Kevin Williams appears to have avoided disaster on a hit to his right knee that could've done much more damage.
Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said he is hopeful to have his star defensive tackle on the field for the season opener in Detroit, but that bit of good news did little to quell the outcry from some of his Pro Bowl teammates after the NFL said San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Joe Looney would not face any discipline for the block in the third quarter of Sunday night's preseason game.
Jared Allen and Chad Greenway both called the hit a dirty play and said the league's focus on player safety seems to hold defensive players to a much different standard than their counterparts on offense.
"I have a problem when we talk about player safety in this league and we have a clear case of a guy intentionally trying to hurt a guy and we do nothing about it," said Allen, who has been fined several times in the past for hits. "We pat him on the back and say it's OK."
The collision occurred on a running play to the right. Williams was about 10 yards away from the play and started back to his right when Looney went down and hit him in the knee. An MRI revealed no ligament damage to Williams' knee and the Vikings said he had a significant bruise and a hyperextension. Frazier said on Tuesday that Williams was listed as day to day.
Meanwhile, the NFL will keep a close eye on hits to the knees of defenseless players this season, with the possibility of extending the rules protecting such players.
Around the league
Giants • Receiver Victor Cruz has shed the protective boot he's been sporting on his injured left foot, and expects to play in the regular-season opener against Dallas on Sept. 8.
Patriots • Tim Tebow survived New England's mandatory roster cut to 75 players. Tebow is expected to see considerable playing time Thursday against the Giants in the Patriots' final exhibition game. He played poorly in the first two games and did not play in the third.
Packers • Starting running back DuJuan Harris is out for the year after injuring his right knee last week against the Seahawks. Harris said he hurt the patella tendon and hoped to have surgery soon.
Redskins • Robert Griffin III could be cleared to play in the regular season when he meets with his surgeon, James Andrews, Thursday night. Griffin had reconstructive surgery on his right knee in January.
49ers • Coach Jim Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said rookie Eric Reid will be the NFC champion Niners' starter at free safety for the Sept. 8 season opener against Green Bay.
Chargers • Rookie linebacker Manti Te'o was out of the walking boot he's worn on his sprained right foot since Aug. 9, although he hasn't been cleared to practice.
Panthers • Running back Jonathan Stewart will miss at least the first six weeks of the season while he recovers from an ankle injury. Coach Ron Rivera said that Stewart was placed on the physically unable to perform list.
Jets • Receiver Santonio Holmes, who is recovering from a serious foot injury, practiced for the first time since last September, but is unsure if he will be ready for the season opener.
Indianapolis at Cincinnati, 5 p.m.
Detroit at Buffalo, 5 p.m.
Philadelphia at N.Y. Jets, 5 p.m.
New Orleans at Miami, 5:30 p.m.
Washington at Tampa Bay, 5:30 p.m.
Jacksonville at Atlanta, 5:30 p.m.
N.Y. Giants at New England, 5:30 p.m.
Pittsburgh at Carolina, 5:30 p.m.
Tennessee at Minnesota, 6 p.m.
Cleveland at Chicago, 6 p.m.
Green Bay at Kansas City, 6 p.m.
Houston at Dallas, 6 p.m.
Baltimore at St. Louis, 6 p.m.
Arizona at Denver, 7 p.m.
Oakland at Seattle, 8 p.m.
San Francisco at San Diego, 8 p.m.