Williams Wall case still ongoing

Lost amid the Favre hype is the fact that the Pat and Kevin Williams are still fighting to overturn their four-game suspensions. Those are still under appeal, with another step in the long process taking place Wednesday.

Lost in all the fervor over the signing of Brett Favre was news of interest to Pat Williams and Kevin Williams. About the same time helicopters were stalking Favre from the airport to Winter Park, oral arguments were being heard in St. Paul concerning the StarCaps case.

Arguments were heard in the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. At question before Judge Paul Magnuson is whether he was correct in sending the Williamses' portion of the NFL Players Association suit that was thrown out earlier this summer back to Minnesota state court. Magnuson threw out the case with the exception of the Williamses state claims, saying that Minnesota drug testing laws supersede the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and its players.

It is important because, if the three-judge panel at the appellate level sides with Magnuson's ruling, the case in the state courts will continue – most likely not until after the 2009 season. If, however, the judges decide that Magnuson overstepped his judicial authority, barring an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the state case would become moot and the NFL could impose its four-game ban on the Vikings defensive tackles.

The plan is for the court of appeals to render its decision prior to the start of the regular season, although no specific date was given, so once again the Williams Wall will have to wait and see what the decision will be. It seemed as though the Vikings were out of the woods (in the short term anyway) with the Williams case, but it would appear that it is back on and the suspensions may still have to be served at the start of the 2009 regular season.

THURSDAY NOTES

  • Jared Allen returned to practice, but on a limited basis, Wednesday. Allen apparently played a prank on defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, claiming the ankle injury would sideline him for six weeks, prompting Frazier to say that Allen "almost gave me a heart attack." But Frazier added, "He's going to be fine. He's a big jokester."

  • The ankle injury to Sage Rosenfels looks a little more serious than originally thought when he stayed in the preseason opener and played well. He is likely to sit out Friday's game with the Chiefs.

  • Bernard Berrian sat out practice again Wednesday with a hamstring pull sustained in last Friday's game with the Colts.

  • There are conflicting reports as to the status of Tarvaris Jackson with the Vikings, but the recurring theme seems to be that he will be odd man out among the three quarterbacks, with some reports claiming he could be traded by the weekend. Considering Rosenfels' ankle injury will likely keep him out of Friday's game, it would seem unlikely that it will happen that soon, if it happens at all.

  • The Lions claimed LB Robert Francois off waivers Wednesday. Francois was released by the Vikings to make room for Favre on the 80-man roster.

  • Favre-a-mania continues at the ticket window. As of late Wednesday evening, the Vikings had sold 3,200 season tickets and more than 11,000 single-game tickets in about a 30-hour span.

  • The Vikings Locker Room store at the Mall of America opened Wednesday with about 40 people waiting in line to get the available Favre jerseys, which were flying off the shelves all day.

  • The Favre signing also affected the Vikings' line in Las Vegas. Prior to the signing, the Vikings had 25:1 odds to win the Super Bowl. As of Wednesday night, that number dropped to 10:1.

  • In a radio interview Wednesday, Cardinals safety Antrel Rolle said he is going to go after Favre when the Cardinals play the Vikings later this year. The Cardinals are bitter for a couple of reasons. First, they got humiliated at home last December by the Vikings, but earlier in the year, Favre lit them up for six touchdowns while playing with the Jets.

  • Former Viking Shaun Hill is apparently well ahead in the quarterback battle with Alex Smith at 49ers camp.

  • Could the Vikings close the season with three straight prime-time games? NBC, which signed a two-year extension with the NFL to televise "Sunday Night Football," has the flex option in the final six weeks of the regular season to move games in and out of prime time. The Vikings have prime-time games Sunday night Dec. 20 at Carolina and Dec. 28 at Chicago. Their final game of the season is against the Giants and, with many believing that game could be potentially for home-field advantage in the playoffs, it could easily be the game moved into prime time, making John Madden potentially considering un-retiring himself so he can continue his bromance with Favre.


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