StarTribune.com

December 2008


Robison takes same approach

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

With Vikings starting left defensive end Ray Edwards expected to miss Sunday’s opening-round playoff game against Philadelphia because of an injury to his left knee, Brian Robison is preparing to start at the position. “I’m going to practice like I would any other week,” Robison said. “I’m not going to make it anything bigger than what it is. I can’t really change up a routine, that’s not good to do.”

Robison, in his second season, had 2.5 sacks in 15 games serving as a backup at both end spots. The 6-3, 259-pound Robison also was used as a tackle in passing situations in order to provide a speedy passing-rushing presence from the inside. He missed the Vikings’ 20-16 victory at Detroit on Dec. 7 after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee after he hurt it the week before against Chicago. Robison, though, made a quick return.

“I really wanted to play the first week after I got it done,” Robison said. “Obviously, after the first day of rehab, that didn’t happen. But I have a will where I don’t want to be out. I don’t want to be out at all.”

Playing left end would provide a challenge for Robison in that he’s more of a speed player and left ends usually have to be strong against the run. But the fact the Eagles like to throw the ball so much, and get running back Brian Westbrook involved via the pass, might be to Robison’s advantage. “Typically we end up waving guys through there but he’s done a good job when he’s gone in there and given us snaps,” Childress said. “But I’m sure we’ll roll bodies through there if Ray can’t go. He’ll have a tough order of business with [right tackle] Jon Runyan.”

Robison actually could be in a spot to get more than one postseason start. If the Vikings beat the Eagles and advance to face Carolina in the divisional round, there appears to be a possibility Edwards could miss that game as well. 

Edwards injured his knee in the second quarter last Sunday against the New York Giants in the regular-season finale and did not play in the final half. He finished the season with five sacks to rank fourth on the team in that category behind right end Jared Allen (14.5 sacks), defensive tackle Kevin Williams (8.5) and linebacker Chad Greenway (5.5). A third-year player, Edwards started 15 games this season. He did sit out in Week 4 at Tennessee because of a shoulder injury.

As for the status of nose tackle Pat Williams, he was limited today in practice after missing two games because of a broken right shoulder blade suffered Dec. 14 in Arizona. It was encouraging for the Vikings that Williams could do some work but I wouldn’t count on him definitely playing against the Eagles. Childress admitted that Williams’ injury is one he could make worse by trying to play through — Jared Allen’s shoulder problem was one that doctors said could not get any worse — and thus the Vikings might not want to take any chances.

That means the Vikings line could be without two of its starters for this game.

Meanwhile, defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier is scheduled to meet with the Detroit Lions next week to talk about that team’s vacant head coaching position. The meeting with Frazier will be in Minneapolis if the Vikings beat Philadelphia and in Detroit if the Vikings’ season has come to an end. Look for Frazier also to get an interview in St. Louis.

 

Vikings get extension to sell tickets

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

The NFL has granted the Vikings a 24-hour extension on the television blackout deadline for their opening-round playoff game Sunday afternoon against Philadelphia at the Metrodome. That means the Vikings have until 3:30 p.m. Friday to reach a sellout and allow the game to be shown on local Fox affiliate KMSP (Ch. 9).

Tickets range in price from $30 to $160. The Vikings announced this morning they had 11,000 tickets remaining for Sunday.

Williams update: Brad Childress said Pat Williams did individual drills, some running and worked on the blocking dummy in practice. The Vikings will see how his shoulder responds tomorrow before they decide the next step.

Peterson’s sore ankle nothing new

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Running back Adrian Peterson said today that he has been battling an ankle injury for the past three weeks and that he re-injured it on Sunday against the New York Giants. Peterson limped off the field in the first quarter after taking a hit and fumbling the ball. It was Peterson’s NFL-leading ninth fumble of the season, but tight end Jim Kleinsasser was able to recover. Peterson, the NFL’s leading rusher this season, atoned for that mistake on the Vikings’ next series when he went 67 yards for a touchdown.

“It feels pretty good,” Peterson said when asked about his ankle. He then added, “I’ve been fighting with this ankle injury the past three weeks. Going out on Sundays I take a lot of shots in the legs, so it got twisted up on that play and it was pretty painful [against the Giants].”

That means Peterson originally hurt his ankle on Dec. 14 at Arizona — a fact that did not come out at the time. He rushed for 76 yards, his second lowest total of the season, the next week against Atlanta. Peterson finished with 103 yards against the Giants but had only 36 if you take away the touchdown run. Peterson was a bit late getting onto the practice field today but he was participating in individual drills.

Also on the field was nose tackle Pat Williams, who is attempting to return after missing the past two games because of a broken right shoulder blade. Williams has said “the plan” is for him to play in the Vikings’ first-round playoff game against the Eagles. The only player not practicing was left defensive end Ray Edwards, who suffered a knee injury against the Giants on Sunday.

Coach Brad Childress said today there is a “small chance” Edwards will play Sunday and we’ve been told the injury actually could keep him out for more than one week if the Vikings advance.

As for the Eagles, running back Brian Westbrook was limited in practice today because of knee and ankle injuries. Tight end L.J. Smith (shoulder) also was limited. Defensive end Victor Abiamiri (foot); guard Shane Andrews (back); linebacker Stewart Bradley (rib, groin); and tackle Jon Runyan (knee) did not participate. Wide receivers Hank Baskett (knee) and Kevin Curtis (calf); safety Brian Dawkins (back) and guard Todd Herremans (shoulder, ankle) were able to participate in all drills.

Williams, Edwards update

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Vikings coach Brad Childress said there’s only a “small chance” that defensive end Ray Edwards will play Sunday. Edwards injured his left knee last week while making a tackling. He participated in the morning walkthrough but was not expected to practice this afternoon. Brian Robison will start in his place.

Childress said Williams is expected to do some work in practice. They want to evaluate how much he can do. Williams missed the past two games because of a broken right shoulder.

Childress confirmed that the Detroit Lions have called to request permission to interview dsefensive coordinator Leslie Frazier for their head coaching job.

It was a busy locker room today. Lots of talk about the Eagles blitzing defense and defending Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook.

We’ll have more updates throughout the day.

Ticket update: 11,000 remain for Sunday

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

The Vikings announced they have about 11,000 tickets left for Sunday’s first-round playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles at the Metrodome. Under NFL rules those tickets need to be sold by 3:30 p.m. Thursday to avoid a blackout of the game, which is scheduled to be aired locally on KMSP (Ch. 9). However, Steve LaCroix, the Vikings vice president of sales and marketing and chief operating officer, said the team already has asked the NFL for a 24-hour extension until 3:30 p.m. Friday.

The request for an extension is usually made the day of the deadline but with Thursday being New Year’s the Vikings decided to be proactive with the league. The Vikings have not heard yet whether the extension will be granted but that likely will be the case.

 

Vikings return to practice

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone. The Vikings return to practice today to begin preparation for Sunday’s playoff game against the Eagles.

The big question today revolves around the health of Pro Bowl defensive tackle Pat Williams and defensive end Ray Edwards. Williams has said several times since Sunday that he hopes to play against the Eagles after missing two games because of a broken right shoulder. We’ll see if he’s able to practice today.

We’ll also get an update on Edwards, who injured his left knee while making a tackle last week. Coach Brad Childress did not have the MRI results when he addressed reporters on Monday so we should get a better idea of how serious Edwards’ injury is today.

We have our weekly news conference with Childress, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson and conference calls with Eagles coach Andy Reid and quarterback Donovan McNabb so check back throughout the day for updates.

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