Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said he's hopeful that defensive tackle Kevin Williams and defensive end Ray Edwards are able to do some work in practice Thursday. Both players missed Wednesday because of knee injuries.
"They're improving," he said. "We're hoping that we can get some work out of them today, at the latest tomorrow."
"They are vital cogs to our success on defense so we need both of them," Frazier added. "You'd like to have them at 100 percent. Not sure if that will be the case but just their presence will make a difference."
All three coordinators plus Antoine Winfield and Sidney Rice held press conferences today. Here are some highlights:
-- Darrell Bevell talked about the importance of being able to communicate with the crowd noise at the Superdome. He said the Vikings used a silent count a number of times on the road this season.
The Saints defense had 39 takeaways this season, second most in the NFL.
"They do a great job of causing fumbles, do a great job of causing interceptions," Bevell said. "Obviously that's huge for them as a team to be where they're at with those turnovers. But that's what the defense does. [Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams] is trying to confuse you, trying to confuse the offensive line, trying to confuse the quarterback, maybe make a throw where the ball shouldn't go and you end up throwing it right to one of their guys. That's what his defense has thrived on. That's what his background is. It's something that we'll have to make sure we're aware of."
-- Frazier declined to comment on the Buffalo Bills hiring of Chan Gailey as their head coach. Frazier interviewed for the job two weeks ago.
-- It looks like Winfield will continue to play in the slot as the nicklel with Benny Sapp at left corner. Winfield, however, figures to see a lot of action. He estimated that the Vikings will be in their nickel package 70 percent of the time Sunday. Winfield said 40 to 45 percent is normal.
-- Winfield confirmed that he fractured his right foot. "I feel a lot better," he said. "I think when I first tried to come back it was kind of tough. Once I fractured my foot I really couldn't condition, really couldn't lift lower body so over the last couple of weeks I see myself getting my strength back and getting close to 100 percent."
-- Winfield texted former teammate Darren Sharper on Sunday after the Vikings defeated the Cowboys. Sharper's response? "It's on like Donkey Kong," Winfield said.
-- Naturally, special teams coordinator Brian Murphy got a number of questions about Saints punt returner Reggie Bush, who returned two punts for touchdowns against the Vikings last season. "We certainly had a good week of coverage last week," he said of the Dallas game. "Those guys that play in the kicking game are a good group of guys and when they set their mind to something they tend to find a way to get things done. They were challenged and they're going to be challenged against this week."
-- Sidney Rice said he feels he can make a play anytime defenses try and cover him one-on-one because of his size, strength and "catch radius" -- as wide receivers coach George Stewart refers to it.
"I don't know what the [wing] span is or anything like that but I feel comfortable with my size and my strength," he said. "Being a bigger receiver, facing smaller guys in one-on-one coverage, every receiver in the league loves one-on-one coverage."