Harvin returns to practice with Vikings; Rice still out
By Dave Campbell, AP Sports Writer
EDEN PRAIRIE -- The Minnesota Vikings welcomed Percy Harvin back to practice, as their versatile wide receiver began to get himself back in football shape.
Though the regular season opener in New Orleans is more than three weeks away, the Vikings could use some time with a couple of their other missing stars. Wide receiver Sidney Rice is still limited to running by himself off to the side while he works on his injured hip, and the quarterback situation -- surprise! -- remains unsettled.
So, any word from that Brett Favre guy?
"Not recent contact, no," coach Brad Childress said Monday.
Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, who missed much of the last week and stayed home from the preseason opener in St. Louis because of an unspecified muscle strain, was also back in action with the first team.
"I'm pretty sure by the first game we'll have the whole offense again," Shiancoe said. He added: "Drip by drip, we're getting this team together. Or piece by piece, should I say."
"Ain't getting into none of that," Shiancoe said. "The more drips the better."
Harvin is a big piece, as the reigning winner of the NFL's offensive rookie of the year award. He was on the field for the first time in more than two weeks. Harvin's grandmother died two days into training camp, and then his migraine headaches flared up.
"He's feeling better, or he wouldn't be here," Childress said. "Migraine free? I don't know if you can ever say that."
Harvin was not made available to reporters, but Childress said he had a long talk with him on Sunday. He acknowledged Harvin will need some time to get back into prime condition.
"I think he's in a decent place right now," Childress said.
Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, the de facto starter with Favre still unwilling to commit, said he overheard Harvin saying his migraines "got pretty bad" but that there are other people with the chronic condition who have a worse time with them.
The plan is to play the starters for the first quarter of this weekend's game at San Francisco, but it's not yet clear whether that lineup will include Harvin. It won't include Rice, who remains on the physically unable to perform list.
"It's getting better," Rice said, adding: "Continue to take it one day at a time."
He sounded focused on appearing in a preseason game to get ready.
"You need that rhythm. You need to get the timing right with your quarterback, pick up protections and things like that," Rice said. "You want to be on the same page with your teammates."
Rice said he wasn't sure how close he is to 100 percent, but he is still unable to cut or bend at full strength.
"A couple of setbacks, but overall it's getting better," Rice said. "I think it's a lot better since the beginning of camp."
Last year, Favre -- after initially declaring he'd stay retired -- joined the Vikings on the Tuesday morning after the first preseason game. The day before the one-year anniversary of his storied ride from the airport in Childress's vehicle, there were few words on the subject following practice.
"I'm done talking about it. I'm just getting on with my camp here," said normally loquacious defensive end Jared Allen.
Whether it was simply Favre fatigue or an internal order to keep quiet, players offered little insight.
"Who knows, man? I'm not going to comment on none of that," Shiancoe said.
Childress hustled off the field and stayed inside longer than usual before his media briefing, appearing rushed when he addressed reporters. He refused to acknowledge activity on the Favre front, however, or provide any other update on the old quarterback's status.
"Got to get back to the salt mine," Childress said as he re-entered the building.