Kevin Williams (Tom Dahlin/Viking Update)
Kevin Williams didn’t practice Monday, but Leslie Frazier didn’t want to expand on his progress just yet. So what are the possibilities if Williams doesn’t play? Plus, other injury and transaction updates.
The Vikings weren’t willing to discuss the recovery timeline for veteran defensive tackle Kevin Williams, but the six-time Pro Bowl player wasn’t at Monday’s practice after injuring his knee in Sunday night’s preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers.
An MRI on Williams’ right knee last Monday revealed no ligament damage, although it was hyperextended, bruised and had a posterior capsular strain.
“We’re going to talk about injuries a little more on Wednesday and we’ll get into more detail on all those guys on Wednesday,” head coach Leslie Frazier said after Monday’s practice when asked about Williams’ rehabilitation.
Williams suffered the knee injury in the third quarter of the third preseason game when 49ers offensive lineman Joe Looney hit Williams’ knee with his shoulder pads while Williams was watching running back LaMichael James being tackled in the backfield. Several Vikings players said the block was “dirty,” but the NFL said it was a legal block and didn’t fine Looney.
Williams was the only Viking not at practice Monday and Frazier declined to get into what the team would do in the event Williams wasn’t able to play.
One option would be to play first-round draft pick Sharrif Floyd in place of Williams.
“I think we’ll have to go through this week and determine that, but he’s missed quite a bit of time and then coming off an injury. We’ll have to gauge that as the week goes on,” Frazier said.
Floyd had a “minor procedure” to his right knee after the second preseason game and sat out the third and fourth games. He may have been able to play in the preseason finale Thursday night, but the Vikings didn’t want to risk further injury to him with Williams already out.
As they went through drills last week and early in practice Monday without Williams, Letroy Guion, the starting nose tackle, was in the rotation with veteran Fred Evans next to him.
Guion was Williams’ backup for the start of his career before being moved to the starting nose tackle position last year. The Vikings might explore moving him back to the three-technique position while Williams is out.
“It’s been a while since he’s played the position, so it’s something we’ll have to take a look at based on how Kevin is doing as the week goes on, but we’ll see,” Frazier said. “We’ve got some options, we think, but we’ll have to determine it as we go forward.”
WISHING WINFIELD WELL
CB Antoine Winfield played nine seasons with the Vikings before they released him prior to the start of free agency this year, hoping he might re-sign for less money.
Instead, Winfield signed for less money … only with the Seattle Seahawks. However, the Seahawks released Saturday in their final roster trimming to the league-mandated 53 players.
“I have a ton of respect for Antoine, as you know. He did a lot of good things for us here, had a great career here in Minnesota and really helped me look good at times with some of the plays he made,” said Frazier, who coached Winfield as his defensive coordinator before becoming head coach. “I have a deep affection for him, but if he wanted to play, I’d welcome the opportunity to work with Antoine again if that’s what he wanted to do. But if he’s retired, I wish him nothing but the best. He’s been a great player, a great person and he’s going to enjoy retirement. But he was a tremendous player for a long time in our league.”
Frazier said he hadn’t talked with Winfield yet, but he might call him Monday or Tuesday to wish him well.
INJURED RESERVE DISCUSSIONS
The Vikings opted to place three players on injured reserve over the weekend after suffering injuries in the preseason finale.
CB Bobby Felder had a sprained ankle, DE D’Aundre Reed had an ankle injury, too, and OL Seth Olsen suffered a concussion. Most of the time, those injuries would normally take a few weeks to heal and wouldn’t require being placed on injured reserve at the start of the season, but Frazier said their injuries weren’t more severe than originally reported.
“In Bobby’s case, he did a very good job for us throughout the spring and then in training camp as well and showed well on punt returns,” Frazier said. “But the injury definitely set him back and he’s still banged up now and he’s not going to be with us as he goes through what he has to go through from an injury standpoint.”
The Vikings might look to reach an injury settlement with those players.
Despite Desmond Bishop coming on strong at the end of the preseason, Frazier said Marvin Mitchell is still the starter at weakside linebacker.
“As we speak, Marvin is our starting outside linebacker. Desmond did a good job, did enough to make our ball club. We’ll see how he progresses as we go forward,” Frazier said.
Offensive tackle J’Marcus Webb, claimed by the Vikings off waivers from the Chicago Bears, will wear number 73, the number worn by suspended offensive tackle DeMarcus Love.
WR Jarius Wright and S Mistral Raymond returned to practice after missing time week.
The Vikings signed DE Tristan Okpalaugo to the practice squad. He takes the eighth and final spot on the practice squad. Okpalaugo, from Fresno State, was released Friday by the Miami Dolphins. He will wear number 79.
With Reed going to injured reserve, DT Chase Baker switched numbers, from 62 to 91.
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