The Vikings switched their practice habits this week, although not as drastically as they would have liked, in preparation for the Packers. Get the news and personnel updates from both camps as the Vikings and Packers prepare for their wild-card match.
Vikings coach Mike Tice
nixed plans to practice outdoors this week because of single-digit temperatures and minus-20 degree wind chills.
"We'd like to, but it's just so brutally cold," Tice said. "We have the doors open in the indoor facility. So, we'll get the temperatures down to more where they'll be on game day.
"There's no way we can practice on the field outdoors. It's frozen solid. So, that's the problem with that. If we get the temperatures down in the indoor facility that will give us the same effect with also being able to get more things done as far as moving around on a better surface."
Originally, Tice looked into obtaining some heating equipment to thaw the outdoor fields. Management didn't see the value in that.
Tice then wanted to conduct walk throughs outdoors. But the temperature dipped too far.
Sunday's wild-card game at Lambeau Field isn't expected to be played in temperatures as cold as the Twin Cities have been this week. It's expected to be sub-freezing, but nowhere near single digits.
Although the Vikings shied away from the elements, they haven't backed off from contact in practice this week. The more aggressive approach is part of Tice's plan to toughen a team that has lost four of its past five games and seven of its past 10.
"I think you worry so much sometimes about keeping guys fresh, and it tends to make you lose the edge," Tice said. "The players can get fresh when we get finished with this run.
If it turns out that somebody gets hurt, then somebody gets hurt. That's just the way it goes."
CB Brian Williams is the latest Viking to battle the flu. He didn't practice Wednesday, but was back Thursday and was removed from the injury report. He is expected to start against the Packers on Sunday.
RB Moe Williams missed practice Wednesday and was walking around with his right ankle in a protective boot for precautionary reasons. He practiced on Thursday and was removed from the injury report. Williams will play his usual role against the Packers. "Moe's been here so long," coach Mike Tice said. "He knows everything like the back of his hand."
WR Kelly Campbell, who suffered a separated shoulder last week, was able to practice Thursday, but he remains questionable for Sunday's game at Green Bay. Even if he suits up, he isn't expected to return kickoffs.
SS Willie Offord will make his first start since Oct. 20, 2002 when the Vikings play at Green Bay in a wild-card playoff game. Offord replaces SS Corey Chavous, who fractured his left elbow last week and probably won't play again even if the Vikings were to win on Sunday. "I hate to see Corey go down the way he did," Offord said. "But now it's my turn."
QB Daunte Culpepper won his second consecutive Korey Stringer Good Guy Award, presented annually by the Twin Cities media to the player who is most cooperative with the local reporters. The award is named in honor of the former Viking who suffered a heat-related death in training camp in 2001.
William Henderson, a grand old man in Green Bay, suddenly has become the grand honored old man.
The soon-to-be 34-year-old fullback made his first Pro Bowl last week. On Thursday, he was named to the first team on the Associated Press All-Pro team.
Henderson received 16 votes from a panel of 48 writers and broadcasters, one more than Kansas City's Tony Richardson.
"This is a little bigger than the Pro Bowl," Henderson said. "I'm kind of blown away, to be honest with you. This was nothing I was expecting."
Henderson is the first fullback in Green Bay since Jim Taylor in 1962 to make AP first team. He's also the first running back of any kind on Green Bay since John Brockington in 1971 to make AP first team.
The AP thought so little of the fullback position that it didn't even include it the last four years. Tampa Bay's Mike Alstott won in 1997, '98 and '99 even though he was more of a running back than a fullback. Arizona's Larry Centers won in '96. There also was no fullback on the team in 1994 and '95.
C Grey Ruegamer will start against Minnesota. He split time with rookie Scott Wells in Chicago but the coaches opted for experience even though Ruegamer has had two shaky outings against Vikings NT Spencer Johnson. "Wells didn't do anything to disappoint me but I thought Ruegamer, with his line calls and managing the game, I thought he did pretty well," coach Mike Sherman said.
DT Cletidus Hunt knows why he was benched in Chicago for second-year man Cullen Jenkins. "I just had a down year this year," he said. "So I'm looking forward to them counting on me in the playoffs and making up for it next season."
DE R-Kal Truluck crawled on his elbows and belly after sacking Chicago's Chad Hutchinson in the closing seconds. "I don't think there's a need for somebody who has 2 1 /2, 3 sacks or whatever to do that," coach Mike Sherman said.
G Marco Rivera has had two solid games against Vikings DT Kevin Williams, but knows their third game Sunday might be the toughest of all. "I consider him a defensive tackle in a class by himself," Rivera said. "He's really young and he's going to be a great one in this league. He's very explosive."
S Darren Sharper says there is no way the Packers can expect to play Cover-2 exclusively against the Vikings and live to tell about it. "We have to mix it up a little bit, do a lot of different things," he said. "If you do just that the whole game they'll find a way to gash you."