The Vikings are standing firmly behind Kevin Williams, calling the hit he took to his right knee Sunday night "definitely dirty" and unnecessary.
The Vikings defensive tackle suffered a hyperextended right knee, a "significant" bone contusion and a posterior capsular strain but no ligament damage, the team announced Monday. Williams didn't see a low block from San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Joe Looney coming in the third quarter of Sunday's game, a hit that caused his knee to hyperextend.
"It was definitely dirty. I feel there's no room in the game for that kind of play. It's not my decision what happens, how he gets reprimanded for that, but it was definitely dirty and not good," linebacker Desmond Bishop said.
"It definitely sucks. I feel for Kevin. There's really no explanation for it."
Looney told CSN Bay Area that he wasn't trying to take a cheap shot at Williams.
"I was just trying to finish my block. I meant no harm by the block at all," Looney said.
"I tried to find him after the game to apologize, to let him know I'm not that kind of player who's trying to hurt guys and maliciously take violent hits at people. I've been injured myself. I know what it's like."
Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway wasn't buying Looney's explanation.
"You can say what you want about you didn't mean to hurt him, you didn't mean to go (there), but the reality is you did that and you didn't have to," Greenway said Tuesday.
With no ligament damage, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said he is hoping Williams will be ready for the regular-season opener on Sept. 8 at Detroit. But Frazier knows the situation could have been much worse.
"Just extremely happy that things are where they are. It definitely could've been worse," he said. "The fact that we have a chance to have him back for Detroit is big for our football team."
The Vikings flagged that play for the league to review.
"They concur. It's not the type of play they want in the game for player safety reasons," Frazier said. "There's a big emphasis regarding player safety and that play really endangers our players' safety. It's not something that the league wants. It's not something that any of us want as we are trying to make the game safer for our players."
The NFL is compiling data on knee injuries this year, the Associated Press reported Tuesday, and hits to knees could draw a penalty in future years if the data from this season prompts the league's competition committee to action next spring.
Bishop doesn't subscribe to the theory that players trying to make an NFL roster are more inclined to make that kind of play late in a preseason game (Williams' injury happened in the third quarter of the third preseason game, when starters are more likely to be in the game).
"That's just dirty play. I think that's just the attitude of an individual. I don't think it has anything to do with being late in a game or trying to make the roster," Bishop said. "That wouldn't help you make the roster; that would get you cut faster."
If Williams isn't available for the opener, first-round draft pick Sharrif Floyd would take his spot in the starting lineup. But Floyd is also recovering from a knee injury suffered in the first preseason game and exacerbated in the second game. He had a "minor procedure" to help alleviate the pain.
But, because of Williams' uncertain status, Frazier is inclined to hold Floyd out of the preseason finale Thursday night so he isn't hurt, too.
"Now we have a guy that's been one of the best at his position for a long time and dealing with an injury he didn't have to deal with," Greenway said. "The reality is if the roles were reversed, and it was a defensive guy going into a quarterback or a receiver or a high-profile player, you tell me what's going to happen. We've seen the fines. We've seen what's gone on in this league. I think you have to be consistent. If you're going to go down that route, you better be consistent with every player, offense, defense, no matter what number's on the back of your jersey."
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.
Vikings: Hit on Williams was dirty
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