CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 30: Percy Harvin #12 of the Minnesota Vikings scores a 1st quarter touchdown against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on October 30, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Normally we would do a poll for the "Man Up" player of the week, but for this last week's game against the Carolina Panthers, the Minnesota Vikings had one particular player that "manned up" quite a bit, from what I can tell.
Percy Harvin isn't the biggest guy on the field by any stretch. It seems like the guy is always battling something (though, thankfully, it appears his migraine problem may finally be solved). This season has been no exception, as he's been having issues with his ribs all season long. Yet, no matter how banged up the guy is, he manages to get out on the field every week and have an impact on the game, whether it's in the return game or as a receiver. . .or even as a runner.
We saw that in a big way on Sunday against Carolina. After the Panthers' first turnover of the afternoon set the Vikings up at the Carolina 16, Harvin lined up in the backfield on two consecutive plays, taking two handoffs and going totally untouched into the end zone on the second one. He also had a huge catch in the fourth quarter that hasn't really been talked about much, but played as big a role as any other play the Vikings had in the fourth quarter of the victory.
(I really wish I could find a video of this play, but I can't seem to find one. Just use your imaginations, folks.)
Facing a 3rd-and-7 from their own 18-yard line with just under nine minutes remaing, the Vikings had Christian Ponder lined up in the shotgun and two receivers on each side, with Harvin lined up slot right. The Panthers brought a heavy blitz, and Ponder did about the only thing he could do with it. . .he side-armed a pass to Harvin in the right flat, and Percy actually caught the ball at the 17, a yard behind the line of scrimmage.
Panthers' corner Chris Gamble appeared to be in perfect position to bring Harvin down, but Percy wasn't having any of that. He planted and put on a beautiful spin move that caused Gamble to basically deflect off of him. Before you could blink, Harvin was out to the Minnesota 29 for an 11-yard gain and a first down. That drive concluded with what proved to be the game-winning field goal by Ryan Longwell, and Percy Harvin's efforts prevented the drive from being over before it started. (He also had a 22-yard catch on a 2nd-and-15 later on that same drive.)
That's pretty much what this whole "manning up" thing is about. . .getting it done when you're banged up, and getting it done when your team needs it the most. Nobody did that better in Sunday's victory than Percy Harvin.