Vikings Pro Bowl tackles Kevin and Pat Williams learned this morning that they will be allowed to play this season after a three-judge panel affirmed an earlier ruling in their StarCaps case.
The case will go to trial after the season, meaning the Williamses can enter the season knowing that they will be able to play every game without the prospect of having to serve their four-game suspensions.
The Vikings obviously were happy with the news. Coach Brad Childress informed the players this morning.
"It was a big weight off our shoulders," Kevin Williams said. "Instead of playing game by game we know what's ahead of us. We can play this year. I think it's big for the team to know where we stand and for the other guys, it's not, 'Oh, it popped up this week. We can't play.' So it's a big sigh of relief for us and I think the whole team."
Said Pat Williams: "I really don't have [a reaction]. I left it in God's hands and everything worked out. I was always cool with it. I didn't have any problem. I put it in God's hands. I never put in the media hands, coach's hands, nobody's hands, always God."
Asked he was excited about the news, Pat Williams said, "I'm always excited. I'm always happy. I'm happy every day. Ain't nothing going to bring me down trust me. I don't let nobody mess my day up."
The decision removes that uncertainty hanging over their heads. The Vikings have expressed confidence in backup tackles Fred Evans and Letroy Guion throughout the process, but the defense now doesn't have to enter each week wondering if the suspensions were coming down.
"I’m excited for Pat and Kevin and that for the time being they can put that behind them," Childress said. "We’ve always respected the league system and knew it was squarely in their hands. It was an unknown and now it’s known and looking forward, not looking backward."
Childress said wide receiver Bernard Berrian (hamstring) in progressing but he declined to say whether he will play Sunday against the Browns.
"This is his first full week of practice so he’s getting up to speed but he’s not a 100 percent guy right now," Childress said. "You don’t miss three weeks and be 100 percent."
Berrian, who was injured in the first preseason game at Indianapolis, has not played in a game since the injury and was limited in the first two days of practice this week.
"We’ll just have to see," Childress said when asked if it would be a game-time decision. "We’ve got a walk-through tomorrow. ... I don’t know if it will clear itself up tomorrow or clear itself up at game time. We’ll just have to listen to his body."