Pat Williams hopes for playoff return

Pat Williams is hoping to make it back to the field in two weeks (or three, if the Vikings get a bye), at which point the Vikings also hope they are in the playoffs.

Pat Williams is known around the league as a run terminator. He has one simple phrase for those who think he's out for the year with a shoulder injury: "I'll be back."

Williams, who left last week's game with Arizona with what has been diagnosed as a fractured scapula, has a recovery time of anywhere from two to six weeks. But Friday, he promised that will be on the low end, which would make him available for a playoff appearance.


Williams will miss his first start in almost six years Sunday. His streak of 72 consecutive starts, the most of any defensive tackle in the league, will be snapped when the Vikings face the Falcons.

Fred Evans will start in Williams place against Atlanta.

SATURDAY NOTES

  • Matt Birk will donate $50,000 of his paycheck from Sunday's game to the Gridiron Guardian initiative to raise money to provide financial support to retired NFL players in crisis and facing catastrophic conditions experience by many retired players. Several other Vikings players will donate part of their checks as well, including Jared Allen, Gus Frerotte, Jim Kleinsasser, Steve Hutchinson, Ben Leber, Chad Greenway, Ryan Longwell and John Sullivan.

  • The final injury report was released Friday. Artis Hicks (triceps) and Darius Reynaud (foot) are listed as doubtful. Jared Allen (knee) and Gus Frerotte (back) are listed as questionable. Adrian Peterson (ankle) and Brian Robison (knee) are listed as probable.

  • Peterson was limited in practice again Friday, but many believe that is merely a precaution to keep him as fresh as possible for the stretch run and hopefully a playoff berth.

  • The Falcons have some key players listed as questionable, including DE John Abraham, DT Grady Jackson and OT Todd Weiner. But according to Atlanta media outlets, all three are expected to play Sunday.

  • Two Cardinals players were fined for horse-collar tackles in last week's game, according to the Star Tribune. Darnell Dockett was fined $7,500 for his horse-collar on Tarvaris Jackson and Roderick Hood was fined $5,000 for a tackle on Adrian Peterson on the sidelines at the end of his 32-yard run. Ironically, although many Vikings fans were convinced at the time that the tackle was a horse-collar, Hood wasn't penalized at the time. The official word from the league was charging Hood with unnecessary roughness.
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