Childress on absent Harvin: 'I've learned everybody grieves differently'
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MANKATO, Minn. -- Brad Childress didn't say it directly, but his reluctance to repeat a memorable misstep in his past has become obvious.
The absence of Percy Harvin reached its ninth day on Monday with no clear end in sight, as the Minnesota Vikings' dynamic playmaker continued to grieve the death of his grandmother.
Yet Childress -- who indicated over the weekend he expected Harvin to return by the time practice resumed on Monday -- continued to offer understanding words for his grieving playmaker, who now has missed 15 of 18 training-camp practices.
"The thing that I've learned is everybody grieves differently," Childress said. "That's just the facts of it. You've got to be able to respect that and appreciate that."
Those words seemingly were a nod to the controversy sparked in 2007, when Childress fined receiver Troy Williamson a paycheck for missing a game to attend his grandmother's funeral.
Williamson's fine later was reversed at the urging of several veteran players. And despite the ongoing uncertainty with Harvin -- "I'm kind of flying in the dark a little bit," Childress said -- coaches have declined to publicly admurge the second-year receiver to return.
Speculation also has grown Harvin once again may be dealing with migraine headaches, which were a recurring issue during his breakout season in 2009 and can be triggered by stress.
It is believed Harvin is at home in Eden Prairie. He has offered no public comment other than a short message posted on his Facebook page Saturday afternoon: "(Trying) to get back on my feet ..."
Whenever he does, there's no telling whether Harvin will be in anything close to game shape. He skipped the entire offseason program except for June's mandatory minicamp, dropped out of this camp's second practice after tweaking his ankle and hasn't been seen since July 31.
"I don't know where he's at in terms of his conditioning," offensive coordinator Darell Bevell said. "We didn't have him out here that long anyway. But Percy takes really good care of his body. I know that he's a hard worker."
Unless Harvin is back in time for Tuesday's morning practice, though, it's highly likely the team will exercise caution and hold him out of at least Saturday's preseason opener at St. Louis.
"It always takes a little while to round back into shape, just like anybody that's first starting," Childress said. "He is a highly conditioned athlete, and how long it'll take him to get up to speed, I don't know. His legs will come to him."