EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. As three Minnesota defensive linemen travel to New York this week to meet with the NFL, they could be bringing the Vikings' playoff fate with them.
Jared Allen, Pat Williams and Kevin Williams all will meet with league officials in hopes of avoiding suspensions that would gut the team's biggest strength.
The Williams Wall will appear to discuss testing positive for a weight-loss diuretic that is on the list of substances banned by the league. They face four-game suspensions for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
Allen will be there to talk about a hit on Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers two weeks ago that could leave him vulnerable to a suspension because it came two days after he was fined $50,000 for hits on Houston's Matt Schaub.
Losing three of their biggest – literally and figuratively – stars would be a devastating blow for a team currently tied with Chicago and Green Bay atop the muddled NFC North. Allen leads the team with eight sacks and Kevin Williams is second with seven.
TAMPA BAY: Earnest Graham injured his right ankle during a victory over Minnesota, and coach Jon Gruden said the running back's season “could be in jeopardy.”
ST. LOUIS: Offensive tackle Orlando Pace, a seven-time Pro Bowl player, will miss two to four weeks with a knee injury. Coach Jim Haslett also counted out running back Steven Jackson, who will miss his fourth game in five weeks with a persistent thigh injury.
HOUSTON: Quarterback Matt Schaub's recovery from a left knee injury will take longer than the two to four weeks initially projected. Schaub has been out two weeks with an injured medial collateral ligament, and coach Gary Kubiak was far more candid Monday about his condition than he has been since the injury.
Pats wary of Wildcat
Bill Belichick is preparing his team for another look at the Dolphins' unusual Wildcat offense.
Miami unveiled the tactic in which a running back takes a direct snap from center in its 38-13 win over New England in the teams' third game of the season. The Patriots visit Miami on Sunday, and Belichick said Monday that even though the element of surprise is gone, it's still a difficult offense to stop.
Confidence is a problem for the entire Raiders offense, which has gone 13 quarters without scoring a touchdown. The Raiders have run 180 offensive plays since Justin Griffith's 2-yard score in the final minute of the third quarter at Baltimore on Oct. 26.
The Raiders have just nine offensive touchdowns and have scored a league-low 128 points.
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