For all we know about Percy Harvin — namely that his season was ended on Wednesday — there’s apparently more we don’t.
What we do know is that Harvin was having one heck of a year before going down, and leaves a Vince Wilfork-sized crater in the 6-6 Vikings’ offense.
Harvin hasn’t played a game of football in 32 days, but still leads the NFL in yards after the catch. Before going down he had tallied 22 missed tackles — that also still leads all receivers — but just one dropped pass.
He was on pace for 1,375 yards from scrimmage, which is not to mention the 574 yards he had already provided the Vikings on kick returns.
Harvin was having a special, MVP-caliber campaign, one that must now be haggled over in contract negotiations as he enters into the final year of his rookie deal. And my, those figure to be contentious. Harvin — who is still only 24 and had missed just three games in three years heading into 2012 — was none too pleased about having barely $2.5 million remaining on the final two years of his rookie pact heading into training camp.
But that didn’t stop him from elevating himself from “special young talent” to “special player.” The fact that he suffered a season-ending injury that will likely require surgery will only stiffen his resolve to get paid before it’s too late.
Although it appears all is not well behind the scenes, the Vikings would be nuts not to give Harvin what he wants this winter. After all, it’s not like he went Titus Young to express his extreme displeasure. He went next level.
A much more pressing concern for the Vikes is how they will replace Harvin on offense. The short answer is, they won’t. They are down to a fourth-round rookie and two titanic free-agent busts at wideout.
That, coupled with the fact that Christian Ponder is having trouble breaching the Mendoza Line on a weekly basis will doom the Vikings offense unless Adrian Peterson can go from simply out of this world to straight-up otherworldly.
Harvin vividly illustrated his importance to the Vikings on the field this season, and will continue to do so via his absence over the next four weeks.
As for fantasy owners, they should know there’s no replacing Harvin. Maybe if you won your league’s bid on Pierre Garcon or can pry Cecil Shorts from an impatient owner, you’ll come close. But you’re not going to recoup Harvin’s value in 2012.
When it comes to your Dynasty league, however, just be sure to do what the Vikings should do and take steps to ensure you keep Harvin around well beyond 2012. Harvin’s already been around four years, but don’t get it twisted: he’s just getting started.
Big Ben, Little Drama?
If Percy Harvin is familiar with injury drama, Ben Roethlisberger is crammed next to it in the backseat of a ‘92 Geo Metro.
Roethlisberger is very, very familiar with taking things down to the wire and providing a show within a show, but it doesn’t appear that will be the case with his shoulder this week. He is going to return from his three-game absence, and he is going to start against the Chargers.
"I saw him make the necessary throws today,'' coach Mike Tomlin said after Roethlisberger got in a full practice Wednesday. Tomlin went on to the call session “positive,” and said his quarterback showed “good velocity” on his passes.
Saying Roethlisberger made “all the necessary throws” 96 hours before he needs to be declared “active” or “inactive” is tantamount to guaranteeing he’s going to play, especially since Tomlin could have resorted to the most cliched of coachspeak and no one would have batted an eye.
Heck, that’s what we were expecting on a Wednesday from a coach who never likes to share details he doesn’t have to. Tomlin is clearly excited to have his signal caller back, and fantasy owners who have been hurting without their QB1 should be thrilled to start him against a team that surrenders a weekly 241 yards through the air, and has allowed 21 passing touchdowns in 12 games.
Is There A Ghost?
That’s not a ghost — it’s your RB2. You used to know him as your RB1. Yes, Darren McFadden (ankle) will be playing this evening against the Broncos, suiting up for the first time since Week 9.
A lot’s changed since then. Marcel Reece played well in McFadden’s absence, Jeremy Stewart proved worthy of being on an NFL roster. The only thing that hasn’t is McFadden’s yards per carry. Like dinosaur DNA in fossilized amber, McFadden’s YPC has been frozen in time at 3.3.
It’s an embarrassing number. Not just for a running back of McFadden’s pedigree — he was 10.1 by ADP this summer — but any NFL runner. When DMC’s taken the rock this season, he’s averaged fewer yards than Isaac Redman, Vick Ballard, La'Rod Stephens-Howling and Daniel Thomas, just to name a few. Andrew Luck is averaging 1.6 more yards per carry when he pulls the ball down and scrambles.
So is anything going to change in the season’s final quarter? Probably not. Last we checked, the Raiders are still a zone-blocking team, and aren’t playing competitive football. So on the off chance DMC and his blockers finally begin to click, it’s not even going to matter since the Raiders will likely be playing three quarters of garbage time, chucking the ball all over the yard in a futile attempt to catch up.
It would be particularly unwise to count on any miracles this evening. The Broncos are one of just eight teams allowing fewer than 100 yards rushing per game, and are permitting a stingy 3.6 yards per carry. That’s No. 2 in the league.
Over their past four games, the Broncos have erased Doug Martin, contained Jamaal Charles, completely neutralized Ryan Mathews and wiped out Cam Newton.
If you're hosting a welcome-home bash for your would-be fantasy savior, we hope you’re providing the party favors. DMC isn’t going to.
Quick Slants: Jordy Nelson (hamstring) didn’t practice. There’s yet to be anything to suggest he’ll suit up against the Lions. … Nelson’s teammate, James Starks, will miss “multiple weeks” with a knee injury. It’s believed his season is through, leaving Alex Green to tend the garden in Green Bay’s backfield. John Kuhn should be mixed in on third downs and near the goal-line, with a resurrected Ryan Grant perhaps garnering the occasional look. … The Cardinals have ended the Ryan Lindley experiment, reinstalling John Skelton at quarterback. He could remain there through the end of the season, as Kevin Kolb (ribs) has “hit a wall” in his rehab. … Cecil Shorts (concussion) and Rashad Jennings (concussion) have yet to be cleared. … Nor have Michael Vick (concussion) and LeSean McCoy (concussion). … Donald Brown (ankle) will not play this week. … Stevie Johnson (hamstring) was held out of practice, but remains on track to play in Week 14. … Danny Amendola (heel) failed to resume practicing. … As did Jonathan Stewart (ankles) and Brandon LaFell (turf toe). … Sidney Rice (concussion) has been cleared for Week 14.
If you haven’t heard Jim Schwartz’s zing of Titus Young: You really should.