With Kevin Williams still not practicing because a preseason knee injury, head coach Leslie Frazier is weighing his options for Williams' potential replacement.
Two scenarios seem most likely if Williams is unable to play. First-round pick Sharrif Floyd could take over for Williams, or the Vikings could go with the combination of veteran nose tackles Letroy Guion and Fred Evans.
Guion backed up Kevin Williams as the Vikings' "three-technique" defensive tackle for the first four years of his career before moving to nose tackle last year and starting 15 games. Guion could be a candidate to move back to that spot and have Evans play nose tackle in the base defense.
"Possibly. We moved him to the nose for a reason, but circumstances might dictate we might have to get him a few snaps there, but we'll see. We'll see how it goes," Frazier said.
The option that seems most likely after talking with Frazier is having Floyd play in place of Williams and keeping Guion and Evans rotating at the nose.
But Floyd was limited in Thursday's practice because of his own preseason knee injury.
"He's done well. He's practiced well. He looks good," Frazier said of Floyd. "It doesn't look like there are any ill effects from his injury, so full speed ahead."
But before any of those contingency plans will be enacted, Frazier is holding out hope that Williams will return to practice on Friday.
"We'll see if we're able to get anything tomorrow. We're hoping that we can. He is making improvements, but tomorrow will be a big day to determine if we have a chance to get him ready for Sunday," Frazier said.
"Just (need to) see him push up against people and move around a little bit. If we get that and just see how he responds to other guys pushing up against him, that would be a plus."
While Frazier's preference is to always have a player practice on Friday in order to play on Sunday, he acknowledged that Williams' status as an 11-year veteran of the league helps him gain a little extra leeway.
"It's true. You wouldn't have to see as much from Kevin as you would some other guys because of his experience, but still there are certain things you want to be sure he's able to do to protect himself," Frazier said. "We'll see tomorrow if he's able to do some of those things."
In addition to Williams not practicing and Floyd being limited, Guion was also limited with what appears to be a broken finger. He had a splint on it.
Also limited were LT Phil Loadholt (knee), WR Cordarrelle Patterson (back) and S Mistral Raymond (shoulder).
S Harrison Smith returned to full participation after being limited Wednesday with a back injury.
CB Chris Cook (groin), LB Larry Dean (shoulder) and LB Erin Henderson (heel) remained full participants.
For the Lions, DE Ziggy Ansah returned to practice Thursday on a limited basis after sitting out Wednesday with a concussion. S Louis Delmas remained limited with a knee injury.
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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