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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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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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Heading To Stadium Soon; Injury Watch

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 28, 2009 – 3:14 pm

The first set of buses will be loading up soon to take us to Soldier Field for tonight’s Vikings-Bears game. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 CT and the game will be televised by ESPN. You can also join us on vikings.com for a live chat. We’ll start the chat just a few minutes prior to kickoff.

It’s a unique experience to play on Monday Night Football, especially on the road. Since I’m not wrapped up in meetings all day as the players and coaches are, a Monday night game on the road allows for several hours of free time in the opposing team’s city. And when the opposing city is Chicago, a few hours of free time is nice.

It’s also different to watch the rest of the NFL begin to digest the games from the day before and begin the process of moving on to next week. We’re still wrapped up in Week 16 while everyone else has Week 17 on their mind.

As for the game tonight, injuries might play a factor before we even kick the ball off. The Vikings look to be in pretty good shape heading into the game. Just 4 players were on the injury report this week and 3 of them – Steve Hutchinson (back), Brian Robison (quadriceps) and Antoine Winfield (foot) – are probable. The 4th – DT Pat Williams (elbow) is questionable but to be honest, I’d be surprised if he can’t go for this one.

The Bears have a different injury situation, however, and it’ll be worth watching in the moments leading up to kickoff. When the practice week came to a close on Friday, a total of 13 players had at one point or another been on the report. Friday’s injury report contained 10 players, including DE Adewale Ogunleye.

Ogunleye has since been placed on injured reserve because of a broken leg and the Bears signed P Richmond McGee to take Ogunleye’s place on the roster. The reason for signing a punter is because the Bears starting punter, Brad Maynard, is one of those 13 players who was on this week’s injury report; he’s questionable with a left groin ailment (ouch).

DT Tommie Harris, OT Orlando Pace, RB Adrian Peterson and OT Chris Williams were all listed as probable on Friday’s injury report, so I expect they’ll all be able to go tonight. But S Kevin Payne was listed as doubtful and the following players were listed as questionable: DE Gaines Adams, S Al Afalava, WR Devin Hester and Maynard.

Some of those missing players represent significant pieces for the Bears. QB Jay Cutler would certainly like to have Hester available as he goes up against one of the stingiest rushing defenses in the NFL and with Ogunleye already out, the Bears defense could use Adams for depth in the rotation along the defensive line. Since Payne is doubtful, missing Afalava does nothing to help the Bears secondary against Brett Favre, Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice and Co.

Long story short, we’ll have a lot to look for once we get to about 6:00 p.m., which is when the Vikings and Bears are required by the NFL to submit their list of inactive players.


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Pat Williams Questionable, Others Probable

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 26, 2009 – 2:04 pm

The Vikings have 4 players listed on this week’s injury report and today NFL teams are required to not only list each injured player’s level of participation in practice but also their probability of playing in this weekend’s game.

For the Vikings, 3 players are listed as probable. They are: G Steve Hutchinson (shoulder), DE Brian Robison (quadriceps) and CB Antoine Winfield (foot).

The 4th member of this week’s injury report – DT Pat Williams – is listed as questionable with an elbow ailment.

For the Bears, DE Adewale Ogunleye (leg) has been ruled out and S Kevin Payne (ankle) is doubtful. Four players are listed as questionable. They are: DE Gaines Adams (ankle), Al Afalava (knee), WR Devin Hester (calf) and P Brad Maynard (left groin).

Four other players are listed as probable for the Bears. They are: DT Tommie Harris (knee), OT Orlando Pace (groin), RB Adrian Peterson (illness) and OT Chris Williams (ankle)


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Harvin, Winfield Questionable For Sunday

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 11, 2009 – 1:45 pm

The Vikings and Bengals have released their Friday injury reports, which on top of practice participation also contain a designation of each player’s chances of playing on Sunday.

You can view the entire Vikings injury report by clicking here.

CB Antoine Winfield, who has missed the team’s last 6 games with a foot injury, was limited all week and is listed as questionable for Sunday. T Bryant McKinnie (ankle), TE Visanthe Shiancoe (ribs) and DT Pat Williams (foot) were limited on Wednesday and Thursday but were full participants on Friday and all listed as probable.

WR Percy Harvin (illness) was absent again from practice and is listed as questionable for the game.

For the Bengals, WR Chad Ochocinco (knee) was added the injury report as a limited participant but was also listed as probable for the game. Safeties Chris Crocker (ankle) and Kyries Hebert (knee) are questionable and the following players are probable: C Jonathan Luigs (back) and CB Morgan Trent (knee) are probable.


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Vikings Bowl For Charity

Posted by Mike Wobschall on December 2, 2009 – 8:00 am

Pat Williams and the Vikings Children’s Fund teamed up on Monday evening for their annual bowling event to benefit the VCF. This year the event was held at PINZ Entertainment Center in Oakdale.

Click here to read more about the event.

Williams was joined by the following teammates: Sidney Rice, Albert Young, Kevin Williams, Ray Edwards, Tremaine Johnson, Letroy Guion, Fred Evans, Fahu Tahi, Anthony Herrera, Jamarca Sanford, Benny Sapp, Tyrell Johnson, Brian Robison, Bernard Berrian and Jimmy Kennedy.

The bowling event, which was held for the 15th consecutive year, was sold out and fans packed the nearly brand-new PINZ Entertainment Center to get a chance to bowl with the pros and support the VCF. During the event, numerous prizes were given away, including tickets to an upcoming Vikings game and various Vikings merchandise.


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Childress Says Birk Is Playing Well

Posted by Mike Wobschall on October 14, 2009 – 3:22 pm

Last year Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress watched plenty of Matt Birk film because he had to grade the veteran’s performance on game days and in practice. This year, even though Birk left Minnesota last offseason to sign a free agent contract with the Ravens, Childress has still been watching film of Birk – in preparation for the Vikings game against Birk’s Ravens team this Sunday.

During his Wednesday press conference, Childress was asked how Birk has been playing so far this year and the Vikings head coach had a positive review of the 6-time Pro Bowler.

“He’s playing well,” Childress said. “It looks like he’s directing. I got to see him in the summer time. It looks like he’s in great shape. I thought he looked like he re-arranged his body a little differently, positively. It looks like he’s playing at a high level. It looks like he has a good relationship with the quarterback and he’s directing the line.”

Childress has said in the past a number of times that Vikings C John Sullivan’s development has been aided because he goes up against DTs Kevin Williams and Pat Williams every day in practice. A similar situation has unfolded for Birk in Baltimore, where his assimilation into the Ravens offense and into life as an AFC center (where you see more 3-4 defensive schemes) has been aided because of the presence of Haloti Ngata, a dominant 6-4, 345-pound NT who makes a habit out of surging past centers and into the offensive backfield.

“He’s got his hands full when he lines up every day (in practice) against Haloti Ngata,” Childress said. “He gets good work; he’s not playing against imposters. The people in that division, the nose tackles, (Casey) Hampton (from Pittsburgh) is not too shabby.”


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Will Grant Be The Streak Stopper?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 30, 2009 – 2:55 pm

The Vikings defense is in the middle of an impressive streak – it’s been 26 games since a RB has gained 100 yards in one game against the Williams Wall and Co.

That last RB to register a 100-yard game against the Vikings? Green Bay’s Ryan Grant, who rushed for 119 yards and 1 TD on 25 carries back in Week 10 of the 2007 season. And of course you know Grant and the Packers will visit the Vikings this week on Monday Night Football.

Aside from defeating the Vikings at home, on Monday Night Football and with Brett Favre under center, the Packers might like nothing more than to end the Vikings impressive streak.

Going back even further than Grant’s 100-yard game in 2007, you have to go back to Week 17 of the 2006 season to find the next RB to rush for 100 against the Vikings. Steven Jackson had a good day, rushing for 142 yards and 3 scores on 25 carries.

Let’s go one step further. At the risk of getting ahead of ourselves here, it would be a fun storyline to follow if the Vikings make it to Week 6 without allowing a 100-yard rusher. The Baltimore Ravens come to town that week, and they currently hold the longest streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher (37). It would be fun to watch Adrian Peterson go up against the Ravens and their impressive streak and then have Baltimore try and counter with C Matt Birk and the 3-headed rushing attack of La’Ron McClain, Willis McGahee and Ray Rice.


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Favre, Legendary Vikings DE Jim Marshall Meet

Posted by Mike Wobschall on September 25, 2009 – 1:52 pm

Legendary Vikings DE and Purple People Eater Jim Marshall was at Winter Park on Friday to watch the Vikings practice and meet QB Brett Favre. Last week in Detroit, Favre started his 271st consecutive game and broke the NFL record for consecutive starts that was set by Marshall.

The Vikings will have their home opener on Sunday and Marshall will sound the Gjallarhorn as well as be an honorary Vikings team captain. He’ll join Vikings team captains at midfield for the pregame coin toss. Both Marshall and Favre will also be recognized for the consecutive starts record.

Still the record holder for consecutive games played (280), Marshall observed Favre and the Vikings from the sidelines as they practiced indoors due to the rainy weather.

“I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else to break it,” Marshall said. “I have a lot of respect for the way Brett has played the game and still plays the game. He is good for football.”

Marshall compared Favre to Johnny Unitas in terms of leadership qualities and the ability to drive an offense down the field at crucial points in the game. Marshall also noted Favre’s work ethic, saying it reminded him of his own work ethic that was instilled in him by his father when he was a young boy.

“I would’ve been proud to play with Brett if he had been around back in the days when I played,” Marshall said. “He has my kind of work ethic.”

While he was watching practice, the entire Vikings defensive line, including defensive line coach Karl Dunbar, came over to him and shook his hand. It was a unique scene, watching Marshall converse with the Vikings defensive line and also watching players such as Jared Allen and Kevin and Pat Williams listen intently to every word Marshall said.

“The Vikings have the best defense in football,” Marshall later told me. “I’m just so proud of our defense, I really am. It reminds me of our playing days.”


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