Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson explained his suspension and is hoping to earn his way back to a game-day active player.
returned to Vikings practice Wednesday after serving a four-game suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy, but maintained his innocence.
Henderson, who was hit with a four-game suspension last month, declined to specify what the drug was that he tested positive for, but said it was the result of a prescription legally obtained during training camp to help deal with an allergic reaction he suffered at the time.
"I know the league has a zero tolerance policy, but this wasn't something I took to help me," Henderson said Wednesday. "I know I didn't do anything wrong or violated the league's drug policy. I understand where the NFL is coming from, but I think there have to be some cases where medical reasons allow. I still don't believe I didn't anything wrong or violated league rules."
Henderson said he was happy to be back with his teammates, but said his situation was different from that of Pat Williams
and Kevin Williams
. Both of the Williamses have appealed suspensions due to their involvement with the StarCaps issue, while Henderson's suspension was not for a supplement available at health stores like GNC. His was a prescription that he believed was legal under league rules.
The Vikings have had a roster exemption for Henderson during the suspension. He said he isn't sure if he will be activated for Sunday's game with the Saints, but said he spoke with head coach Brad Childress and will do what he can to be ready for Sunday's game if needed.
"I don't know if I will play or not," Henderson said. "(Childress and I) talked about it and he said I will get a chance to be active this week. I just want to help the team wherever I can, so we'll see where it goes from there."
Two of the Vikings' front four were missing in action at practice Wednesday. Ray Edwards, who suffered a strained MCL in Sunday's win over Dallas, and Kevin Williams, who is also suffering from a knee injury, sat out Wednesday's practice. Williams is expected to play Sunday, but Edwards' progress will likely end up making him questionable on the injury report and probably a game-time decision.
Four other Vikings starters were limited in their participation in Wednesday's practice – Antoine Winfield (foot), Steve Hutchinson (shoulder), Ben Leber (ankle) and Bernard Berrian (ankle).
Four Saints players sat out practice Wednesday – safety Darren Sharper (knee), TE Jeremy Shockey (knee), CB Malcolm Jenkins (hamstring) and WR Robert Meacham (knee).
Much has been made about the addition of Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams as to the improvement of the New Orleans defense. But, if history means anything, Williams should be concerned about facing Brett Favre. Favre has a 4-0 record going against Williams' defenses, but, as his 0-3 playoff record vs. Dallas will attest, at this point of the season, numbers from previous years don't hold the water they might during the regular season.
Former Viking Tony Richardson missed Wednesday's practice with the Jets while recovering from a rib injury.
The Saints filled their open roster spot that was used to re-sign veteran running back Deuce McAllister last week. Wide receiver Adrian Arrington, who has spent the year on the Saints practice squad, was elevated to the 53-man roster.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.