By Tarik El-Bashir
When Jim Haslett stepped to the podium Thursday, he joked that his weekly news conference had him stressed out.
So, naturally, the first question posed to the defensive coordinator was whether Vikings’ wide receiver Percy Harvin had him stressed out, too. Haslett played along, cracking: “Oh, yes he does.”
And for good reason.
Harvin ranks 11th in the NFL in receiving yards with 407, and leads the league in yards after the catch with 329 for the Vikings, who are off to a surprising 4-1 start and are tied for first place in the NFC North with the Bears. The 24-year-old from Chesapeake, Va., also has three touchdowns -- one on a kickoff return, one receiving and one rushing.
“Harvin might be the best athlete in the NFL,” Haslett said. “He can do everything. They put him everywhere. He’s up to something all the time. They find ways to get him the ball. He can throw the ball, run it, return. He’s fun to watch unless you have to play him. Then he’s not so fun.”
Harvin, of course, won’t be the only player the Redskins will be preoccupied with Sunday as they attempt to end an eight-game losing streak at FedEx Field. Ryan Kerrigan and Co. will also have to contend with running back Adrian Peterson (420 yards rushing) and quarterback Christian Ponder (6 touchdowns, 2 interceptions.)
Haslett said the key will finishing the game strong – something the Redskins (2-3) have failed to do thus far.
“This is going to be one of those four-hour games where you have to fight all day,” Haslett said. “You can do a good job in the first quarter. You can do a good job in the second quarter. You can hang around in the third quarter, then they’ll break three or four open in the fourth. This is all day fight.”