By Joseph Gunther
Kevin Williams is set to make the 2013 season debut after suffering a knee injury during the preseason.
Veterans Letroy Guion and Fred Evans and rookie Sharrif Floyd could not fill the shoes of the 6-5, 311-pound star in Sunday’s 34-24 loss to the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.
Lions running backs Reggie Bush and Joique Bell combined for 115 rushing yards and 168 receiving yards.
“Win or lose, my personal experience is, I hate missing a game,” Williams said. “You want to be out there contributing, helping the team win. For us to lose the way we did, letting Reggie (Bush) run the ball effectively and then the screens, I just felt you always could help out and do your part.”
Defensive coordinator Alan Williams is happy that Kevin Williams may be able to play against the Chicago Bears Sunday at Soldier Field.
“I think he will be ready,” he said. “Just having the experience of a guy out there that has seen it before, and not only that, Kevin is still a good football player.
“His leadership, and when the guys look at another guy like that in the huddle, it gives them confidence that ‘Hey we’re going to get the job done.’ So I can’t measure it, Kevin being back. We’re glad he’s there.”
Other members of the Vikings defensive line are excited about the possibility about having their unit back at almost full strength.
“Just to see a familiar face out there is going to be nice,” Jared Allen said. “Not having him out there on the field is different.”
Sunday was the fifth time Kevin Williams has missed a game in his 11-year career. The Vikings went 2-0 without him due to injury in 2005 with the Lions and St. Louis Rams averaging 106.5 rushing yards per game. With him out due to suspension at the beginning of the 2011 season, the Vikings went 0-2, allowing 91 rushing yards per game to the San Diego Chargers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Vikings had eight players listed on Wednesday’s injury report with four players limited and four players fully participated.
The four players limited in practice included offensive tackle Phil Loadholt (knee), cornerback Josh Robinson (quadriceps), center John Sullivan (knee) and Kevin Williams (knee). Sullivan was a new addition to the injury report after suffering a knee injury on the much-publicized illegal block from Ndamukong Suh on Sunday.
The four players that were full participants in practice included linebacker Larry Dean (shoulder), linebacker Erin Henderson (heel), safety Mistral Raymond (shoulder) and safety Jamarca Sanford (shoulder). Sanford was on the report Wednesday, but was removed Thursday. Raymond did not play in Sunday’s loss, but the injury was not discussed as a reason.
No one on the Vikings roster is expected to miss the game because of injury. Robinson, Sanford and Sullivan are the new additions to injury report from Week 1.
For more Vikings news and updates, visit Vikings Central.
Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. Joseph is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.