Vikings coach Brad Childress fielded more than a dozen questions about a Fox Sports report Sunday that said defensive tackles Pat Williams and Kevin Williams could be suspended four games for violating the league's policy on anabolic steroids and related substances.
"I don't have any reason to believe that they won't play on Sunday," Childress said Monday at Winter Park, most of the players' first day back at work since getting Tuesday through Sunday off for their bye week.
Childress wouldn't comment specifically on Pat and Kevin Williams' situations, citing a policy against comment on "league-mandated things."
The league's policy on steroids and banned substances lists 20 masking agents – including the water pills that were cited in the Fox Sports report, Bumetanide – that are also banned.
Childress said the Vikings aren't going to allow the report to become a distraction.
"I'd say, and like our players feel, it's a family and personal issue. We're not going to allow any of it to be a distraction – any of it. It's unfortunate that … someone's able to put their thumb on the scale, you guys have to write about it. The fact that you write about it puts it in the court of public opinion. Whether it's wrong or right, you're writing about it," Childress said.
"I think it fits right in the same family as injuries, suspensions, anything like that. Everybody in this league goes through a variety of different (problems). When you have 53 men, you're going to have a lot of different situations that occur. You just talk about it. You talk open and are transparent about it."
That talk, however, is largely reserved for the locker room, not for the media or public consumption.
"My comment is pretty much going to be I don't know anything about that," said cornerback Cedric Griffin.
"I don't even want to talk about it," said offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, who was suspended for the first four games this season for violating the league's personal conduct policy after being arrested for a fight outside a Miami nightclub earlier this year.
Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe said the focus should remain on the Houston Texans, the Vikings' next opponent.
"It can't be a distraction because we've got to stay mentally focused on the Houston Texans. We have players step in just in case anything happens," he said. "Who knows if anything is going to happen? But I just found out about it today, but of course I have no comment on that."
Violators of the league's substance abuse and anabolic steroids and related substances policies are supposed to be kept confidential until the player is suspended, like what happened last year with defensive end Ray Edwards, who missed the final four games of the season after violating the anabolic steroids and related substances policy.
"It's supposed to be held in strict confidence. From the standpoint that somebody knows that shouldn't know, I'd say that it's not good," Childress said.
So, while the players wait to find out their fate in the wake of the report, Pat Williams was left to decline at least two interview requests in the locker room and Kevin Williams wasn't available during the media's afternoon access to the players.
Yet Childress is probably right in assuming that the Williamses will be available for Sunday's game against the Texans because suspended players aren't allowed to be around the team in the week preceding a game for which they are suspended, and the Fox report indicated that the appeal still hasn't been heard.
Childress expects Williamses to play Sunday
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