New court case raises more questions

The Vikings received a temporary restraining order to have the Williamses return to practice, but another suit has been filed Thursday morning. The plot thickens.

The Vikings and Saints are two teams that need to be at full strength heading down the stretch if one or both has a good chance of making the NFC playoffs. The two now seem to be joined in a common purpose.

The suit filed in federal court Thursday morning not only involves Vikings defensive tackles Pat Williams and Kevin Williams, but also three Saints players – defensive linemen Charles Grant and Will Smith and running back Deuce McAllister.

The importance to the Vikings of having the suspensions delayed or reversed is two-fold. First, the Vikings have a brutal final three games against division leaders Arizona and New York and current wild card Atlanta. The Saints play Chicago, which remains only one game behind the Vikings, a week from today on Thursday Night Football. Having the Saints at full strength can only help the Vikings' chances of making the postseason, since they could pose a legitimate threat to the Bears at Soldier Field if they have Smith and Grant on their defensive front.

Pat and Kevin Williams were given a reprieve Wednesday from Hennepin County District Court, where Judge Gary Larson granted a temporary restraining order. This latest suit was filed on behalf of the players by the NFL Players Association and is in federal court. Almost immediately after Judge Larson ruled in favor of the Williams Boys, the NFL almost immediately responded that the matter should be transferred to U.S. District Court, presumably with Judge David Doty, who has overseen NFL court cases for years, dating back to the lawsuit filed against the league by the USFL and subsequently the ruling that opened the NFL to free agency. However, word this morning claimed that Doty may not hear the case and that it might be moved to Judge Patrick Schiltz in St. Paul.

The players are expected to be able to resume practicing while the appeal is being heard, which could be good news or bad news for the Vikings. If the appeal is denied within the next couple of weeks, the suspensions would still be enforced – except now the four-game suspension would stretch into the playoffs. However, it is believed that such proceedings could potentially drag on for months, which would delay any possible suspensions until after the season.

VU will keep you updated, as this situation remains fluid and changes can come quite quickly.


  • There is some uncertainty what the blocking of the suspensions will do to Jimmy Kennedy, signed by the Vikings yesterday after the suspensions had been announced.

  • To show how deep the NFL maintains its attempts to have a competitive advantage, the Giants placed Plaxico Burress on the non-football injury list, which meant they could add a player to the 53-man roster. Did they add a wide receiver? No. On Wednesday morning, they grabbed Leger Douzable, a defensive tackle who spent training camp with the Vikings. It was believed the Vikings would be scouring other teams' practice squads for talent in the event they lost both of the Williamses. Douzable would have been an ideal replacement, since he played for the Vikings in the preseason, knows the coaches and personnel and the scheme the Vikings run.

  • The Pro Football Hall of Fame has asked the Vikings for some memento from the 99-yard touchdown from Gus Frerotte to Bernard Berrian that tied a league record. Following the last 99-yard TD, the Hall got the jerseys of Jeff Garcia and Andre Davis, the Cleveland tandem that hooked up on the play.

  • The Metrodome has been the sight of the longest TD pass in league history (99 yards), the longest run in history (99 yards by Tony Dorsett) and the longest play in history (a 109-yard missed field goal return by Antonio Cromartie), as well as the most rushing yards in a single game (296 by Adrian Peterson).

  • The Vikings signed defensive back Roderick Rogers to the practice squad Wednesday. He has spent three games with the Broncos before being released.

  • Anthony Herrera missed practiced Wednesday to be with his brother, who died early Wednesday morning. He is expected back to practice today.

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