Percy Harvin says interference penalty against him was 'terrible call'
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Add Percy Harvin to the list of players who weren't happy with the work of the replacement officials in Week 2.
After watching film of the offensive pass interference penalty called against him early in the fourth quarter of the Minnesota Vikings' 23-20 loss Sunday at Indianapolis, the wide receiver did not mince words.
"It was a terrible call," Harvin said Monday. "(Safety Antoine Bethea) kind of was shielding me from the ball. I was just trying to get around him to the ball, and I don't know what they (saw). But he was shielding me off so it was bad call. ... We (have) got to adjust to the refs. There are going to be bad calls. Mine won't be the last bad call. So we have got to adjust to it and keep moving and can't let it frustrate us."
Harvin, who led the Vikings with 12 receptions for 104 yards on Sunday, was quick to add that he's "moved on" from the flag thrown by a crew led by referee Donald King.
Harvin did not get any type of explanation on the decision.
"(The official) didn't say anything," Harvin said. "He was just looking at me, and I was looking for what he was talking about and he didn't give me anything, so that's just frustrating.
"These guys are going to try to do their best and they are going to make bad calls. Unfortunately it went against us at a pivotal time of the game."
The work of the replacement officials on Sunday has drawn plenty of criticism. The regular officials have been locked out by the NFL because of a labor dispute.
Harvin said part of what frustrated him was the fact that the replacements did not call offensive pass interference in the preseason but cracked down on it Sunday.
"It just seemed like they were gunning for the offensive pass interferences this week," he said. "It's frustrating not knowing exactly what they are looking at, but we can't worry about that. We have to adjust to the game and be ready to go from there."
The Vikings were called for 11 penalties for 105 yards Sunday after taking five for 47 in a Week 1 victory over Jacksonville. On Sunday, the Vikings disputed two third-quarter calls that kept a Colts' drive alive.
The first was a roughing the kicker call against Andrew Sendejo on a punt by Pat McAfee, and the second was a personal foul call against Jared Allen when the defensive end hit Andrew Luck as he was going out of bounds on third down and 16.
The drive ended with the Colts' Adam Vinatieri making a 45-yard field goal to put Indianapolis up 20-6.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said Allen showed "great hustle" on the play that drew a flag but also admitted the veteran had to aware of where he was at on the field.
"He was running all day trying to catch up to that quarterback," Frazier said. "(He's) got to have a little awareness of where you are on the field. It looks like he kind of lost where he was.
"Like his effort, like what he was trying to get accomplished. Just have a little awareness of where you are on the field, and probably have to pull up in that situation."
Frazier said he would continue to "harp" on avoiding penalties this week in practice.
Asked about the potential inconsistency of having replacement officials and not knowing what might be a penalty in their eyes, Frazier was extremely careful with his words.
"There can be a wide range of answers to that one," he said. "We have to make sure that we're doing the things that are necessary to play within the rules. We have officials at our practice. We go through with our players what a hold is, what a personal foul is, what constitutes a personal foul, what's offsides, what's encroachment.
"We go through all those things. So it's up to us when we get in game situations to do the right things. And there were times (Sunday) where we didn't and it cost us."
The NFL has warned team officials about criticizing the replacement referees and Frazier has gone out of his way to avoid saying anything that might sound like an excuse or criticism.
He said he was aware the replacements kept it as first down after Colts tight end Dwayne Allen was called for a personal foul against linebacker Jasper Brinkley in the first quarter, despite the fact it should have gone to second down.
"I know exactly what you're talking about," Frazier said when asked about the incorrect decision, adding, "No. Did not [get an explanation]."
The Vikings, and all NFL teams, are allowed to send the league 10 officiating decisions per game that they might object to and want reviewed. It's expected the error in not making it second down would be among the plays the Vikings would send to the league.
"You want to play smart," Frazier said when talking about the fine line between playing hard and committing fouls. "You have to have a little recognition in certain situations and adhere to when you're possibly crossing that line. That's when you have to play smart."