Team unsure when Harvin will return from 'personal issues'

MANKATO, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings are still missing wide receiver Percy Harvin, and the coaching staff is unsure when he'll return.

Harvin was absent again on Monday, eight days after the death of his grandmother. He has missed 15 straight practices, but coach Brad Childress declined to express concern about the length of his leave.

"The thing that I've learned is that everybody grieves differently. That's just the facts. You've got to be able to respect that and appreciate that," said Childress, who three years ago fined wide receiver Troy Williamson for an extended absence following his grandmother's death before having a change of heart and returning the money.

Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said Harvin is "dealing with some personal issues," but neither he nor Childress offered any more insight. Harvin has struggled with migraine headaches throughout his life, and stress can be a trigger.

Asked about concern over Harvin's conditioning, both Childress and Bevell praised his work ethic.

"He is a highly conditioned athlete. How long it will take him to get up to speed, I don't know, but his legs will come to him. He'll be all right," Childress said.

The Vikings have been notably short-handed during training camp so far, with Harvin, wide receiver Sidney Rice (hip) and the infamously indecisive quarterback Brett Favre highlighting the list of absentees.

"We'd like to have them all out here, but we don't," Bevell said, "so we're working those other guys and giving them as many reps as we can."

As for the star of missing stars, Childress said he text-messaged Favre in the morning but gained no new insight about his status. Childress also said he didn't know when Favre will see Dr. James Andrews about his surgically repaired left ankle.

Kicker Ryan Longwell insisted his friend Favre remains torn about his decision to play or not.

"Deep down I think he really wants to play, loves the guys, loves the locker room," Longwell said. "But if you can't play and give it your all like you're used to playing with injuries and stuff, then that kind of leaves you in a bind."

As for a timetable for his decision?

"He wanted to a week or so ago, but unfortunately the injury just hasn't allowed that," Longwell said. "I think he'd like to do it sooner than later, but at that same time wait as long as he can and see if he gets any more action out of the ankle and see if he gets a little better."

Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe didn't practice again due to an injury that Childress called a strain, without specifying the muscle. Right guard Anthony Herrera was also not participating because of back spasms. Even long snapper Cullen Loeffler was missing on Monday, resulting in a couple of poor snaps by his replacements during special teams drills.

The good news for the Vikings was that center John Sullivan was back in action after missing last week because of a right calf injury and running back Adrian Peterson continued to increase his work after missing time because of tightness in his left hamstring.

"It's just great to see him out here getting those turns. He looks fresh-legged," Childress said.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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