Williams returns to practice

Safety Madieu Williams hadn't practice since the early stages of training camp, but that inactive streak ended Thursday as he returned to the practice field in a limited role.

Madieu Williams returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday, the first time the safety has practiced since early in training camp, when he suffered a neck injury.

According to one report, the injury, which still hasn't been fully detailed publicly, could have been career-threatening, but Williams said he was never that concerned about it.

"I wasn't worried at all because I knew exactly what happened and the trainers and coaches knew what happened, so it was a matter of me knowing exactly what needed to be done," he said. "All I needed was rest. I definitely took the time to heal up and have it looked at. It's good to be back out here."

Head coach Brad Childress wouldn't speculate on Williams' availability for Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans, but it seems far-fetched to believe he could play. Williams is taking the approach that Thursday was just the first day in a series of test to see how he reacts to increased action.

Despite it being a neck injury, he said he's not concerned about taking that first hit in game action, whenever that time might come.

"Not at all because I know exactly that I'm going to be prepared. I feel good. I feel confident in going out there and sticking my head out there," Williams said. "I think the training staff, (head trainer Eric Sugarman) and the guys in the training room have done a heck of a job in terms of bringing me along slowly and making sure that I'm good to go.

"The call is going to be Coach Childress' call. My thing is to practice hard and show him that I'm ready to go."

Williams said he doesn't even recall what happened to spark the injury and ensuing layoff. "I just knew that my neck was sore and it just hurt. I just went in and after a while, just looking at the X-rays and the MRIs, it just needed to rest," he said

Williams said it was a complicated injury, but "I just knew that my neck was constantly sore and it was just one of those things that as a precaution they just wanted me to stay off of it and let it rest."

Now that the rest is coming to a close for the safety that signed a six-year, $33 million free-agent contract with the Vikings in March, the task in front of him is to get back into football shape and off the cross-country team, as Childress likes to say.

"Putting on the helmet today for the first time, it felt a little heavier than I was used to," Williams said. "It's been a while since I've had it on. I felt good.

"I knew eventually I was going to be back out there, I just didn't know when. To be out here is definitely a plus. The sooner the better in terms of being out here and running around and going through the individuals and going through the whole team period and feeling pretty good and running around. Those things, you've got to continue to build."

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