Concussions clouding Vikings' starters

The Vikings are likely to be short two starters on Sunday night because of concussions to Brett Favre and Madieu Williams. This time, Favre will have to pass a test, which he hasn't done yet, not just talk his way back onto the field. Adrian Peterson is expected to play.

Concussions are the dominant topic on this week's injury report for the Vikings.

Vikings quarterback Brett Favre continued to sit out practice Friday as he waited to pass his NFL-mandated concussion test that is required before a player can return to practice or a game and he was listed as doubtful.

Favre suffered a concussion in the second quarter of Monday night's game against the Chicago Bears at TCF Bank Stadium when he was thrown to the ground during a sack and his helmet hit the cold FieldTurf surface of the outdoor stadium.

Favre hasn't practiced all week and interim head coach Leslie Frazier said he doesn't expect Favre to play against the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday night. So far this year, the Vikings haven't had any player with a concussion return to the lineup the following week, and Favre is presented the extra challenge of a shorter time period between games following a Monday night contest.

Frazier said Favre will "more than likely" take another concussion test on Saturday, but …

"There are other things besides just passing the test, so he wouldn't be able to make it," Frazier said.

While he isn't expected to play, Frazier said Favre would travel with the team to help the Vikings' less experienced quarterbacks navigate the Eagles' aggressive defense.

"Concussions are serious. You never really know how a guy's going to respond when he gets a concussion," said safety Eric Frampton, who suffered a concussion last year against Chicago.

Frampton's injury occurred before the NFL implemented a more stringent policy that takes a cautious approach on when to allow a player back to action. In Frampton's case, he returned to the game and played the following week, but he believes the policy that requires players to pass cognitive and physical testing before returning to action is a good one.

"It's a lot better. I've seen so many instances where guys get concussions and go out and get another one and it's more detrimental to their health," said Frampton, who also said he didn't regret going back into the game last year.

Frazier said Favre didn't make any progress from Wednesday to Thursday with his testing, but players learned last weekend not to count out Favre. He was listed as "out" on the final injury report Saturday before of a sprained shoulder, but the NFL allowed him to be upgraded to questionable on Monday and he ended up starting. Frazier learned his lesson on listing Favre as "out."

"No ‘outs' for Brett Favre. Just for him. It's a little different regarding him," Frazier said.

When it comes to Favre, nothing surprises receiver Greg Camarillo.

"Absolutely not. Last week, that really didn't even surprise me. Brett is such a strong-willed guy. Nothing can keep him down. He was obviously not 100 percent, but come game time nothing stops that guy. It's impressive. Definitely one of the hardest-working dudes, one of the toughest dudes, I've seen.

"… You come in here and see him dressing for the game and you go, ‘Oh, here goes Brett again.' That's just his nature, man. One of the toughest guys I've ever played with and they really don't make other guys like that. To go from not having a chance to playing to starting, it speaks about his character. It speaks about his toughness."

If Favre can't play – and this time it will be incumbent on him to pass the concussion test before he is allowed to talk his way back onto the field – that leaves rookie Joe Webb as the starter. He's a player that Camarillo described as a "super-athletic, big guy," but he's also super inexperienced, having seen relief duty in two games.

Behind Webb is veteran Patrick Ramsey, who was signed last week, and first-year player Rhett Bomar, who was signed off the New York Giants practice squad this week.

The Vikings also have a thin position at safety, where Madieu Williams also suffered a concussion on Monday night. He, too, didn't any significant progress in his concussion testing this week, according to Frazier, but he was listed as questionable.

Williams took a knee to the helmet while attempting to tackle Bears running back Matt Forte, and Frampton was the only other safety available to play. Frampton said Williams didn't start showing signs of a concussion until after the game.

"After the game he kind of just kept to himself and was quiet. You could tell he was a little bit out of it," Frampton said.

Williams' status could have Jamarca Sanford in the starting lineup, and it would be his first game back after suffering a concussion on Dec. 13 against the New York Giants.

"It's not a comfortable feeling. When you're one injury from being to your last backup and possibly having to play a corner at safety, that's not a comfortable feeling," Frazier said. "But that's where we are right now with injuries on our football team and we have to try to make it work."

Backup safety Tyrell Johnson, who had surgery on his knee, is out after missing the entire week of practice, and cornerback Frank Walker was given Friday off to rest his hamstring injury.


In addition to Johnson (out/knee), Favre (doubtful/concussion) and Williams (questionable/concussion), the Vikings listed running back Adrian Peterson as questionable with his knee/thigh bruise.

"He had limited participation and was able to do some things. I feel good about the fact that, I think he'll probably make," Frazier said about Peterson. "We'll have to see how he feels tomorrow, but it seems like we're heading in the right direction."

Sanford (concussion) and Walker (hamstring) are listed as probable.

The Eagles listed LB Stewart Bradley out and LB Keenan Clayton (hamstring) as doubtful. DT Mike Patterson (knee) is questionable. All other Eagles are probable, meaning there is a "virtual certainty" they will play.

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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