According to Scout.com's Adam Caplan, Williams' injury is being called a sprained neck and there was also nerve damage associated with the injury. A source familiar with the situation said Williams will be out through at least the third week of the season, and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said the fourth game of the season remains the goal for Williams' return.
"That's what we're hoping for. We're all crossing our fingers and hoping that happens. From what I've been told, he's making great progress and we're on target," Frazier said.
Williams hasn't even played a preseason game with the Vikings since injuring his neck in training camp, but the Vikings made him one of their top free-agent priorities to replace Dwight Smith and team with veteran Pro Bowl safety Darren Sharper. The Vikings gave Williams a six-year contract that averages $5.5 million over the life of the deal, and he's been staying involved with the meetings at Winter Park but not attending the practices.
"We see him every day and he's in tune with what we're doing," Frazier said. "From what I've been told by our trainers, it's just a matter of time before he's back on the field. We're counting on him at some point to be back with us in uniform, but he's attended all the meetings and getting up to speed with what we're doing defensively."
In Williams' absence, the Vikings have rookie Tyrell Johnson ready to start his first Monday night game in Lambeau Field.
"His ability to be able to handle that environment will probably be his biggest challenge," Frazier said. "I think all those things we're doing defensively will probably be things he's been a part of in the past. The environment is going to be so different that what he's experienced in the preseason or even at Arkansas State."
MORE FUN WITH JACKSON
Earlier in the week Brad Childress had some fun with reporters who were asking about Tarvaris Jackson's knee and his mobility.
"He's looking like a pirate with a wooden leg right now, out there moving around. He's kind of making spot throws and standing in one place. He really has no movement skills to speak of at all. It looks like he has cement shoes on," Childress said.
On Thursday, he followed that smokescreen up with Wisconsin reporters, adding to the myth of Jackson's demise.
"Yeah, it looks like he's got a prosthetic now. It's gone from wooden to prosthetic, kind of like the ones that marathoners wear," Childress said.
Childress said it all in good humor, knowing that Jackson would appear on the injury report with full participation listed.
Jackson said the injury won't be in his thoughts much when it comes game time.
"Once the game starts, I think it will be the last thing on my mind," Jackson said.
Jackson admitted that he is now looking to pass first before looking to scramble, but he said it wasn't always that way.
"(It was a) gradual process to get in that mode. You want to be a passer first. I have the benefit (that I can) run, but that should open up lanes for us, passing lanes for our receivers," he said. "When I run, I still try to make sure I'm still looking downfield, making sure guys aren't open, then I'll turn to the run. But I had to kind of get out of that mode where when I took off running it's pretty much me running instead of looking for guys open."
PRESSURE, AS USUAL
Just as quarterbacks are often judged after three years of development, so are new head coaches. But Childress said he isn't assigning any more pressure on himself than he usually feels.
"I look at every year as a pivotal year. There's not a year since I started coaching back at the University of Illinois as a graduate assistant that I didn't think that I had to do my best job to hang onto my job," he said. "Every single year, that's just the nature of coaching. That's why I always say, "Nobody puts any more pressure on me than me."
Despite having three years of free agency and drafting to put his mark on the team, Childress isn't ready to completely label this as being "his" team.
"I'd say it's getting there. I don't think that success is ever final. You're never finished," he said. "You're always looking to upgrade. You're always looking to teach better, to get their attention better, enhance performance. You're always looking to try and reshape it. I don't think you can ever sit on hold because that's just not where we are right now."
FINE WINE FOR WISCONSIN
Darren Sharper will be making another return to play against his former team on Monday in Green Bay. Wisconsin reporters asked Childress about the play-making safety and the coach used an analogy that has become popular among the Vikings lately.
"He'll tell you he's like fine wine. He only gets better as time goes on. He takes great care of his body, which has allowed him to have a great career here and not a lot of missed time with injuries," Childress said. "You know, he's got an eye for the football and a nose for the football. I don't see much of that eroding."
FROM DISTRACTION TO ACTION
The Packers are probably happy to finally get to play the games on the field instead of the back and forth in the media created by the Brett Favre "unretirement" saga.
"It was definitely a training camp filled with a lot of emotions and a lot of different people involved in that," Packers QB Aaron Rodgers said. "We tried to stay focused as a team on the things that we could control and the guys that were at practice and let the organization and Brett handle the other situation. Once that worked itself out, we wished Brett nothing but the best in New York and we are focused on what we have to do to improve this year."
Rodgers was asked for his thoughts on Vikings defensive end Jared Allen and decided to comment on his appearance as much as his playing skills.
"I know he had a sweet mullet for a while and he had that cool sack celebration that I hope he doesn't get to do on Monday," Rodgers said.