Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 11/9/12
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. League leading receiver Percy Harvin is doubtful for the Minnesota Vikings' home game Sunday against the Detroit Lions after missing the past week of practice with a badly sprained ankle. Harvin -- who leads the league with 62 catches and a 35.9-yard average on kickoff returns -- sprained his ankle in three places during last week's loss at Seattle. Harvin had been on crutches earlier this week and said playing Sunday would be a "long shot," but both the receiver and head coach Leslie Frazier were holding out hope he would improve enough to practice Friday and play Sunday. On Friday, Frazier said Harvin is doubtful. Running back Adrian Peterson, who leads the league with 957 rushing yards, returned to practice Friday after missing practice Thursday with an illness. Starting defensive tackle Letroy Guion also was back Friday after missing the previous two practices with turf toe. Sitting out Sunday's game would give Harvin more time to rest the ankle with the Vikings' bye the following week. But Frazier said Thursday that resting Harvin with the bye up next wouldn't be a consideration and that Harvin would play Sunday if he were ready "Well, if he can go, we'll play him and rest him after the game," Frazier said. Harvin, who was limping badly as he walked through the locker room Thursday, leads the team with 677 yards receiving and has five total touchdowns. His absence Sunday would be a damaging blow for Minnesota (5-4), which has its last two games and three of its past four. Sunday begins a stretch of four consecutive games within the NFC North, a span that could determine the surprising Vikings' fate in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL. Even with the play-making Harvin, Minnesota's passing offense has been faltering, totaling less than 100 net passing yards in two of the past three games. This week's opponent, the 4-4 Lions, have been stingy against the pass, ranking eighth in the NFL and giving up just 214.3 yards per game. Earlier this season in a 20-13 win at Detroit, the Vikings passed for only 100 net yards. Tight end Kyle Rudolph, second on the team with just 27 catches, has two receptions in the past three games. Receiver Jerome Simpson, expected to be a big contributor when he signed a one-year contract in the offseason, has eight catches for 109 yards and has been limited by a back issue that causes numbness and weakness in his leg. Tight end John Carlson, who signed a five-year, 25 million contract in the offseason, is expected to return after missing the past two games because of a concussion, but he's also been a disappointment with just three catches for eight yards. Carlson practiced all week for the first time since suffering the concussion in Week 7 while playing special teams. Rookie fourth-round draft pick Jarius Wright, who has been on the active roster all year but hasn't been activated for a game, could be considered to help fill Harvin's role. Harvin and Wright are similar in stature, and Wright's quickness and agility drew comparison to Harvin following the draft. "They are very similar in a lot of ways, and the way we would use him is similar to the way we use Percy if he ends up playing on Sunday," Frazier said earlier this week. "That is a part of (the game-day inactives), for sure." Follow Brian Hall onTwitter.
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