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Thursday, November 20, 2008
Vikings pulling out all the stops


Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

Instead of resting and rehabilitating his sore shoulder Tuesday, Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen was flying back and forth to New York to meet with NFL officials about a series of late hits.

Instead of sitting in his office Tuesday on the week's most important game-planning day, Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier joined Allen in New York to dissuade the league from suspending his star pass-rusher.

Instead of practicing with their teammates Thursday, Vikings defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams are scheduled to be in New York to appeal four-game suspensions. They are expected to return to the Twin Cities in time for practice Friday, and then will turn around and make the 2 1/2-hour flight to Jacksonville on Saturday.

This is the less-than-ideal way the Vikings are preparing for Sunday's critical game against the Jaguars -- crisscrossing the country to maintain eligibility for three of their top players. But the Vikings are determined to fight for them to remain on the field.

Allen admitted Wednesday that "traveling wasn't the best thing" for his shoulder, and the Vikings are hoping that rest for the remainder of the week will help reduce the soreness. But if the trip staved off a suspension, it was probably a fair trade-off.

The same is true for Frazier, who is a much better coach with Allen on the field than under a suspension.

"I don't know what [his presence] meant to [the NFL]," Allen said, "but I know what it meant to me. Having coach Frazier there ... taking his time from the preparation week, [it] means a lot to me. I'm pretty sure they saw that. I know they appreciated him being there. He didn't have to go. So for me, that meant a tremendous amount. It showed not only the respect he had for me, but the belief he had in me. ... Just overall, when the coach goes to bat for you, it means a lot. I think it helped because [the NFL] saw an organization that was standing behind me."

The situation is less subjective for Pat Williams and Kevin Williams, who reportedly took weight-loss supplements that contained a banned diuretic. Nevertheless, owner Zygi Wilf and team attorney Kevin Warren were scheduled to accompany them to their hearings Thursday.