Harvin left camp last weekend after the death of his grandmother, but two things became puzzling in the meantime. First, Harvin has now missed 15 practices, and both last week and again on Tuesday Vikings coach Brad Childress said Harvin was in Minnesota, while the assumption was that most of his family was still in his native Florida.
But on Tuesday, Childress said Harvin is still dealing with "some" migraine headaches, an ailment that has plagued the receiver since his days at the University of Florida, although the episodes appear to have increased in frequency and intensity since he was drafted by the Vikings No. 22 overall by the Vikings last year.
"It's ongoing. From the people at Mayo that are extremely qualified (and) there's a Mayo down in Jacksonville (Fla.)," Childress said. "He's seen a neurologist. It's just something that continues on. The only thing that would be wrong is if we quit trying to find things and throw our hands up in the air. That's kind of an inexact science."
Harvin missed the Vikings' mandatory minicamp last year when he became ill in between flights from Florida to Minnesota at the Atlanta airport. He also was excused from the NFL's rookie symposium after the onset of a migraine.
Last year, he missed a number of practices because of the migraines, but it wasn't until Dec. 13 against Cincinnati that the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and Pro Bowl kick returner missed a game because of the affliction.
He finished his rookie season playing in all but one game, including the playoffs, and started seven games during the regular season. He finished the year with 60 catches for 790 yards and six touchdowns receiving and made the Pro Bowl as a kick returner who averaged 27.5 yards on 42 returns and added two more touchdowns.
Childress said in March that he had talked to Florida coach Urban Meyer about Harvin's migraines, but they weren't as frequent in college. While the team didn't believe a trip to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., would cure Harvin of migraines, there was hope that it might reduce their frequency.
"They gave him a pretty good protocol to try to follow. I think the idea was, where he had had a migraine every week for the last four or five weeks, that we hoped and the doctor hoped and he hoped that he would be able to have one every couple of months, every three months as opposed to having them rapid fire," Childress said in March.
Harvin experienced a migraine during the week leading up to the NFC Championship Game, but he was still able to play and produced six rushes for 39 yards and seven catches for 38 yards.
"I think that he had a great relationship with Brett (Favre) and he was all ears," Childress said. "He was a smart guy. Urban did a great job of preparing him for all the different spots that he was able to play – in the slot, outside, as a direct-snap guy, as a running back."
Harvin finished his rookie season with a franchise-record 2,081 combined net yards (rushing, receiving and return), the second-longest kickoff return (101 yards) in team history and the second-most receptions by a rookie, trailing only Randy Moss' 69 catches in 1998.
"God-willing, he's going to work through this," Childress said Tuesday.
TUESDAY MORNING PRACTICE NOTES
It's obvious the team had a need for a receiver in the last few practices as the primary backups were getting many more reps than usual. Childress admitted as much when asked what he liked about Brown.
"That he's fresh. With eight receivers in here, we're running the legs off some of these guys, so we needed somebody that we could get in here," Childress said. "We worked him out this morning and we had tracked him before – he was on our short list. We had two guys in this morning and signed him."