While most of the Vikings returned Monday from a much-needed week of rest and relaxation that scattered them around the country, Percy Harvin was like a ghost at Winter Park. A typical bee's nest of activity, for the most part, the Vikings team facility was pretty much dormant … except for Harvin.
He spent the bye week getting treatment on his injured ankle and, during the process, there weren't many items on the team equipment roster that didn't get a workout.
"I pretty much did everything," Harvin said. "We ran through pretty much every machine we've got here."
While Harvin has yet to practice – he was held out of practice Wednesday and Thursday – he still was expecting to be on the field against Chicago Sunday and hopes to use the coming days to see what he can and can't do as he continues to heal. The biggest problem in Harvin's mind was that the swelling that resulted from his severely sprained ankle simply wouldn't go away over the two weeks after getting hurt.
"It took the swelling a little longer to get out than we anticipated," Harvin said. "We finally got it out and I was able to start walking (Tuesday)."
In Harvin's absence, rookie Jarius Wright took advantage of his chance to hit the field after being inactive the first nine games of the season. He caught three passes for 65 yards and a touchdown, sparking the Vikings early and giving them a lead they would never surrender against the Lions.
Wright was viewed as a replacement for Harvin and was used in many of the same ways Harvin is deployed when healthy. Many believe that his performance earned him a spot on the field whether Harvin is healthy or not.
"It's all about opportunities," Wright said. "I believe I can help our team win and hopefully I will continue to get the chance."
Harvin admitted it was difficult to watch the Nov. 11 game from his home – he was instructed by the coaching and medical staffs to stay home and not put weight on his injured leg – but the competitor in Harvin had a hard time sticking to doctor's orders.
"It was tough," Harvin said. "On a couple of plays, I almost jumped through the roof cheering for those guys. It was great to see those guys perform. I called Wright after the game, just shouting on the phone that it was good to see him get out there and score."
The two big questions facing the Vikings Sunday is whether Harvin will be allowed to play, and if he is can he and Wright coexist on the same field. Both are viewed as slot receivers, but Wright believes they are both capable of playing multiple decisions depending on the formation for a given play.
"We both can do different things," Wright said. "We bring a lot of the same aspects to the game, but we both of have very different styles of play. I can play inside and Percy can play outside or I can play outside and Percy can play inside. We've very versatile when it comes to that."
Asked his thoughts on the potential of both he and Wright being on the field at the same time, Harvin pointed out that, because of his injury, they haven't spent much time during the weeks of preparation together. Wright was sidelined the first few weeks of the season with an ankle injury of his own and didn't get called into active duty until after Harvin went down.
"You'd have to ask the coaches about that, because we haven't practiced that much on the field together," Harvin said. "I'd love (to see it). As many playmakers as we can have the field, the better. If there's a way to get all of us on the field at the same time, I'm all for it."
While the Vikings play the waiting game to see if Harvin will be good to go, Wright continues to get first-team reps. Whether Wright plays a significant role in Sunday's game plan or not, he is gaining confidence and experience and is prepared to make a contribution Sunday and beyond, whether he's playing with Harvin or serving as his replacement.
"It does give me those extra reps and those extra looks and see defenses, get used to the game even more," Wright said. "The Detroit game was the first game I played in, but I've been practicing all year and showing the coaches what I can do. I don't think it has to be either/or with me and Percy."
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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