winfield (foot) were all limited for parts of Wednesday's practice. Harvin, Johnson and Paymah were inactive because of those injuries on Sunday.

  • For the Panthers, QB Jake Delhomme (finger), CB Richard Marshall (ankle), WR Muhsin Muhammed (knee) and RB Johnathan Stewart (toe) did not participate in Wednesday's practice. DE Tyler Brayton (concussion) and LB Na'il Diggs (ribs) participated fully.


    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.
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