Harvin says he'll be back 'stronger and better'

Harvin says he'll be back 'stronger and better'

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) The decision by the Minnesota Vikings to place Percy Harvin on season-ending injured reserve, coach Leslie Frazier said, was based ``purely'' on his slow-healing sprained left ankle and not any issue with a uniquely valuable player who has had clashes with the team.

Frazier declined to be more specific about the injury, which occurred in the third quarter of the Nov. 4 game at Seattle. Even severe sprains don't normally require two months to recover from, but by shelving him now the Vikings declared they wouldn't get Harvin back at full strength in time to warrant keeping him on the active roster.

``For him as well as our team, this is the best thing to do as opposed to continuing to try to make something happen that's not going to happen,'' Frazier said after practice Thursday. ``He's such a valuable commodity. You don't want to do anything that's going to create some long-term ill effects.''

Harvin hasn't been available to reporters for two weeks.

``It certainly is disappointing that I was not able to finish out this season with my teammates. As a competitor I definitely wanted to get back out on the field, but my injury has just not allowed me to progress to the point where I can help our team,'' Harvin said in a statement distributed by the Vikings. ``I appreciate the efforts of our medical staff and the support of our fans in helping me through this process and look forward to coming back stronger and better than ever.''

Frazier said Harvin shouldn't need surgery.

``At least we're hoping that. ... Got my fingers crossed that won't be the case,'' the coach said.

Frazier said Harvin never had any setbacks but only made incremental progress. He tried to practice on Nov. 28 but was favoring his right foot and having trouble changing direction when he had to push off on the injured ankle. Frazier said IR became a possibility in the last few days for the Vikings, who host Chicago on Sunday.

``You understand the situation and understand where he is. We've got other guys that are going to step up and hopefully make some plays for us in this ballgame,'' Frazier said.

Harvin had an argument with coach Brad Childress in 2010. He expressed general frustration with the Vikings this summer, asking for a trade and then withdrawing his request. He acknowledged more recently he had problems with the way his role in the offense was communicated to him. During the Seattle game last month, before he was hurt, Harvin was seen shouting at Frazier on the sideline after another stalled drive.

But Frazier said Harvin didn't fight the decision to place him on IR.

``He understood. He was frustrated, like everybody. He wants to be out there on the field. He's a great competitor, as we all know. Just unfortunate he wasn't making the progress that was necessary for him to get back out there,'' Frazier said.

Frazier said he wasn't sure yet whether Harvin would continue his rehabilitation with the team or on his own, in Florida or Virginia. With one year left on his rookie contract, given the concerns about his long-term attitude and durability, Harvin could've played his last game with the Vikings if they were to trade him instead of work out an extension or let his deal play out. He's so valuable to the offense and such a uniquely talented player, however, that the Vikings won't just give away a speedy-yet-punishing receiver, runner and returner for a less-than-fair return.

For now, Christian Ponder and the rest of the offense will have to cope without him.

``It's obviously unfortunate for Percy and for our team. He was having an unbelievable year when he was healthy, and we'd love to have him throughout the season, just with the things he can do and his abilities,'' linebacker Chad Greenway said.

Rookie Jarius Wright has filled Harvin's spot as the slot receiver. This means more playing time for him, but not the way he wanted that.

``It was kind of heartbreaking. I just wanted to get Percy back and see how we'd be on the field at the same time. I know a lot of the fans wanted a chance to see that also,'' Wright said.

Focusing on Harvin's absence won't help, of course.

``We know we have to move forward. We still have something that we're trying to accomplish this year. So just wish him the best, and hopefully he comes back healthy next year,'' running back Adrian Peterson said.

While the players don't compare, the Vikings had one positive development this week to counter the loss of Harvin.

Cornerback Chris Cook, who broke his right forearm in the Oct. 25 game against Tampa Bay and was in jeopardy of missing the rest of the year, returned to practice Thursday. Because the Vikings used their one-per-season designation to return in putting Cook on injured reserve, he is eligible to play on Dec. 23 at Houston.

``It was good to see him out here today moving around, so we have to see how progresses but that's the goal,'' Frazier said.

Defensive end Jared Allen, dealing with back and shoulder troubles, didn't practice again, but Frazier said he'll be fine for Sunday's game. Peterson was held out simply for rest, and he'll fully participate on Friday.


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In talking 2018 NFL draft, Doug Williams actually explained Redskins' free agency


In talking 2018 NFL draft, Doug Williams actually explained Redskins' free agency

The Redskins spent modestly in 2018 free agency, and plenty of fans thought the team should have shelled out much bigger bucks. Talking with sources around the Ashburn facility, a prevaling notion became clear that the Washington brass believed they had a strong team in 2017, but they lost their chance to compete because of injuries. 

Well, the secret is out. Doug Williams said as much on Tuesday. 

"Coming out of Richmond last year, I liked this football team. I think we’ve got a tough football team, a smart football team. Some things you can’t control," Williams said Tuesday in a pre-draft media session. "We were very competitive up to a certain point, and when you have the injuries that we have, at a certain point, that competitive edge, you lose it because your best players are not playing."

Williams' words were true, and telling. 

First the true part:

  • In Washington's first five games of 2017, the team went 3-2. The Redskins only lost to eventual the Super Bowl champs Philadelphia and AFC West champs Kansas City. Washington only gave up more than 100 yards rushing once in those first five games, before rookie Jonathan Allen got hurt and the defense began to look much different. After Week 5, the Redskins only held one team under 100 yards rushing and finished the year dead last in rush defense.

Now the telling part:

  • The Redskins signed free agent WR Paul Richardson, and kept free agent LB Zach Brown. Beyond that, the team added inexpensive veterans in OLB Pernell McPhee and CB Orlando Scandrick. No splash moves, and recurring speculation that Washington was not offering top dollar to free agents. Bruce Allen acknowledged as much during NFL League Meetings when he explained that his team identified exactly how much they would offer free agents, their own and otherwise, and wouldn't go beyond that dollar figure. 

That means the focus of the offseason, at this point, is about this weekend's NFL Draft.

That also means the focus of the offseason, at this point, is not about Johnathan Hankins or any other free agent. 

"We’re going to deal with the draft now, and the second wave of free agents, if it’s somebody out there we feel like can help the Redskins,that’s what we’re going to do," Williams said. 

Throughout the offseason, Redskins fans wanted more action from their front office. It didn't happen, and Williams' basically explained why on Tuesday. The brass likes their team, and by default, expects better health and luck in 2018. 

When Williams talks about drafting the best player available, it's not just the typical NFL front office tripe. Right or wrong, the Redskins believe they have a team ready to compete in 2018, and any rookies that come in will only supplement that position.

"At the end of the day, I like this football team we’ve got. Like, last year when I walked out of camp, I thought we had a pretty good football team and I still feel the same way today," Williams said.

"At the end of the day, you get the best football player, and if that best football player is the guy that you want to plug and play, that’s all right. But if that’s the best football player that’s going to help your team overall, I think that’s the route you have to go."


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How the Caps won their first round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets

How the Caps won their first round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets

Things did not look good for the Capitals after two games.

Facing a 0-2 series hole after losing both games in Washington, it looked like it could be an early summer. The Caps were going to be the first team to ever lose a series in the playoffs to the Columbus Blue Jackets.


But the Caps rallied.

Washington won the next four games and turned what looked like it would be another postseason disaster into a postseason triumph.

Only once in franchise history had the Caps rallied from a 0-2 deficit and only once had the Caps won four straight games to win a series. They managed both against the Blue Jackets.

Here's how the Caps were able to rally to a first-round victory over Columbus.