Along with his Rookie of the Year award, one thing Percy Harvin is looking forward to is leaving the bitter cold of Minnesota for the warmer climate of Florida. After defeating the New York Giants 44-7 Sunday and clinching the second seed in the process, Vikings coach Brad Childress rewarded the team by giving them five days off. The former Gator star wide receiver told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune he would be heading back to his home near Jacksonville for the break. While Jacksonville’s climate is less than tropical — today’s high is 49 degrees — it is much warmer than the 16-degree weather Minneapolis is facing today. “That’s one thing I will not miss,” Harvin said about the cold.
Another former Gator was placed on injured reserve Saturday, as Bills’ safety Todd Johnson missed Buffalo’s final game with a hamstring injury. Johnson joins the Packers’ Deshawn Wynn (knee), the Lions’ Marquand Manuel (shoulder), the Bucs’ Earnest Graham (toe) and the Dolphins’ Channing Crowder (foot) as former Gators sidelined with injuries this season.
Fred Taylor, who missed 11 games with an ankle injury, will play in the Patriots’ playoff game against Baltimore this Sunday. Taylor played in New England’s final two games, carrying the ball 18 times for 68 yards. While teams want to keep a rhythm going into the playoffs, Taylor is citing his lack of playing time as a benefit this late in the season. “You can be physically beat down,’’ the running back told the Boston Globe. “The season is so long. You can lose somewhat of your mental focus: ‘Man, when is this going to end? When is this going to get over?’ Right now, everyone should have a second wind. But for me, I haven’t played, so I’m excited more so than anything else. I’m mentally fresh.’’
Jacksonville Jaguars safety Reggie Nelson is among some of the team’s players who could possibly lose their jobs, according to a Florida Times-Union report Monday. Nelson, who had received criticism from head coach Jack Del Rio after the Jaguars’ Week 15 loss to Indianapolis, did not start for Jacksonville, and finished the game without making the stat sheet.
The Cincinnati Bengals signed Keiwan Ratliff Monday, marking the second time the cornerback has joined the Bengals. Ratliff was a second-round pick of Cincinnati, playing every game for the team between 2004 and 2007. Ratliff had 82 tackles and five interceptions during his first stint with the team.