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Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams

Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune file

Williams out, expected back for opener

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG
  • Star Tribune
  • August 23, 2011 - 9:16 PM

Vikings All-Pro defensive tackle Kevin Williams will miss the rest of the preseason, but is expected to be healthy enough to play in the regular-season opener in San Diego on Sept. 11.

"Plantar fasciitis is what we're dealing with," coach Leslie Frazier said. "From everything they tell me, we have to rest him, but he should be fine for the season opener. So that's what we're crossing our fingers hoping."

Plantar fasciitis is a painful inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick fibrous band of connective tissue that runs from the heel bone along the bottom of the foot to the toes. Williams had been playing through the pain in his left foot since camp opened, but finally had to leave the field when he was unable to push off the foot in Saturday night's preseason game at Seattle. That's when the team decided to send him to a foot specialist Monday.

"It's nothing bad," Williams said. "It's just resting up. I just don't want to injure anything or not know what's going on."

Plantar fasciitis is treated with rest, massage therapy, stretching and anti-inflammatory medicine.

Williams laughed when asked if there were any doubts he'd be starting in San Diego. He still faces a four-game suspension stemming from his positive test for a banned diuretic in 2008. There's speculation that the punishment could be reduced because the test occurred under the old collective bargaining agreement.

"Well," Williams said, "I can't tell you that exactly I'll be [in San Diego], with that other situation going on."

Kooistra has surgery

Right guard Scott Kooistra, who suffered a serious neck injury in Saturday night's game, had surgery Tuesday evening in Seattle.

"Successful surgery and praying for a full recovery," Kooistra's agent, Joe Linta, wrote in an e-mail Tuesday night.

Kooistra, 30, a career backup tackle, was among those competing for the Vikings' starting right guard position until suffering an severe injury to the C-2 vetebrae near the spinal column Saturday night. According to Linta, Kooistra played a couple of snaps after suffering the injury while pulling to block a defender.

Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said the team is still deciding whether to start Anthony Herrera at right guard. If he sits, Ryan Cook will be the likely starter.

Strong safety

The tightest position battle on the team is strong safety, where Jamarca Sanford and Tyrell Johnson are waging a competition that could go down to the final preseason game.

"That spot is still right where it was [at the start of camp]," defensive coordinator Fred Pagac said. "Jamarca started the first game. Tyrell started the second game. They have even number of snaps and they're going to continue to do so over the next two games."

Pagac said he "thinks" Sanford will start Saturday's preseason game against the Cowboys. He also said they'll be rolling in and out of the game. Pagac said he wants the defensive starters to play at least a half this week.

Etc.

• Running back Toby Gerhart missed Tuesday's two-hour, 15-minute padded practice because of ankle and Achilles' tendon soreness. Cornerback Asher Allen (toe) also sat out. Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe was back in full pads for the first time since suffering a hamstring injury two weeks ago. Percy Harvin also returned from a rib injury and made an outstanding one-handed catch, leaping high into the air to snag a deep ball from Donovan McNabb.

• Christian Ponder continued to work with the second team at quarterback, but Musgrave said the team hasn't decided whether Ponder or Joe Webb will work with the second unit on Saturday.

• The Vikings officially signed running back Caleb King, a rookie from Georgia that wasn't selected in Monday's supplemental draft. Guard Rodney Huntley was released.

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