Notebook: Harvin delivers big day on bum ankle, downplays argument
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Childress said he met with Harvin for about 15 minutes before the Minnesota Vikings' 27-24 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday and they're "just fine" -- strongly implying reports of the confrontation between player and receiver in Friday's practice have been overblown.
"It had nothing to do with his hustle or effort," Childress said of the exchange. "That was not a question and never was."
Harvin set career highs with nine catches for 126 yards despite missing almost the entire week of practice because of pain in the left ankle he sprained in last week's loss at New England.
He was noticeably hobbled during the sliver of Friday's practice open to reporters, and multiple reports indicated a heated argument took place during the closed portion after Childress questioned Harvin's effort and suggested he needed further tests on the ankle.
Childress said Harvin simply didn't want to have an MRI on the ankle. Harvin, who said he "just didn't think nothing was significantly wrong with it," ended up coming in Saturday morning for the test instead.
"It was a little dispute, but we settled it," Harvin said. "Me and Coach are fine."
Harvin said Tuesday's controversial release of mercurial receiver Randy Moss -- who quickly grew close with Harvin on and off the field -- wasn't a factor and rejected the suggestion Moss was a bad influence.
"He wants me to be great," Harvin said. "He wants this team to be great. He called me (Sunday) and told me to let the boys know to come out here and get this win. There was no negative. He taught me a lot, and I'll continue to use that throughout the season."
That Harvin played at all was a bit of a surprise, considering how he looked in Friday's practice as well as in pregame warmups, when he barely lifted his feet while shuffling on a lap around the field.
He said after the game the ankle was "definitely hurting right now. But we got the win, so that's all that matters."
Celebration of Visanthe Shiancoe's touchdown catch late in regulation was tempered somewhat because right tackle Phil Loadholt was on the ground receiving attention from trainers, who appeared to be looking at one of his legs.
Loadholt walked off under his own power and played in overtime, but Childress said the second-year pro was having tests done.
"They're looking at him right now," Childress said. "He came back and played in overtime and did a decent job. We'll see what his status is later."
In what will go down as one of the season's great hustle plays, Greg Camarillo saved a touchdown in the first quarter by running the length of the field to strip Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes at the 3-yard line.
"It's a bad situation, and as a receiver we're taught to strip the ball," Camarillo said. "(Defensive backs) don't carry footballs -- it's not what they do. So, luckily the other guys cut him off and made him cut back, and he's swinging the ball out there and I just made a play."
Brett Favre's throw on the play was intended for Greg Lewis on an out-breaking route, but Darnell Dockett came on a long stunt and hit Favre on his release. The pass was behind Lewis and landed in the hands of Rhodes, who raced up the left sideline, made several players miss and appeared headed for the end zone.
That's when Camarillo -- who had been and ran a route aligned on the opposite side of the field -- completed his sprint from more than 60 yards by diving and whacking the ball out of Rhodes' right arm with his own.
"That's as big a play as there was in the game to force that touchback on that INT we had on third down," Childress said. "Huge, huge play."
For so much of this season, the Vikings' special teams have been a bright spot. It evened out on Sunday.
LaRod Stephens-Howling answered the Vikings' first touchdown by returning the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown, and Michael Adams returned Harvin's fumble on the second half's opening kickoff 30 yards for another score.
"We're real used to having solid, solid efforts," Childress said. "You think any part of the halftime speech was, 'Let's give them seven (points) on the kickoff return?'"
It appeared rookie cornerback Chris Cook got directed wide on Stephens-Howling's score. Place-kicker Ryan Longwell didn't come close to making the tackle near the Arizona 45, and the only other Viking who had a shot to chase him down, safety Eric Frampton, was slowed because he had to hurdle Longwell.
Rookie linebacker O'Brien Schofield ripped out the ball from Harvin and Adams scooped it up in stride for a touchdown that pushed Arizona's lead to 21-10 in the opening seconds after halftime. The Vikings challenged but the call held up after review.
"I knew it was close," Harvin said. "I kind of got bent up and was trying to protect my leg so I couldn't get two hands on the ball. They did a great job of stripping the ball out. I just have to have better ball security."
For the second time in as many games, the Vikings had a sure interception slip through their hands.
One week after Madieu Williams did it, strongside linebacker Chad Greenway -- buzzing underneath receiver Steve Breaston on an out-breaking route -- appeared to intercept Derek Anderson's woefully underthrown pass. But Greenway bobbled the ball, the Cardinals challenged the ruling of an interception and replays showed the ball hit the ground before he secured it.
Instead of having the ball at the Cardinals' 29-yard line, the Vikings had to settle for getting the ball back on a punt and their ensuing drive went nowhere.
Receiver Sidney Rice went through pregame warmups and received a rousing cheer as he blew the Gjallarhorn before the Vikings took the field.
Rice was activated from the reserve/physically unable to perform list and returned to practice last week. There seems to be a decent chance he's available for next week's game at Chicago, but the Vikings don't have to make a move until Nov. 24.
"He's close," Childress said. "We'll just have to see how he comes back. He had a good workout before the game (Sunday) morning. While I don't think he's 100 percent, we just have to see if we feel like he can play outside (next week at Chicago)."
• WR Bernard Berrian finished with season highs in receptions (nine) and receiving yards (89) while wearing yellow cleats that most likely will draw a fine for violating the league-mandated dress code.
• Harvin finished with 214 combined net yards -- exceeding the 200 mark for the fourth time in his career, tying a franchise record.