By now you’ve likely heard of the tragic death of Bengals WR Chris Henry, who passed away on Thursday one day after falling out of the back of a pickup truck during what police said was a domestic dispute with his fiancée.
A tragedy such as Henry’s passing has a wide-ranging impact that begins with family and friends and spreads to teammates and the rest of the NFL, including the Vikings.
Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress mentioned to reporters on Thursday after practice that both FB Fahu Tahi and S Madieu Williams knew Henry from their time as Bengals players.
Another Vikings player – WR Darius Reynaud – was also connected to the fallen WR. Both Henry and Reynaud attended West Virginia University and the two were even teammates during the 2004 season. On top of that, Henry and Reynaud grew up 30 miles from one another just outside of New Orleans.
Reynaud said he remembers playing against Henry in high school and that once the two were both at West Virginia Henry took Reynaud under his wing and taught him how to be a WR.
“He took me in and showed me how to be a receiver,” Reynaud said on Thursday. “It was devastating to hear what happened yesterday (Wednesday). I’m still shocked to this point. He had just done an interview talking about his life changing around. And you could tell by the way he was talking that he’s changed.
“Just to hear what happened…life is short man. You’ve got to cherish every moment and live every day like it’s your last.”
My thoughts and prayers go out to Henry, his family and friends and the Bengals organization.
Tags: Darius Reynaud, Fahu Tahi, Madieu Williams
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The Vikings and 49ers released their 1st injury reports of Week 3, and a quartet of regular contributors appeared on it for the Vikings in addition to LB Erin Henderson (calf).
Also on the report were LB E.J. Henderson (shoulder), TE Jim Kleinsasser (hand), RB Adrian Peterson (back) and S Madieu Williams (shoulder).
Both Henderson brothers did not participate in practice on Wednesday, while Peterson and Williams were limited participants and Kleinsasser participated fully.
The 49ers had starters listed on their report as well. DE Justin Smith (non injury related) missed practice, while RB Frank Gore (ankle) was a limited participant in practice. Others on the report are G David Baas (ankle – limited), LB Marques Harris (toe – limited), LB Ahmad Brooks (knee – limited) and RB Glenn Coffee (hip – full).
Tags: Adrian Peterson, E.J. Henderson, Erin Henderson, Jim Kleinsasser, Madieu Williams
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Earlier this week we identified 3 key matchups to today’s game in Cleveland. But while you’re keeping an eye on those individual matchups, here are 5 other elements of the game to pay particular attention to that will go a long way toward determining the outcome of the game.
1. Penalties – The Vikings had penalty issues during the preseason – 40 penalties were enforced against the Purple for 286 yards. You can bet this was addressed by head coach Brad Childress as he and his team prepared for Week 1. Also keep in mind that holding calls are a point of emphasis for NFL officials this year, so it’ll be interesting to see how rookie Phil Loadholt and 1st-year starter John Sullivan fare in Game 1.
2. Adversity – One team has to deal with adversity first, and it’ll be interesting to see how that team responds. Either the Vikings will encounter it early as a road team playing in a hostile environment, or the Browns will face it with a young Brady Quinn at the helm and the league’s top run defense lining up on the other side.
3. The Vikings Secondary – Madieu Williams and Tyrell Johnson form the Vikings new starting safety tandem. It goes somewhat unnoticed, but the starting safeties must play off of each other and complement one another well. It’ll be interesting to see how Williams and Johnson perform for an entire game in the regular season. We’ve seen them in the preseason and there didn’t appear to be any major issues, but now the bullets are live and the games really count. Veteran Darren Sharper became expendable this season because Johnson was in the fold, but now he must perform well on the field and show the coaching staff and personnel staff that he is worth the 2nd-round billing.
4. The Browns 3-4 Defense – Cleveland uses the 3-4 alignment as their base defense, something the Vikings have tried to familiarize themselves with over the preseason. The tricky part about this defense is that there are only 3 down linemen, but on most plays there will be more than 3 defenders attacking the line of scrimmage. The offensive line and QB Brett Favre need to identify the attacking players and assign the proper blocking strategy. This is important in both the run game and the passing attack. Remember, Adrian Peterson set the NFL single-game rushing record against the San Diego Chargers, a 3-4 defense.
5. 3 Key Matchups – There’s a reason the 3 matchups we pointed out are key; they will help determine the outcome of this game. DE Jared Allen vs. LT Joe Thomas and C John Sullivan vs. DT Shaun Rogers are vital matchups in this game, and both happen to be along the line of scrimmage. Something tells me this game is going to be very, very physical.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Jared Allen, John Sullivan, Madieu Williams, Tyrell Johnson
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The 1st definition of the word “schism” that comes up in an internet search is: “division or disunion, esp. into mutually opposed parties.” But something strange has happened at Winter Park – the schism that reportedly exists in the Vikings locker room regarding support, or the lack thereof, of QB Brett Favre has actually united the players even further.
Said Vikings RB Adrian Peterson on Wednesday about the existance of a divide in the Vikings locker room regarding Favre: “That’s something new to me. I’m not sensing nothing like that at all. I don’t know where that came from. That’s news to me.”
Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress shared a similar sentiment on Wednesday as well, saying “I certainly don’t see anything that points to that.”
“Brett has fit in great. He’s one of the guys,” safety Madieu Williams said on Thursday, according to ESPN.com. “Everybody has welcomed him with open arms. He’s fit right in. He’s been a great locker-room guy.”
Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press caught up with All-Pro G Steve Hutchinson after practice, who said, “I understand where the media is coming from, because they have to write about him. But there’s only so many ways to say there’s no truth to it.”
Jensen also spoke with WR Sidney Rice, who said, “There’s nothing like that in the locker room. Everyone is focused on their assignments, and doing what they can do to make this a better team.
“There’s no ‘We want Tarvaris. We want Brett.’ We can’t control those things, no matter what we say. That’s up to the head man, and his decision goes every time.”
Pro Bowl CB Antoine Winfield told Jensen: “Guys are happy he’s here. I’m happy he’s here. Hopefully he can take us to where we need to go.”
It got to the point on Thursday at Winter Park where players were either amused by the notion of a schism or simply annoyed by it. Chip Scoggins observed in the Star Tribune’s “Access Vikings” blog that LB Chad Greenway, walking off the field, said: “Schism. You guys are making up words now.” And DE Jared Allen quipped: “I’m not answering any schism questions. It’s all [expletive].”
Rice perhaps had the best quote, saying the players have transcended being stuck on their personal opinion about which QB gives them the best chance to win and instead have the attitude that no matter the identity of the starting QB, all of the QBs have the support of everyone in the locker room.
And that’s really the best attitude to have. It’s unrealistic to expect a locker room full of 79 players and a full coaching staff to have a unanimous sentiment regarding a hot-button topic like the identity of the starting QB. But it’s not unrealistic to expect that same locker room to unite behind whomever is identified as the starter. That’s what has happened in Minnesota.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Antoine Winfield, Chad Greenway, Jared Allen, Madieu Williams, Sidney Rice, Steve Hutchinson
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