Notebook: Percy Harvin flashes in return to competitive drills
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- A day after ending his 15-day absence, Minnesota Vikings receiver Percy Harvin participated in competitive drills and wasted no time making his presence felt.
On the first play of the team (11-on-11) blitz period, Harvin made a sprawling catch down the right sideline against cornerback Antoine Winfield.
Later, on the first play of a red-zone period he ran a fade from the slot against cornerback Asher Allen and made a sensational, leaping grab at the side of the end zone.
Harvin did appear to be receiving reduced reps in his first full-speed practice since the death of his grandmother and a bout with migraine headaches ended his training camp after only two days. But he touched the ball seven times during the competitive segments and showed no signs of physical trouble.
For the second consecutive day, Harvin was not made available to reporters. The plan has been for him to speak on Wednesday or Thursday.
The qualifier on Sage Rosenfels' big numbers in Saturday's preseason opener is who he put them up against: the second-stringers from one of the NFL's worst teams.
Darrell Bevell said he was impressed nonetheless by Rosenfels, who torched St. Louis for 310 yards and three touchdowns in the Vikings' 28-7 rout.
"You've still got to make the plays," said Bevell, the Vikings' offensive coordinator.
"If they blow a coverage, you've still got to be able to find it. You've still got to read it out the way that we're asking to read it out. He did some good things."
Rosenfels put up those numbers after rebounding from a rocky start that saw his first drive last four plays and his second backed up to fourth-and-38 by four penalties.
That led to a lively exchange between Vikings coach Brad Childress and Rosenfels, who also was captured by television cameras having an extensive conversation with Bevell.
"The one thing that we're harping on and really focusing on is trying to get our tempo up," Bevell said. "We want to play a little bit faster once we break the huddle so we have more time at the line of scrimmage, and he improved as the game went on in that."
Brett Favre's arrival on Tuesday provided the surest sign yet Rosenfels is headed for the trading block before the season begins. He now stands third on the depth chart behind Favre and Tarvaris Jackson, and rookie quarterback Joe Webb is coming off a surprisingly strong performance of his own against the Rams.
"There's always speculation going on," Rosenfels said. "You can't let it affect you. All you can really do is (let it) help motivate you."
Return competition continues
Four players returned punts against the Rams, and special-teams coordinator Brian Murphy expects to keep taking a broad look at his options in the other three preseason games.
Murphy singled out Asher Allen (one return, 11 yards) and Marcus Sherels (two, 7.5 average) for solid showings and, without saying a name, took a jab at incumbent Darius Reynaud for not catching a punt in the third quarter that was downed at the 10.
"We just can't let the ball hit the ground," Murphy said. "We can't bleed out yards, let the ball bounce around. We've got to come up and catch those, and we'll improve that."
• Murphy blamed Danny Amendola's 93-yard punt return touchdown in part on multiple veterans playing new spots on the coverage unit. Husain Abullah missed a tackle and Allen, the playside gunner, was shoved out of the play. "We spent quite a bit of time (Monday) and (Tuesday) working out those kinks," Murphy said. "Right now, it's just continuously polishing up what you do and find out who can catch up. We've given guys a ton of reps, and we will continue to do that the next three games."
• PK Rhys Lloyd was "fine," said Murphy, who acknowledged he'd like to see the prospective kickoff specialist get better depth. "But that's going to come," Murphy said.
• All three quarterbacks -- sans Favre -- had highly efficient days in team periods. Final passing statistics: Jackson 11-for-14, Rosenfels 11-for-14, Webb 12-for-15.