Friday Post-Practice Notes

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 1, 2010 – 1:22 pm

Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress met with reporters on Friday after practice to give a final update before this Sunday’s regular season finale against the NY Giants at Mall of America Field. Here are a few notes…

– Childress said the Vikings had a good practice on Friday and that the team feels good about playing at home this weekend to cap the regular season. “We had a good practice and I’m anxious to get busy and get out there and play at home,” the head coach said. “We’ll have the home crowd and expect that to be a huge plus. We’ll kind of try that on for size as we go forward. We’re excited and ready to get it going.”

– DT Jimmy Kennedy injured his thumb in last week’s loss at Chicago while filling in for Pat Williams, who missed the game with an elbow injury. Kennedy was not able to practice at all this week, and while Childress said they’ll wait to see how the DT feels tomorrow, it looks as if DTs Fred Evans and Letroy Guion may have to step up should Kennedy not be able to play on Sunday.

– Speaking of Williams, he was able to practice on a limited basis all 3 days this week. He was limited all of last week and missed Monday night’s game, but although he was limited all of this week as well, Childress seemed optimistic about his run-stuffing DT’s chances of playing. “Pat did make it through the week,” Childress said. “He had a good week of practice.” Asked if Williams has “made it over the hump” in terms of recovering from the injury, Childress said he seems to have done so.

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Shiancoe, Williams Questionable

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 1, 2010 – 1:21 pm

Two Vikings starters are listed as questionable on the Vikings Friday injury report.

TE Visanthe Shiancoe (thigh) and DT Pat Williams were limited in practice this week. Shiancoe was held out on Wednesday but was able to make it through practices on Thursday and Friday. Williams, who missed last week’s game in Chicago, was limited all week.

While meeting with reporters after practice on Friday, Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress sounded optimistic about Williams’ chances of playing on Sunday. He was not asked about Shiancoe.

DT Jimmy Kennedy (thumb) is listed as doubtful and 4 players – G Steve Hutchinson (shoulder), S Eric Frampton (ankle), C John Sullivan (knee) and CB Antoine Winfield (foot) – are listed as probable.

You can view the Vikings injury report by clicking here.

The Giants injury report is quite long and you can view it by clicking here to get all the details. But we will tell you that the following players have already been ruled out of Sunday’s game: RB Brandon Jacobs, CB Aaron Ross, DT Chris Canty, OT Kareem McKenzie and CB Cory Webster.

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Home Sweet Home

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 1, 2010 – 11:05 am

After 3 road losses in their last 4 games, the Vikings will close out their 2009 regular season schedule at home this weekend.

And for the Vikings, there’s no place like home.

The Vikings are 7-0 at home in 2009 and a win on Sunday against the NY Giants would make them 14-2 at Mall of America Field over the past 2 seasons. Consider some more Vikings trends when playing at home…

– The Vikings have allowed just 68.5 rushing yards per game at home, which is 22.1 yards per game fewer than they’ve allowed this season.
– The Vikings defense yields 20.3 points per game for the season, but just 16.7 points per contest at home in 2009.
– The Vikings have 3.1 sacks per game at home, up from 3.0 per game for the entire season.
– The Vikings average scoring margin at home is +14.4, but they’ve had margins in their last 4 home games of +20, +26, +26 and +17.

Vikings players and coaches clearly recognize the significance of playing at home. Here’s what a few of them had to say about it on Thursday:

“Our fans are second to none in terms of the noise they make and the difficulties they create in that environment for opposing offenses – just the communicating process, whether it’s coach-to-player on the field or player-to-player on the field, it just requires an extra measure of concentration. So it’s a huge environmental advantage.” — Head coach Brad Childress

“ I think it’s exciting for us to get back in front of our home crowd and be able to feed off them a little bit, the excitement. Try to finish off the season undefeated at home, which would be huge for us. – Offensive Coordinator Darrell Bevell

“It means a lot to play here. It’s the last game of the regular season at home. We are 7-0 at home. We are looking forward to making that 8-0. It’s always good to come back home and play in front of your home crowd and kind of have that 12th man out there with the fans and a short trip home after the game. – RB Adrian Peterson

“A big game this weekend.  We’re looking forward to being back at home and being around familiar surroundings and having our great fans in attendance. It should be an exciting time for our football team. – Assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier

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Will The Williams Wall Be Intact?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 1, 2010 – 9:44 am

The Vikings will look to end a 2-game losing streak and earn a 1st-round bye this weekend by defeating the NY Giants at Mall of America Field. And, if at all possible, they’d like to do it with a complete Williams Wall in the middle of their defense.

Last week against the Chicago Bears, DT Pat Williams was inactive because of an elbow injury that limited him in practice all week. Backup DT Jimmy Kennedy stepped into the starting lineup for Williams, and while Kennedy performed capably, there’s really no way to replace a player of Williams’ caliber.

“Jimmy did a good job for us,” Vikings assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said. “We knew when we signed him in the offseason that there may be a time where he would have to start a game, and sure enough, it did happen. He stepped up and did a good job for us.

“It’s not the same as having Pat in there, maybe not quite as disruptive as Pat can be at times, but he did a solid job and hopefully he’ll be able to continue to build on that as well.”

While Kennedy, a former 1st-round draft choice, has the ability to step in for Williams when needed, there’s no denying that the Vikings defense is not the same without Williams. A 3-time Pro Bowler, Williams often commands double teams and can often be found in an offensive backfield before a play develops.

“Anytime you don’t have Pat – probably the premier run stopper in the National Football League – on the field, it’s going to affect what you do,” Frazier said. It always makes a difference on our run defense when he’s not out on the field.”

Williams has been out on the field practicing this week, though it’s been on a limited basis just as it was last week. His participation level in practice today (Friday) will be a good indication of his chances of playing on Sunday. Last week he was limited all week and didn’t suit up. This week he was limited on Wednesday and Thursday, so Vikings fans should hope for the words “full participation” next to Williams’ name after practice today.

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