Kevin Williams was back on the practice field Monday after a week of resting the plantar fasciitis in his foot, but he could be in for a longer battle.
"Hopefully it won't be. It's not going to completely go away. Hopefully it will feel better the time Sept. 11 [the regular-season opener against San Diego] rolls around and we'll be going," Williams said after Monday's practice.
The Vikings are familiar with the foot injury. Last year, former Vikings tackle Bryant McKinnie said he was dealing with the issue since the end of the 2009 season and it lasted more than six months. Tight end Jim Kleinsasser also dealt with the painful condition earlier in his career.
"We were talking [Monday] about that, actually," Williams said of Kleinsasser. "Basically, he was saying you're going to have to treat it and treat it basically all around the clock, trying to keep that heel loose or stay loose so it keeps stretching."
The plantar fascia is the ligament connecting the heel bone to the toes, supporting the arch of the foot, according to Web MD. "If you strain your plantar fascia, it gets weak, swollen, and irritated (inflamed)," the web site explained. "Then your heel or the bottom of your foot hurts when you stand or walk."
Williams laughed at the amount of devices used to try to treat the condition.
"We've got a foot roller, slant board … tennis ball," he said. "It's just a bunch of things, just keep it rolling, trying to keep it loose. Not so much tension on the foot."
For now, Williams isn't wearing orthotics, instead relying on a special way of taping the foot.
His return to practice gave the Vikings a gauge of the progress he made in one week, but head coach Leslie Frazier said last week that rest is the best treatment. However, Williams wanted to see how it felt and wanted to become active again.
Despite the cautionary statements and evidence, Frazier is hopeful his six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle will be ready for the regular season.
"Pretty optimistic that he'll be ready. He moved around fairly well, much better than I anticipated," Frazier said. "He was able to go through some of the drills. I wasn't sure if he'd be able to do that. Hopefully [Tuesday] he can do a little bit more, but we've got some time before that first game. So I'm optimistic that he'll be ready."
Even if he's not 100 percent – with this injury, he might not be all season – Williams sounded prepared to try to play through the pain.
"Just another [injury] that I'm going to play through. I'm not too much worried about it," he said. "It might limit some things, but I'm going to do what I can."
BULLISH ON BALLARD
Who is leading the Vikings in preseason sacks? Not Jared Allen or Brian Robison. It's rookie Christian Ballard.
Of course, backups tend to get more preseason playing time than the starters, especially when they are draft picks the team is trying to develop quickly, as is the case with Ballard.
"We thought we were really getting a coup in getting him where we took him in the draft. He has not disappointed," Frazier said of Ballard, the team's fourth-round draft choice in April. "Looking forward to watching him play in this ballgame and we're going to try to move him around a little bit and just see how he does, but he's done a good job for us."
Ballard has two sacks and could be used as a three-technique defensive tackle (think Williams) or be a contributor at defensive end, much like the versatile role Brian Robison served before taking over as the starting left defensive end for the Vikings this year. Robison, Allen and Everson Griffen were all fourth-round draft picks as well, as was former Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Williams to ‘play through' foot pain
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