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Monday, November 18, 2013
Upon Further Review: Vikings Week 11

By Ben Goessling

SEATTLE -- A review of four hot issues after the Minnesota Vikings' 41-20 loss to the Seattle Seahawks:

Adrian Peterson
Adrian Peterson wasn't his normal self in Sunday's loss to Seattle.
Should Peterson sit? There will be plenty of questions raised about lineup changes for the Vikings this week -- and this post will tackle several others -- but after running back Adrian Peterson admitted a groin injury "was bothering me a lot" during Sunday's game, it's worth asking whether the Vikings should give last year's league MVP a chance to let the injury heal up by sitting him down for a week. Peterson isn't the type to beg out of the lineup if he's able to play, and it's hard to see the Vikings taking the conservative approach with him when they have so little on offense and jobs are on the line for their coaching staff. But at 2-8, the Vikings can do little other than dress up their record, and Peterson might be more helpful in that pursuit a week or two from now if he's running closer to 100 percent.

More discipline for Simpson? Wide receiver Jerome Simpson did not start on Sunday after being arrested on Nov. 9 for drunken driving, but was in the game by the second play after the Vikings sat Greg Jennings down with a strained Achilles tendon. He didn't play nearly as much as he normally would, though, finishing with one catch for 1 yard, and it will be interesting to see if the Vikings levy further discipline on Simpson this week, particularly if Jennings is able to play against the Green Bay Packers. Coach Leslie Frazier said last week that general manager Rick Spielman would be in touch with the NFL on Monday to see what the team's next steps would be, and it seems as though the Vikings are taking their cues from the league about how much they can reprimand Simpson. If they're worried about running afoul of the union by suspending Simpson, they might opt to limit his role again if he is active against the Packers.

Jennings' heel is "the flukiest thing:" After being listed as probable for Sunday's game, Jennings' deactivation was a surprise move on Sunday afternoon. Frazier said Jennings would be ready to go for the game after sitting out of practice last week, and Jennings still wasn't sure on Sunday what caused his left Achilles tendon to flare up on Thursday morning. It would be surprising if he wasn't ready to go for his return to Lambeau Field on Sunday, but him missing the game against the Seahawks did serve as a reminder of why Jennings found lukewarm interest on the free-agent market last spring; he had missed 11 games in his final two seasons with the Packers.

Kicking to Harvin: Former Vikings receiver (and kick returner) Percy Harvin didn't start the day on special teams in his first game back from hip surgery, but once Jermaine Kearse left the game, Harvin was lobbying to return to the job he did so well with the Vikings. He slipped onto the field for a third-quarter kickoff return, hoping the Vikings wouldn't see him, and surged 58 yards up the middle of the field as part of his electric cameo in Sunday's game. Afterward, Frazier said he knew Harvin was on the field, but made the decision to kick to him anyway. "I thought we could cover the kick," Frazier said. "We didn't, they ended up with great field position and they scored." It was the fourth return of 50 yards or longer the Vikings have allowed this season, and it's worth noting the Vikings didn't kick to Harvin again after that.