Notebook: Pat Williams ready to ‘smash' it

Pat Williams (Jim Mone/AP)

Playing one of the better rushing teams in the league hasn't changed Pat Williams' outlook (not much does). He's sticking to his defensive mantra and looking forward to meeting up with a two-headed Dolphins rushing attack. Plus, Sidney Rice talks to reporters for the first time since surgery, Childress addresses the receiver workouts and much more.

The Miami Dolphins ran about as balanced an offense as possible Sunday in a win against the Buffalo Bills, meaning the Vikings' defensive line is bracing to stop the run.

Chief run enforcer and trash talker Pat Williams is ready for action.

"Basically, it's going to be one of them old-fashioned smashmouth games Sunday because they don't do nothing pretty, but they'll come dinking and dunking the ball and trying to run the ball on us," Williams said. "We have to go out there and stuff the little short passes and stop their run because they run their Wildcat offense."

In their first game against the Bills, the Dolphins ran the ball 36 times, despite averaging only 3.7 yards per run, while quarterback Chad Henne threw the ball 36 times.

The Dolphins also split their carries up fairly evenly between running backs Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown. Brown had 13 rushes for 65 yards and a touchdown while Williams had 18 carries for 62 yards.

"Ain't no advantage," Pat Williams said when asked about the running backs being more rested than the defensive line. "We have to smash Ricky and Ronnie Brown. That's our game plan, go out there and smash it."

After leading the NFL in rushing defensive from 2007-2009, the Vikings were second last year. They gave up 79 yards rushing to the New Orleans Saints, but the run defense is ranked seventh.

"Yeah, we're kind of happy with it, but at the end of the day we ain't satisified with it," Pat Williams said. "So I think we have something to prove Sunday."

The Saints rushed 25 times and Drew Brees threw 36 passes. But when it came to salting the game away with a five-point lead with their last drive of the game, they went to the ground game and Pierre Thomas delivered. He ran five times for 22 yards, compared to three Brees passes, before the Saints were able to kneel down with the win.

"We weren't worn down," Williams insisted. "We had some guys out there and basically our defense is gap-sound. So there was a couple guys (out) there that were out of the gap, so we ain't worried about it. We're going to bounce back Sunday."

RICE RETURNS

Receiver Sidney Rice returned to Winter Park last week and Monday finally talked about his recovery from hip surgery on Aug. 23.

Rice remains on crutches for a couple more weeks and isn't rushing the process since he can't play until six weeks into the regular season anyways.

"Right now I'm just focused on getting in here every morning, doing my rehab, doing what it takes to get back out there on the field," he said.

That includes at least daily rehabilitation sessions at Winter Park, with work in the pool a couple times a week, and so far things have been progressing nicely.

"No soreness at all. I can move my leg, everything like that," the Pro Bowl receiver said. "It's just staying on these things (crutches) right here for a little while. I had to keep the pressure off it and let everything heal up on the inside. I'll be on these for a couple more weeks and hopefully after that, it's just as soon as my muscles can start back to firing, I'll be back out there on the field."

Last year, Rice had 83 catches for 1,312 yards, a 15.8-yard average – all statistics that led the Vikings – along with eight touchdowns. Rice hurt his hip in the NFC Championship Game, although he continued to play after that, and he went through most of minicamp before re-injuring it.

He elected to try to let the injury heal on its own, a possibility according to specialists, but after it wasn't getting any better he decided to have surgery on Aug. 23.

He ended up watching the season-opening loss to the New Orleans Saints from his house.

"It's real tough. I want to be out there with my teammates," he said. "It's a great group of guys and I feel like I could have helped them out a little bit out there. It's tough not being out there," he said.

"… I'm staying positive. That's the only thing I can do, support my teammates and try to help them out in any way possible that I can without being out there on the field, answering any questions that they have. Right now, staying positive, staying focused on what I need to do to get back out there on the field."

Rice hasn't set any timetable for his return.

"I'm just going to continue coming in every morning, working hard, doing my rehab and getting better and better every day," he said.

PLAYING DOWN THE WORKOUTS

Just because the Vikings are working out four receivers on Tuesday doesn't mean a signing is imminent.

Vikings coach Brad Childress said on Friday that he wasn't looking at signing a wide receiver – the Vikings currently have only four on the 53-man roster – but they are still scheduled to work out four of them on Tuesday.

"We actually had those shaped up the middle of last week," Childress said. "It's a thing that we do every week. We usually bring people in to try to get a look at them. We've had numbers of people through here to look at, whether it's the offensive line, whether it's in the secondary. We'll bring guys in tonight for a workout tomorrow. What it does is it gives us a mind's-eye picture of what those guys look like should we require somebody down the road. Not just wide receivers, I might add. They're not the only people that are coming in here. It's what you do."

The Vikings are slated to bring in receivers Sam Aiken, Reggie Brown, Ruvell Martin and Demetrius Williams for the workout. Brown has familiarity with a similar style to the Vikings' offensive system since he spent the first five years of his career with the Philadelphia Eagles, where Childress was offensive coordinator before becoming the head coach with the Vikings in 2006. Brown's most productive seasons were 2006 and 2007, when he combined for 107 catches for 1,596 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was released by Tampa Bay during this preseason.

Childress was asked if that familiarity with him is an advantage for Brown.

"From that standpoint, I haven't seen Reggie in four or five years," Childress said. "… He's a good young man. I'll have to refresh my memory with what I see."

But the coach did admit that familiarity with the West Coast offense can be a benefit.

"It can be an advantage, but I think really we are looking at what kind of hops they have, how they catch the ball, how they get in and out of breaks, those kinds of things," Childress said. "If we've got to get a guy and get him up to speed, our coaches have done a good job with that, of embracing the guy that has more ability. It's always our job to get ability in front of experience."

NOTES

  • CB Chris Cook and DT Jimmy Kennedy, neither of which practiced at all last week, were back on the field participating on at least a limited basis on Monday.

  • RB Toby Gerhart was also practicing on Monday with a sleeve on his right knee. He looked to be getting third-team reps behind Adrian Peterson and Albert Young as he eased back into practice.

  • If Vikings fans were disappointed with Percy Harvin's 20.5-yard average on kickoff returns, the Dolphins had two kickoff returns in their opener that averaged 13.5 yards.

  • Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf were at Winter Park on Monday and attended practice.


    Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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