The preseason game Sunday night between the Vikings and 49ers was chippier than your garden-variety exhibition game, and it escalated after a late and unnecessary collision involving Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams.
Many of the Vikings' starters played into the third quarter, and Williams was pursuing a 49ers run play in the backfield when 49ers reserve offensive lineman Joe Looney rolled up into his legs. Williams limped off the field and was checked out by the team's medical staff.
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Watching the play live, it looked like a stroke of bad luck, or a fluke play. But slowed down, it appeared Looney intentionally ducked into Williams, who was blindsided by the hit and had his knee hyperextended laterally.
The 32-year-old veteran expressed his disappointment to the Pioneer Press afterwards:
"I feel all right," Williams said. "Don't really know what's wrong, but I think I'm fine. I was just upset that I'm getting cut like that 11 years in from a guy I don't even know who the guy is. Between the pain and the fact that no one was looking it was terrible."
Looney was not penalized on the play. Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier said he intended to contact the league for possible discipline. Defensive end Jared Allen sounded off to NBC sideline broadcaster Michele Tafoya during the game on the sideline.
"From what I understand, it was a dirty play," Allen said. "It sucks."
This type of play is supposed to be an emphasis this season with the implementing of new peel-back block penalties inside the tackle box. The most well-known example of this is when former Jets guard Matt Slauson hit Texans linebacker Brian Cushing low last season in October, ending his season prematurely.
Williams will have an MRI performed Monday to find out the severity of the injury. The Vikings are thin on defensive tackles and planned to water down Williams' workload a bit while working in first-round pick Sharrif Floyd gradually. That plan might have to be altered depending on the news on Williams' knee.
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