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News » Vikings' Pat Williams hopes to play Sunday

Vikings' Pat Williams hopes to play Sunday

Vikings' Pat Williams hopes to play Sunday
There's still no guarantee whether Vikings defensive tackle Pat Williams will be able to play Sunday's first-round playoff game against Philadelphia.

Williams is dealing with a fractured right scapula that sidelined him the final two regular-season games. He's been planning to return for the playoffs, something he reiterated after the Vikings beat the New York Giants 20-19 on Sunday to clinch the NFC North championship.

But on Monday, coach Brad Childress said he has to see what Williams can do on the field in practice this week. It was a good sign, though, that Williams has been cleared to try to play.

"Pat Williams is going to try to make that push to this weekend," Childress said. "We'll just have to see what his functional strength is like as he gets out there and goes through the week here."

The injury to Williams could play a major role in the Vikings' success against Philadelphia. Atlanta and the Giants weren't afraid to run the ball up the middle against Minnesota.

Fred Evans adds bulk in the middle, but no one player can replace Williams. That's why it would be a lift to the defense if he's able to return.

"I think those guys who were in did a good job," linebacker Chad Greenway said. "It's just about on defense what we do as a whole group. But getting him back obviously helps. He's a Pro Bowler. He's been there a long time doing a good job. You can anticipate if we do get him back we'll be a better team. When you add a Pro Bowler back to your defense, it's going to help you."

Although Philadelphia's Brian Westbrook isn't a between-the-tackles power runner, the Vikings could use every option at their disposal when they formulate their game plan. Westbrook has 54 catches for 402 yards and five touchdowns to go along with his 936 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground.

"In my opinion, he's the best running back in the NFL," Greenway said. "Obviously what we have here (with Adrian Peterson) is pretty special. But as far as getting out of the backfield and catching the Football, he can really act as a receiver.

"Obviously he's good running the Football as well. He's very dynamic with what he can do. The thing that makes him tough is the multiple things they can do with him."

Catching up: Childress took time on Sunday night to congratulate his former boss, Eagles coach Andy Reid, on clinching a wild-card berth in the playoffs with a 44-6 victory over Dallas. Childress sent Reid a text message and received a phone call in return.

"I'm happy for him getting in," Childress said. "Don't particularly relish playing those guys just from a personal standpoint. But he'll give it his best shot, and we'll give it our best shot."

Come one, come all: On Sunday, the Giants' defense blitzed about 80 percent of the plays, Childress said. That's a remarkably high rate.

But that should give the Vikings a good feel for what Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson is likely to do this week. Johnson is known for his blitz schemes, but he probably won't call Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo because both teams are still in the playoffs.

"But he'll certainly be able to see some of his stuff, and I don't have any illusions about it," Childress said. "If we saw 80 percent blitz this time, we might see 90 come next Sunday."

Show of support: Reid told reporters he thinks Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier would make a fine head coach in the NFL. Frazier was an Eagles assistant coach under Reid from 1999-2002).

"He's a great Football coach but probably an even better person," Reid said. He's a "great individual and a great family man. He has a very strong work ethic. When he was here he was very quiet but he wanted to know everything.

"And the players, and this wasn't just because he was a good corner(back) in the National Football League, but you could see that the players respected him for what he was as a person and coach. He deserves a head coaching shot, and if he got one, an owner is going to get a very solid, solid person and good Football coach."

Peterson tops the list: Childress said it was a "tremendous individual honor" that Peterson won the NFL rushing title with 1,760 yards. Peterson was the first player in team history to win the rushing title.

"He would be the first to tell you that those guys in the front are the guys that clear the way, and that would include tight ends, wide receivers, fullbacks," Childress said. "I'm sure he's proud of that individual honor, but he knows that he owes it to some other people standing in front of him, and he didn't have any illusions about that."

Atlanta's Michael Turner finished second with 1,699 yards, and Carolina's DeAngelo Williams was third with 1,515 yards.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: December 30, 2008

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