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Saturday's Notebook: Spinning the Williams Wall Setback

Thanks for an excellent first week here at DN, everyone -- unfortunate it had to end on the crappy news of the Williams Wall having most of their claims denied in federal court.

They Fought the Law

I know he's just doing his job by putting a positive spin on last night's lousy news, but hey, I still appreciate the attempt by Peter Ginsberg, Pat and Kevin Williams' attorney, to cheer us up and keep some hope alive:

The attorney for the Williamses, who are facing four-game suspensions after testing positive for a banned diuretic last season, said that his clients' case is "still alive."

"We're back to where we started," said their attorney, Peter Ginsberg. "We filed our original claims and injunction in state court and won there. The NFL decided it did not want to litigate in state court so we moved it to federal court. And now the judge put us back into state court."

Thanks Mr. Ginsberg, but it certainly doesn't look like things are heading in the right direction for our guys.  I'm no lawyer, but I'd imagine their chances of winning in state court are quite slim, given the defeats they suffered on several fronts in federal court.  If anyone out there has any legal expertise, some clarification on the road ahead for Pat and Kevin would be much-appreciated (my legal expertise comes from occasionally watching The People's Court).

My immediate reaction to this setback for the Williams Wall?  It's a tough break for this team, but it's not a devastating one.  Back when the schedule was released, I was psyched that the Vikings' early-season opponents are definitely on the weak side -- they start out with road games against Cleveland and Detroit before heading back home for matches against the 49ers and Packers.  The loss of the Williams Wall for those games makes things considerably more difficult, but it by no means dismantles their opportunity to build momentum early on.

Taking the schedule into account reduces the sting of this news, because things could be a lot worse.  The four teams in that group won zero, four, six and seven games last year -- if there's such a thing as a good time to be missing Pat and Kevin Williams, you've gotta go with the first four weeks of the season.  Hard to believe a silver lining exists in the possibility of missing two defensive superstars, but that's it.

Some folks are gonna need to step up.  Friday's news brought us a step closer to proclaiming the Fred Evanses of the roster as important elements of the Vikings' early-season success.  You've also gotta wonder what impact missing the first several games of the season might have on the Williams Wall.  Would starting out fresh in week five have an impact on how they perform throughout the rest of the season?  That remains to be seen.

So that's where we're at: The first clear indication that the Williams Wall will be limited to street clothes during the first four weeks of the season.  Here's hoping for better luck when the case hits state court, but I don't think you'll find a whole lot of optimism from Vikings fans about what lies ahead for the Williamses.

Had a couple other notes prepped before the Williams story broke -- you'll find those tidbits after the jump...

Worried About Winfield?

I'm hearing some increased chatter about Antoine Winfield, who is currently without a contract extension -- the two sides are apparently haggling over the amount and/or length of the contract, which doesn't surprise me.  As good as Winfield's been, the fact that there's some disagreement over the future of a cornerback who will turn 32 next month is to be expected.  Childress would have liked to "have that deal done yesterday," but progress has apparently halted between the team and Winfield.   It's disappointing that a deal hasn't been completed...Winny, though, has stated that he wants to retire as a Viking so I anticipate some progress eventually being made on a new deal.

Fence Posts and the Hattiesburg Weather

For those bold enough to suggest that the phone conversations between Favre and Chilly involved actual football-related matters, I've got some news for you.  Here, ladies and gentlemen, is what Childress says the conversations involved: "He told me the temperature, that it's very warm down there and that he is replacing fence posts."  Well, that settles it -- fence posts are, after all, serious business.

Non-Favre Quarterback Speculation

Admit it, you knew it was coming -- someone suggesting that Vick might be on the Vikings' radar.  In this case, it's Mike Florio, who included the Vikings in a group of 10 teams that could be interested in the newly-freed quarterback.