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.
Tags: Jimmy Kennedy, Leslie Frazier, Pat Williams
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