He was only able to test it before practice, according to offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, and then didn't attend practice Wednesday at all.
"He wasn't out there today, but the other guys that were out there did a good job," Musgrave said.
"We would just have to adapt (if Harvin can't play). We'd have to adapt to different personnel. That's all we'd have to do."
Harvin sprained the ankle in three different places in the second half of a loss at Seattle on Nov. 4 when he was tackled for a 3-yard loss. He immediately rolled over and started writhing in pain but limped slowly off the field under his own power after being tended to by the Vikings' medical staff.
He said he was ready to see where the pain level is at in practice after missing one game and taking the bye week to recover. However, despite his desires, he was held out. The Vikings are likely holding him back until later in the week for his first practice test on the ankle.
"It took the swelling a little longer to get out than we anticipated. We finally got it out," Harvin said Wednesday before practice. "I was finally able to start walking yesterday. I'll try it out today and see where I'm at."
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said he would like to see Harvin practice this week before making a decision on his game status for Sunday against the Chicago Bears.
"I think after the time we've had off it would be good for him to get some work," Frazier said, acknowledging that it's too early to tell if Harvin will be ready to play.
Receiver Michael Jenkins has been limited this week with a foot injury, too.
"We're hoping that they all can make it. Right now it's Wednesday, so we're just going to take it day by day," Musgrave said.
Harvin said the ankle is still stiff but doesn't have major swelling left in it.
"That's basically what I want to see today, how good I'm able to come out of my break, am I able to cut, just some stability things that come along with the ankle," Harvin said. "I'm anxious to get out there. I'm ready to see where I'm at."
Harvin said he spent the team's bye week doing work in the pool, getting treatment with icing and stimulation, and joked that he probably tried out every machine in the training room.
Although Harvin returned to the Seattle game a series after turning his ankle, he said as the game ended he knew "it wasn't good."
Harvin entered that game tied for first in the NFL in receptions (62), first in combined yards (96 rushing, 677 receiving and 574 returning), first in yards after the catch and first in the NFC in kickoff return average (35.9).
After two weeks off (the Detroit game and the bye week), he is tied for eighth in receptions and is second in kickoff return average.
Harvin also entered the Seattle game with a hamstring injury that has been plaguing him since Oct. 11, when he first showed up on the injury report as limited.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.