Vikings missing defensive parts
The Minnesota Vikings remained without two key members of their defensive line Thursday as they continued preparations for the NFC title game Sunday against New Orleans.
Tackle Kevin Williams and left end Ray Edwards missed a second consecutive day of practice. Coach Brad Childress indicated that while he hopes both can practice on Friday, he isn’t making any promises. “We’ll see how much progress they’ve made,” he said.
Edwards suffered a sprained right knee in the third quarter of the Vikings’ playoff victory over Dallas last Sunday; Williams also injured his left knee in the game. Williams left the field Thursday morning following the Vikings’ walk-through wearing a protective sleeve on his left knee.
The NFL Network reported late in the day that Williams has a bone bruise on his knee and is expected to start.
The official status of both should become clearer Friday afternoon when the Vikings issue an injury report for Sunday.
Having Williams at less than 100 percent would be a blow for a run defense that finished second in the NFL this season. The Saints were sixth in rushing offense and likely would be more inclined to try to run up the middle if they believe Williams, a five-time Pro Bowl honoree, is hobbled. Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier knows well the impact his two big tackles, Kevin and Pat Williams, have on opposing offenses.
Courts helped Vikings, Saints
The Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints had some off-the-field help from the courts to make it to the NFC championship game.
Two starting defensive linemen on each team had four-game suspensions put on hold this season, with a court fight over their punishment for use of a banned diuretic still pending.
Vikings defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams are contending that state labor law can take precedence over the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement. Their case is scheduled for a trial in March.
When a judge decided last year to delay those proceedings until after the season, the league allowed Saints defensive ends Charles Grant and Will Smith to play as well out of fairness.
The Vikings play the Saints on Sunday for a spot in the Super Bowl.
New York creates new island
Manhattan is now “Revis Island.”
The unofficial name change came during a pep rally for the New York Jets held during rush-hour Thursday in Times Square.
Gang Green faces the Indianapolis Colts Sunday for the AFC championship game. The Jets are just a win away from the Super Bowl.
Thousands of Jets fans roared their approval when Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a large municipal-style sign printed “Welcome to Revis Island” with the team’s logo in one corner.
That’s the nickname Jets All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis had given his man-to-man coverage of the opposing team’s wide receiver earlier this season.
The sign will be posted in Times Square as long as the Jets are in the playoffs.
Colts ready for Jets
Peyton Manning and his Colts have spent nearly a month preparing for the type of aggressive, 3-4 scheme played by the New York Jets.
Indianapolis hopes to turn all of that practice into a trip to the Super Bowl.
The Colts and Jets meet Sunday in the AFC championship game, a rematch from less than a month ago. Last week, Indianapolis opened its playoffs with a 20-3 win over Baltimore, a team strikingly similar on defense to the Jets.
Both the Jets and Ravens blitz frequently and feature versatile personnel. Jets head coach Rex Ryan was the Ravens’ defensive coordinator last season, and Baltimore’s philosophy hasn’t changed much since.
The Colts believe they caught a break by playing the Ravens and Jets back-to-back.
“The Ravens definitely help,” Colts center Jeff Saturday said. “They’re not exactly the same, but they do have general philosophies that are similar. They give you a lot of different looks, they try to trade guys, move guys’ positions.”