The Vikings reached a truce Saturday with receiver Troy Williamson, overturning team policy and agreeing to pay him the game check they withheld last week. Williamson, in turn, said he would donate the money to charity in memory of his maternal grandmother -- whose death caused Williamson to miss the Nov. 4 game against San Diego.
The decision capped several days of increasing national attention on the issue. But coach Brad Childress said the impetus for the decision was a "very candid" meeting with a select group of veteran players, as well as discussions with owner Zygi Wilf and his family.
Childress informed Williamson and the team of the decision Saturday morning.
In a statement released through agent David Canter, Williamson said last week's pay of $25,588.24 would go to a charitable foundation to be determined. He thanked the "thousands of supporters who spoke up for me on my family's behalf" and added: "My wish is that the issue is over, and that I can now go about being a football player and [put] this matter behind me."
Williamson left the team for nine days, from Oct. 29 to Nov. 6, after Celestine Williamson's death. During that period, he also spent time with his brother Carlton, who has been in a Georgia hospital and in a coma since a serious car accident last month.
Like most teams, the Vikings do not offer players extended bereavement leave; indeed, NFL players do not typically miss games for personal reasons. As a result, the Vikings refused to pay Williamson last week because of what Childress termed a "business principle."
On Saturday, however, Childress said: "It's more important to get it right than to be right."
Childress meets every Friday afternoon with his player leadership council, a group that includes cornerback Antoine Winfield, fullback Tony Richardson, defensive tackle Pat Williams, offensive lineman Steve Hutchinson and others. In their most recent meeting, Childress said, "Those guys were able to be very candid with their conversations.
"They were thoughtful, productive and positive," Childress added. "We spoke at length about it. The intent of the leadership group is to have productive discussion and to serve as a conduit to the rest of the team. The big thing we talked about is that everyone grieves differently."
In an interview last week, in fact, Williamson said: "I'd throw this football thing away for my family."
He added: "I know it's a business and I know [the Vikings have] got other obligations when it comes to them and their family also. I know how I feel towards mine."
Williamson accompanied the Vikings to Green Bay on Saturday. He said in his statement that he will have no further comment about the issue.
The Vikings followed through on a rumored roster move, releasing quarterback Koy Detmer and re-signing cornerback Ronyell Whitaker.
Detmer spent 96 hours with the team this week as an emergency insurance policy, for which the Vikings were obligated to pay him $42,352.94 -- or 1/17th of a 10-year veteran's minimum salary. His departure means the Vikings are confident that either Tarvaris Jackson (concussion) or Kelly Holcomb (neck) is healthy enough to serve as their No. 2 quarterback today.
Brooks Bollinger, the Vikings' only fully healthy quarterback, is expected to start.
Whitaker is one of the Vikings' better special teams players, and he also provides depth at cornerback behind Winfield, who is questionable because of a hamstring injury.
Staff Writer Judd Zulgad contributed to this report.