Williamson cleared to return, but Vikings have crowd at receiver Print
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Friday, 14 December 2007 01:30
NFL Headline News

 EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) -Troy Williamson has been cleared to play again. The question is if the Minnesota Vikings will find room for him on the field.
The seventh overall draft pick in 2005 has been an obvious disappointment, due to dropped passes, ineffective quarterbacks and to a lesser extent, injuries.
Williamson took a blow to the head on Nov. 25 during a kickoff return against the New York Giants and was inactive for the next two games, the last in which he contended he was healthy enough to play.
After a Tuesday visit with neurological specialists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Williamson said he checked out fine. The team sent him there for another opinion, citing concern about persistent headaches. Williamson was told, though, he could remedy those with simple over-the-counter pain relief medicine.
``The doctor said everything was cool. They didn't see nothing major, or nothing serious,'' Williamson said. ``Nothing, really, beside the headaches.''
The Vikings have lacked game-breaking players at the position since Randy Moss was traded to the Oakland Raiders in a deal that ultimately brought Williamson through the draft. The guys throwing the ball, however, have been even more unsteady until Tarvaris Jackson started playing last month with unseen-before poise to help Minnesota (7-6) start a four-game winning streak.
Daunte Culpepper, Brad Johnson, Brooks Bollinger, Kelly Holcomb and Jackson have all started at quarterback since the beginning of Williamson's first season.
Bobby Wade has emerged as a sure-handed option, and rookie Sidney Rice has shown promise while snagging four of the team's nine scoring passes. Robert Ferguson recorded his first touchdown last week. Another rookie, Aundrae Allison, has three kickoff returns of 60 yards or more, including a team-record 104-yard touchdown on Dec. 2 against the Detroit Lions.
That's why Williamson could be squeezed out. The Vikings have suited up all five receivers only twice this year in 13 games.
``All of those guys are in the mix. We have got a good group of wide receivers competing,'' coach Brad Childress said Thursday. He said if Williamson is inactive for Monday night's game against Chicago, it won't be because of health unless he suffers a setback during the week.
In the last game against the Bears, Williamson caught a 60-yard touchdown pass from Jackson on a simple post pattern - the kind of play where he's most dangerous with his track-star speed.
There just haven't been enough of those in three seasons, though, which is why Williamson's future with Minnesota is uncertain. He has only three career touchdowns and one 100-yard game to his credit. Williamson has two years left on his rookie contract, but this is the NFL, where nothing's guaranteed.
``That'll work out on its own,'' Williamson said. ``I'm not one of the guys that can answer that.''
He spent hours over the summer working with vision specialists and catching passes from a machine to get better at hanging onto the ball, and drops have not been an issue this season. Without regular opportunities to show that improvement, however, his development has been stunted. The Vikings feature their rushing attack as much as they can, and the concussion kept Williamson out of 2 1/2 of Jackson's four good games. Plus, Wade and Rice have become favorite targets.
Williamson said he won't let the frustration bother him, though.
``It just depends on what the coaches see and what they feel like they want to do,'' he said. ``It's all on them. I'm still going to work as if I'm going to be active.''
 

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