Judge Gary Larson said the fact that the NFL violated Minnesota state law in applying its drug policy wasn't enough to stop the league's four-game suspensions that the two were handed in 2008 in the StarCaps case.
While appeals are nearly certain to take place — the Court of Appeals likely will be the next stop — this ruling means the Williamses are that much closer to being replaced by Jimmy Kennedy and Fred Evans for a four-game stretch.
A key for the Vikings and the Williamses will be if Larson reinstates his injunction, pending the appeal. Larson told lawyers from the players and the league to submit briefs and plans to make a ruling on that in the next two weeks.
The Vikings' opening four games of the 2010 season include three against teams that finished in the top six in the NFL in rushing offense last year.
The Vikings will begin the season Sept. 9 against New Orleans, which was sixth in the NFL in rushing and will turn to Pierre Thomas as its primary running back. The Vikings also will face the Dolphins (fourth), Lions (24th) and the New York Jets (first).
Kennedy was re-signed to a two-year, $6 million contract in March after becoming a free agent, and Evans received a second-round tender as a restricted free agent that will pay him $1.8 million in 2010.
The two have been valuable backups who received time when one of the Williamses came out, but their jobs could be that much more important. Evans likely would play the nose tackle in place of Pat Williams, and Kennedy likely would replace Kevin Williams at the under tackle.
Kennedy had three sacks last season. Evans was a surprise inactive in Week 1 and ended up playing in 13 games. However, the Vikings would not have put a second-round tender on him if they did not like him.
The Vikings have two other defensive tackles on their depth chart with 2008 fifth-round pick Letroy Guion and free-agent signed Tremaine Johnson, who spent last season on the practice squad.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He was a major influence in my career. Not only was he a great coach, he was better man. He was a great friend and I will miss him dearly. I will always love him." — Vikings defensive end Jared Allen on the influence of his first NFL defensive line coach, Bob Karmelowicz, who recently passed away at the age of 60.