Pat's Back: DT Returns to Practice

Pat Williams returned to practice after spending the first week working on his conditioning. See what his teammates had to say about his return, plus find out who else returned to practice, who left with an injury and who looked good.

Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Pat Williams returned to the practice field Monday morning, and while he wasn't talking, his teammates were.

"It's great to have the big man in the middle back," defensive end
Kenechi Udeze said. "I love him to death. He's my roommate, he's my friend."

Williams fell short of the team's weight and conditioning goals before training camp began and was placed on the physically-unable-to-perform list, meaning he could work out on an adjacent field with a trainer and only watch from the sidelines as his teammates practiced.

He was activated Monday morning and participated in some of the drills.

"He energizes us, he's one of my favorite players," cornerback Fred Smoot said. "It's good to have him back in pads, colliding with everybody."

Last season, Williams played more of a run-stopping nose guard, starting all 16 games for the fourth consecutive season and led the linemen with 88 tackles, including nine for loss. He was mentioned in the discussion for the Pro Bowl.

"I think he was a little winded out there," Udeze said. "He's still getting his football legs back."

Kevin Williams, who plays the opposite defensive tackle, remained out of practice with swelling in his right knee. Spencer Johnson replaced Kevin Williams during Monday's practice.


Running back Chester Taylor, who has a sore groin, participated in all of the individual drills but not any of the team periods Monday morning. He's being worked back slowly because the team has big plans for him.

"Twenty carries, four, five balls thrown his way," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "If he's getting 20 carries, we're doing a pretty good job in the run game."


Rookie cornerback Cedric Griffin had an impressive morning practice, breaking up a deep pass and delivering a big hit on receiver Marcus
Robinson. In one-on-one drills, receiver Ryan Hoag had gotten behind
Griffin, but when the pass was slightly underthrown, Griffin closed quickly to get the breakup.

Later in seven-on-seven drills, Griffin moved up to the line of scrimmage to bump Robinson, but he hit him hard enough to knock him down.

"Do you want some peanut butter with that jam," one of the defensive backs yelled from the sideline.


  • Rookie linebacker Chad Greenway returned to practice Monday and participated in all of the drills. Greenway suffered a concussion during practice Saturday.

  • E.J. Henderson provided the big hit of the day. Fullback Tony Richardson made a short reception across the middle, and as he turned to make a move Henderson hit him high, knocking Richardson to the ground.

  • Free agent cornerback Ronyell Whitaker suffered what looked like an ankle injury during a passing drill. He had to be helped off the field, then later walked to the locker room on his own power.

  • The Vikings had five free agents participate in a workout during the morning practice. Though there was no official word from the Vikings, the five appeared to be defensive backs. Safety Tank Williams injured his knee Saturday and might miss the entire season, causing some concern about depth at that position.

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