The Vikings have three Pro Bowlers on the defensive line, and the status of each one of them is uncertain. It at least looks like the defensive tackle tandem of Pat and Kevin Williams is safe for this Sunday, but Jared Allen's shoulder is another question mark.
The Vikings defensive line could face some potentially bad news in the coming days.
Defensive end Jared Allen
suffered a sprained right shoulder last week against Houston and it remains to be seen if he will be able to play Sunday against the Packers.
Meanwhile, there has been no word on the potential four-game suspensions that defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams
reportedly are facing for taking a diuretic banned by the NFL.
The report about the Williamses was broken by Fox Sports on Oct. 26, but the NFL and the Vikings have had little to nothing to say about the situation.
"I'm not approaching it any differently than we approached it last week," coach Brad Childress said when asked about the status of the two Pro Bowl players for the coming game. Childress declined to comment on if he had been given any indication about a timetable from the NFL in regard to potential action.
The Williamses, meanwhile, played well in Sunday's victory over Houston. Kevin Williams
had a sack, two tackles, a quarterback hurry and a pass breakup. Pat Williams had three tackles.
The Texans gained only 62 yards on the ground against a Vikings run defense that is among the best in the NFL.
"It doesn't bother me," Pat Williams said of any potential off-the-field distraction. "On Sunday, my mind's free. I just basically go out there and whup my man in front of me. I have all sorts of other problems during the week, too. I've got kids; I've got a wife just like everybody else."
Fox's initial report about the situation said the Williamses' appeal had been delayed, and at this point it's unclear when they would go before the league. Until that happens, they are almost certainly in no danger of being suspended.
As for Allen's shoulder, the Vikings likely will have more on his status on Wednesday when players return to begin preparation for the Packers game.
QB Gus Frerotte had a season-high 111.6 passer rating and threw three touchdown passes in leading the Vikings over the Texans on Sunday. The veteran improved to 4-2 as the Vikings starter and now has eight touchdowns and eight interceptions this season. He was picked off once against the Texans, as CB Jacques Reeves returned a tipped ball 44 yards for a touchdown, but that was still an improvement on the four interceptions he threw in his previous start against Chicago.
RB Adrian Peterson showed in the Vikings' victory over the Texans why you can never assume he's off his game. Peterson rushed for only 36 yards on 15 first-half carries but rebounded to finish with 139 yards on 25 attempts. Peterson's long runs in the second half included 40-, 21- and 22-yarders. Peterson has rushed for 100 yards in five of the eight games in which he has played this season.
RB Chester Taylor continues to get limited carries behind Adrian Peterson but remains an option in the passing game. He tied Bobby Wade for the team lead on Sunday with three catches and is third on the Vikings with 21 receptions for 161 yards. Taylor remains a more reliable player than Peterson in pass protection. The interesting thing will be to see how long he remains content in a backup role. There is no doubt Taylor could start for many teams.
TE Visanthe Shiancoe caught another touchdown pass Sunday and remains tied with WR Bernard Berrian for the team lead with four. That catch was the only one of the game for Shiancoe, who has 18 receptions for 248 yards on the season.
WR Bernard Berrian caught two passes against the Texans, but both turned out to be huge receptions. Berrian's 55-yard catch on the first play from scrimmage set up a touchdown, and he later caught a 49-yarder for a touchdown. Berrian did much of the work on that play. His 104 yards receiving gives him three games with more than 100 yards this season. Berrian, signed to a six-year, $42 million free agent contract last offseason, is averaging 20.7 yards per catch, which leads NFL wide receivers who have more than 20 receptions.
WR Sidney Rice played in his second consecutive game Sunday after missing time because of a knee injury suffered in Week 2. Rice continues to see limited time but he did make the most of his one reception against the Texans, as it went for an 8-yard touchdown.
WR Bobby Wade has three receptions vs. Houston and now has a team-leading 33 catches for 363 yards. Rice's return should help Wade because it will enable him to line up more often in the slot position. Wade admits that is his preference.
LB Napoleon Harris started his first game at middle linebacker and finished with four tackles. Harris is set to hold that role for the remainder of the season now that E.J. Henderson is out for the season because of a foot injury.
S Madieu Williams started and played in his first game of the season Sunday after being out since early in training camp because of a neck injury. Williams finished with eight tackles and also had a key interception in the end zone and a pass defensed.
S Tyrell Johnson is no longer starting now that Madieu Williams has returned, but he still has a role. Johnson is being employed at safety in a dime defense that calls for Williams to move into a coverage role, usually against a linebacker. Johnson also is playing on all special teams.