Percy Harvin is ridiculous.
If there's any conclusion to be made from The Game Of The Year, it's that there are many teams who should be ashamed of themselves for deciding against selecting The Steal Of The Draft last spring. This game was supposed to be the Brett Favre Show, and to a large extent, it was. He lived up to the occasion -- I hardly need to elaborate on the pressure he was under and his skill at maintaining poise throughout a roller coaster of a game.
But Favre is hardly the headline from this game. That distinction belongs to Percy.
Anyone who watched even part of the Vikings' encounter with the Packers in Lambeau immediately understood the extent to which Harvin can change a game in an instant. Down three early in the first quarter, discouraged after a boneheaded play in which John Sullivan inexplicably snapped the ball when Brett wasn't expecting it? No matter. Harvin pulls off a huge kickoff return and the offense uses the short field to take a 7-3 lead.
Green Bay is storming back after a painful-to-watch fumble by Brian Robison on a kickoff? A commanding lead has been cut to 24-20 in the third quarter? No worries. After pulling to within four, the Packers dumbfounded an audience of millions by putting the ball in Percy's hands on the ensuing kickoff. A return into Packers' territory gives the Vikings offense another short field, and Favre tosses a touchdown to Jeff Dugan to complete the drive.
Indeed, this game was the Percy Harvin Show. Despite the defense's best efforts to melt down once again in the second half, the magnificence of Harvin was too much for the Packers to handle.
Of course, that leads me into the downers of this game. Leslie Frazier, in his infinite wisdom, once again took his foot off the acceleration when the Vikings pulled ahead by three scores. His defense had been absolutely slaughtering Aaron Rodgers in the first half, but as Frazier has proven, he can't pass up a golden opportunity to become complacent and let a dying team back into the game. The Robison fumble can't be blamed on the defense, and that play undeniably swung the momentum in Green Bay's direction. But if that play gave the Packers some much-needed momentum, the Vikings defense ensured that the momentum would remain with Green Bay.
Frazier deserves a head-coaching gig? At times this season, I've wondered if he even deserves to be the defensive coordinator for this team. Granted, that's little more than a knee-jerk reaction to a host of late-game defensive meltdowns, but this isn't the first time the defense has been atrocious this season when given a big lead.
In addition to the embarrassing lack of pressure imposed on Aaron Rodgers in the second half, the players themselves have no excuse for the carnival of missed tackles we witnessed. Frazier bizarrely took the defense's pace down way more than he should have, but the poor tackling hardly helped matters.
And yet, the Vikings still pulled it out. Adrian Peterson was slowed down early on but he became progressively more productive. Sidney Rice was a dependable target for Favre, as was the phenomenal Percy Harvin.
Really, you can't say enough about what Harvin accomplished out there today. 261 all-purpose yards later, we were seeing comparisons of Harvin's performance to Randy Moss' breakout performance in Lambeau. Not a topic I care to explore too deeply, but the mere fact that the comparison was made speaks volumes about Harvin.
So despite the disappointing defensive effort in the second half, the Vikings persevered. An unflappable veteran quarterback leading his team to a pair of key fourth quarter touchdowns (we can't thank Teddy T. enough). An electrifying rookie giving the Vikings momentum boosts at the right moments. There's a lot to be happy about.
That's how we head into the bye -- with some concerns but lots to be excited about. This team's inability to put teams away has been a consistent theme in the first half of the season. But Percy Harvin is unquestionably The Steal Of The Draft and your early-season favorite for Rookie of the Year honors. And the old man has been great. How sweet is it that, after getting booed by the classy Lambeau fans, Favre left with the last laugh?
7-1. A memorable eight games. Here's to a strong finish.