Vikes receiving corps takes another hit with Williamson out vs. Chargers

Updated: November 4, 2007, 3:07 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Starting wide receiver Troy Williamson, who missed the entire week of practice with the Minnesota Vikings for personal reasons, will not play in Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers as he continues to prepare for the Monday funeral of his grandmother.

The team's first-round choice in the 2005 draft, and regarded as Minnesota's best deep threat despite continuing inconsistencies that have marked his career, Williams has nine receptions for 159 yards and one touchdown while starting in six of seven games.

With the third-year veteran essentially on personal leave, Minnesota could be without both starting wide receivers for the matchup with the Chargers, since Bobby Wade is hobbled by a knee injury. The team's leading receiver, with 23 catches for 272 yards, Wade participated sparingly in practices during the week and his availability will be a game-time decision.

Minnesota has only three other wide receivers on the roster. The Vikings could be forced to start a pair of rookies, second-round pick Sidney Rice and fifth-rounder Aundrae Allison.

Seven-year veteran Robert Ferguson, signed by the Vikings after Green Bay released him at the end of the preseason, will almost certainly see extended action. The club might elevate one of the two wide receivers on its practice squad as well.

Williamson, who returned home to South Carolina early this week, is not expected to rejoin the Vikings until the middle of next week.

His agent, David Canter, said the former South Carolina star, the seventh player chosen overall in the 2007 draft, has essentially taken a lead role in planning the funeral of his grandmother and in making travel arrangements for relatives. Williamson's grandmother played a big role in his upbringing and the two were very close.

Canter also revealed to the Twin Cities media that Williamson's older brother was injured in an automobile accident in September, and that he has been hospitalized in Georgia where he has been in and out of a coma. He said his client, who has been able to spend only a little time visiting his brother, has been battling through the ordeal of "a grieving and healing" process and that his family is his first priority.

"What we have is both of the situations and circumstances coming to a head," Canter said. "His brother is in the hospital, and who knows what his health status will be? And then his grandma passing. He needs to be with his family. The Vikings are his extended family, and hopefully he can come back and continue to work to be the most successful he can be."

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.