Safety Madieu Williams missed the entire preseason and the first seven games of the regular season with a neck injury. After starting two games and playing well, Williams is doubtful again, this time with a shoulder injury suffered in practice.
The Vikings have spent most of the 2008 season without Madieu Williams
and some believe it isn't a coincidence that the team is 2-0 since the bye week, when Williams made his return to the lineup. But, after just two games, it appears as though Williams will be sidelined once again.
Williams, who injured his shoulder during the special teams portion of practice Wednesday, has shown little improvement since. On Friday, he was wearing a harness on his injured left shoulder and is being listed as doubtful for Sunday's game at Tampa Bay.
The injury, which Williams said happened when he was chasing down a ball and fell awkwardly, is likely going to keep him out of action. He was limited in practice both Thursday and Friday and isn't expected to start vs. the Buccaneers.
In two games, Williams has been very active, registering 14 tackles and one interception. If Williams can't go, rookie Tyrell Johnson
, who started the first seven games of the season, will take his place.
Vikings equipment man Dennis Ryan told VU earlier this week that the Vikings will wear their white road uniforms Sunday. There was some speculation that the Bucs would opt to wear white and force the Vikings to wear their typical home purple – a dark color that absorbs heat much more readily tham the standard road whites. However, with the temperatures expected to be in the upper 60s, heat and humidity aren't expected to be big factors.
Aside from Williams, the only other player listed on the team's injury report is DE Jared Allen. He is listed as questionable with a shoulder injury, but, like last week, he is expected to start and play throughout the game.
The Bucs injury report is considerably more extensive. Safety Jermaine Phillips (forearm) is out, TE Alex Smith (ankle) and QB Brian Griese (elbow) are listed as doubtful; RB Earnest Graham (knee), FB B.J. Askew (hamstring), RB Warrick Dunn (back) and WR Ike Hilliard (shoulder) are listed as questionable; and LB Derrick Brooks (knee) and DT Jovan Haye (foot) are listed as probable.
Although both Dunn and Hilliard are listed as questionable, they fully participated in practice all week. Graham was limited all three days in which the Bucs reported injuries.
The Bucs had to make the decision whether Carnell Williams would be activated off the physically unable to perform list on Wednesday, but he has already been ruled out of Sunday's game.
Daunte Culpepper was pulled in goal-line situations last week for the Lions. On Friday, Detroit head coach Rod Marinelli said that he will remain in the game for those situations this week. The only passing touchdown the Lions had last week came when backup Drew Stanton came off the bench and threw a TD.
With the return of Deion Branch to the lineup for Seattle this weekend, former Vikings WR Koren Robinson will be demoted to the No. 3 receiver.
Winning in Tampa will be no small feat for the Vikings. The Bucs are 4-0 at home this season.