Herrera handling his heavy heart

Vikings guard Anthony Herrera played Sunday after dealing with the death of his brother last week. He said his Vikings family helped him deal with the loss in his genetic family.

With the excitement of the Vikings 2008 season and the potential of locking down a NFC North title as early as this Sunday, there are many reasons for the players to be upbeat.

But Vikings guard Anthony Herrera is preparing for Arizona with a heavy heart. Last Wednesday, his oldest brother passed away. While Herrera said he did not want to discuss that specifics of his brother's death due to his wish for the privacy of his family, he said having a family in the Vikings locker room has made his grief more tolerable.

"It's all about having your teammates," Herrera said. "They've been great. But this is my job. You have to do what you have to do."

Herrera started last Sunday's game despite missing much of the week of practice, but said returning to work was his only option. In fact, he said that being around his teammates has made it easier to handle his internal pain.

"It's something that takes your mind off it," Herrera said. "It helps to have so many people around you that care."


  • With Gus Frerotte expected to be out at least this week and possibly next week with a reported fracture in his lower back, expect to see Tarvaris Jackson keep the starting QB job if he plays effectively during the down time for Frerotte. It has become clear in recent weeks that Frerotte's body is breaking down from the strain of playing NFL football and the Vikings may view their best chance for advancement into the playoffs and beyond with the younger Jackson. If he performs close to expectations, the job could be his for the rest of the season.

  • ESPN reported this morning that Pat Williams and Kevin Williams likely will be safe from potential suspensions for this week. With the judge tied up until tomorrow at the earliest and the Saints players involved being allowed to play tonight against the Bears, ESPN's John Clayton believes the ruling won't come until early next week in regard the Saints and the Williams Wall.

  • Earlier this week, the Redskins released DE Erasmus James, who never played in the regular season for Washington. But, the Vikings will still get the seventh-round pick in next year's draft that was traded to them by the Redskins.

  • The Vikings returned to practice without Jared Allen or Brian Robison on the field Wednesday. Robison had an arthroscopic procedure early last week that is expected to sideline him again this week. Allen, who took a hit to the left knee with a shot from Detroit tackle Gosder Cherilus, was also a no-show on the practice field. Head coach Brad Childress said Allen had an MRI on the knee, but not did indicate what, if anything, was revealed in the imaging.

  • In all, five Vikings didn't practice Wednesday. Along with Frerotte, Allen and Robison, guard Artis Hicks (elbow) and wide receiver Darius Reynaud (foot) sat out practice as well.

  • For the Cardinals, only LB Clark Haggans (foot) and DT Alan Branch (cheek) were key players that sat out Wednesday's practice.

  • The results of the Pro Bowl balloting could be announced as early as today. For those who followed the balloting, fans of the Redskins stuffed the ballot box like no others in history – so much so that, heading into the final week, 20 of the NFC starters would be Redskins if left strictly up to fan voting.

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