This has been introduced over in the FanPosts already this week, but I wanted to sort of touch on it here on the main page as well.
By now, you've probably seen the story from Tom Pelissero of 1500 ESPN in Minneapolis about the way the Vikings used wide receiver Percy Harvin in Sunday's 24-20 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If you haven't. . .well, here's the part that people are (quite rightfully) ticked off about.
(30 snaps) doesn't look hurt, so how can coaches justify sitting him for 55.9% of the snaps? Taking such a dynamic threat off the field makes it that much easier for a defense to declare its doubles, yet the Vikings did it from the get-go, with Harvin sitting out the first three snaps -- and an incredible 11 of 14 snaps in the red zone (78.6%).
Let me put this out there. I like Leslie Frazier. . .really, I do. I think he's going to be a very good head coach for us, and he (like everyone else in Minnesota) got unduly screwed because of the NFL lockout. As a new coach, he was supposed to be entitled to extra mini-camps this off-season to install new systems and schemes, and those never materialized. His team has been together for all of two months, counting pre-season and training camp, and while that's patently unfair, that's the way things worked out. Had Frazier gotten all of the off-season camps and workouts that he was entitled to as a new head coach, I think the first two games of this season would have been drastically different.
That having been said. . .there is no excuse for the second-best offensive player the Vikings have to be sitting out over half of the team's snaps, particularly in light of who his competition for snaps is at this point. Bernard Berrian shouldn't be on the field in any situation at this point, because he's just freaking awful and doesn't seem to give a damn. Michael Jenkins, who has shown good hands and good blocking ability thus far, has been a nice find, but really. . .he ain't Percy Harvin.
Harvin is one of the most dynamic players in the game, and in a game where creating mismatches is a big part of your team's success, he needs to be out there the majority of the time, and especially in the red zone. Granted, Harvin is not the biggest receiver out there, and coaches like to have their bigger targets in the game inside the 20, but this is ridiculous. If you want to look at guys that are a comparable size and/or skills to Harvin, when do you suppose was the last time that the New England Patriots sat Wes Welker for over half the snaps in a ball game? Or the Carolina Panthers with Steve Smith? Or the Eagles with DeSean Jackson?
Let's face it. . .the Vikings don't have a hell of a lot of reliable options on offense at this point in time. In fact, I can count two. . .Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin. Sitting one of them for half of a ball game, and nearly 80% of the time when your team is knocking on the door of the end zone, is foolish. There's no other word to describe it. Hopefully Leslie Frazier, Bill Musgrave, and the rest of the team have figured this out and can rectify this problem going forward.