Vikings Injury Updates, Good and Bad

The Vikings have a number of players coming back from serious injuries and continuing to work through nagging ones that plagued them during the 2006 season. See what head coach Brad Childress had to say about many of them, from Erasmus James to Chad Greenway to Pat Williams to Cedric Griffin.

As media access was granted to Wednesday's offseason conditioning program, several players were on the practice field running to and around cones, which is more than they were able to accomplish – at least in a group session – when the Vikings were still playing in 2006.

The team ended the season with nine players on their injured-reserve list – a designation that automatically ends their season. That group was composed of cornerback Dovonte Edwards, linebacker Jason Glenn, fullback Joey Goodspeed, linebacker Chad Greenway, cornerback Cedric Griffin, defensive end Erasmus James, defensive tackle Spencer Johnson, fullback Tony Richardson and safety Tank Williams.

At the NFL owners meetings earlier this week, Vikings coach Brad Childress answered several injury questions from's Adam Caplan in a breakfast session.

While most of the injured-reserve crew of 2006 is expected to be near full strength by the time training camp opens in late July, the biggest question mark has to be defensive end Erasmus James, who suffered a torn ACL in the second game last year.

"He's coming back good. I want to say he's on a hard surface either this week or next week. He struggled a little bit early, but he had some interesting things going on with his knee, just in terms of how his knee scared," Childress said. "I don't think it's something the doctors see very often, but … it was something that held him (back) early, just in the breaking of the scare tissue. But right now since he's had that second procedure and they cleaned him back out and cleaned up that scare tissue, he's made big jumps and I believe he'll continue to make big jumps."

At the NFL Scouting Combine in February, Childress said James should be ready to participate at some level during training camps, and this week he said he wasn't expecting any team activity for him in spring minicamps.

"He could be out there doing some individual drills, but I don't think he'll be like a (Chad) Greenway, who is going to go through everything. He'll be right up against the wall at training camp…. He could be a PUP (physically-unable-to-perform) guy to give him another week to practice and see the drills that are inherent to football. I don't know – he could be a one-practice-a-day guy," Childress said. "I do know that from now until training camp he'll be rehabbing. It's not like when everybody else gets a chance to go in June."

Linebacker Chad Greenway also tore his ACL in his first preseason action in August, but he said toward the end of the season that he was doing well and making a quick recovery. Three months later, Childress supported that statement.

"He's doing great. He's really one that you have to hold back from a protocol standpoint, make sure that he's not too far over the top," Childress said. "Along with those other ACL guys, you have to be mindful. You can be stubborn and say, ‘You've got to go.' Somewhere there is going to be some swelling. Whether he ends up at a spot going to one-a-day or every other day, I think you get diminishing returns if you don't let that leg get acclimated. He's got all the physical things taken care of. The thing that you can't create is the fatigue part of it, where those muscles go into fatigue. He's none the worse for wear right now."

Childress termed Greenway as full-go and said he has been playing racquetball with fellow linebacker Ben Leber, along with others on the staff.

James' training camp regimen likely will be decided as he goes.

"When you think about guys off of ACLs, typically they're better two years out. He's going to be a big bonus to get well and give us some quality snaps. You just never know how that responds to the training camp grind. I think the important thing is for (James) to get it right before he does get back out there."

Defensive tackle Pat Williams competed most of the season with a nagging knee problem, but that didn't stop him from being named to his first Pro Bowl.

While praising Williams and talking about his developing relationship with the likable Williams, Childress said, "He's got that phenomena of having 350-plus pounds on your kneecap."

Childress also said cornerback Dovonte Edwards, who broke his arm during the preseason, was "full throttle" right now.

Fellow cornerback Cedric Griffin was participating in the offseason conditioning program and dubbed himself fully back to health. But Childress said he's still making his way back from a neck injury that caused him to miss the last two games of the season.

"He's still coming. When those nerves keep getting hammered and hammered and hammered, he's almost back," Childress said of physical cornerback. "He's in the program doing fine. They can give them all the stim (stimulation) they want, but those nerves kind of come back at their own pace."

Childress said Griffin did not have surgery, but doctors continue to work on his range of motion and are using a machine that uses needles to contract the muscles and gauge his range of motion and strength.

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