While the Vikings in general and Brad Childress in particular have been more forthcoming with the media in the last several months, when it comes to injuries, there is precious little that is said. Williams is a prime example of this. When he was held out of the preseason opener and again on Sunday – the first practice after that game – the reason cited was that he was suffering from neck spasms. Word coming out of Mankato is that the injury could have been much more and, in some reports, even potentially career-threatening.
When asked about the severity of the injury, Childress didn't want to get into specifics, saying somewhat sarcastically, "What did I see (in the media reports)? Four weeks? Five weeks? Six Weeks? We just don't know. I don't know. I'm not clairvoyant."
Whether the product of Childress cutting his professional coaching teeth under Andy Reid, who at times has had something of a combative relationship with the Philadelphia media, or his own philosophy of what is the media's business or the fans right to know, he has always been reluctant about discussing injuries. In his first season with the Vikings, he asked reporters not to disclose injuries that they witnessed during open practices, saying that it would give opponents a competitive advantage. The standard answer to questions concerning injured players last year was "we'll find out Wednesday" – a reference to the league's new injury report policy instituted last year. Thanks to people like Bill Belichick, who has listed Tom Brady as probable with a throwing shoulder injury every week for the last four years, the league required that more detailed injury reports be created to show what injured players took part in practices and what players sat out. In some ways, it has given coaches an option to let the injury report speak for itself and force media types to speculate on the severity of injuries.
It doesn't have to be star players affected by this personal personnel policy of Childress'. While much has been made over the last week concerning the placing of Heath Farwell and Jayme Mitchell on injured reserve, attempts to track down what injury put guard Mike Jones on I.R. were like pulling teeth – either people claimed not to know or simply wouldn't tell.
There is always a shroud of secrecy around the NFL – with some teams it is more pronounced and the local media is viewed as being an unwitting spy for the opposition. From the perspective of the media covering the team, they're simply trying to impart as much information to their football-starved readers or listeners as they can. What we do know is that Madieu Williams is going to miss time. How much is up to Childress to let the rest of us know. Three weeks? Six weeks? The season? Until he decides to let the fans know, we can only speculate.