One of the worst things any NFL team can have is media speculation as to the truth of a situation. When it comes to the Vikings and the Percy Harvin ankle injury, there has been nothing but speculation because there has been precious little consistent information made available as to the extent of Harvin's health status. When in doubt, speculation arises and, in the case of Harvin, that's nothing new.
There has always been something of a secretive nature surrounding issues related to Harvin. When he came to the NFL, he had bouts with migraines that were, at a minimum, concealed by the team. Details were sketchy at best about Harvin's health or availability for games. When he made his infamous "I'm not happy" speech this spring, it was met with further information that Harvin asked to be traded – a charge Harvin later denied.
With Harvin's current ankle injury, the speculation has been allowed to run wild because the Vikings have done little to explain the injury or nip the speculation in the bud. Initially, the Vikings made it sound like Harvin would be back following the bye week after suffering the ankle injury at Seattle. When that didn't happen, head coach Leslie Frazier said that Harvin was recovering slower than expected. As each week progressed, it was clear that Harvin wasn't 100 percent and, when he was placed on injured reserve last week, the story became that he had ligament damage.
The problem with that was the initial story that came out saying that Harvin had a severe ankle sprain, but that there wasn't ligament damage. The conflicting information lent itself to media speculation as to why the Vikings made the decision to place Harvin on injured reserve.
The point is legitimate. If the Vikings are to make a postseason run, the team placing Harvin on injured reserve doesn't make sense. He had already missed four weeks of action and, by placing him on injured reserve, the Vikings made it clear that not only did they expect that Harvin wouldn't be ready in the next four weeks, but he wouldn't be available potentially for the additional four weeks of the playoffs. The move didn't make sense in light of the initial statements that there wasn't any ligament damage.
The rampant stories have flowed like water ever since: the Vikings didn't let on about the severity of the injury; there is something more to the story that Harvin and the team are at odds; the Vikings don't want to risk further injury to Harvin because they may be setting up a trade scenario prior to the 2013 draft. While there isn't any concrete information to support any of these claims, they get tossed out as speculation, and without Harvin or the team discussing details that is bound to happen.
We may never know the real reasons behind the Vikings placing Harvin on injured reserve with four weeks remaining in the regular season with what was said for a month to be an ankle sprain. High ankle sprains are painful and take time to heal – like four weeks. Harvin has already missed five weeks. By placing him on I.R., the team conceded that Harvin will miss a minimum of eight weeks with the injury and, if they make the playoffs, even longer.
No NFL team likes to have the media speculating about its motives or behind-the-scenes activity. They prefer to keep that curtain closed. But in the odd case of Percy Harvin, the Vikings have opened the door to speculation. Is there more to the Harvin story than we're being told? Possibly, but because the Vikings and Harvin have said nothing about it, all we are left with is trying to connect the dots based solely on what was explained about the injury … and to speculate.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for 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.