The NFL handed out several suspensions today, including the Vikings' star defensive tackles Pat and Kevin Williams, who are the main run stoppers in the Minnesota defense. Other suspended players include RB Deuce McAllister and defensive linemen Charles Grant and Will Smith from the Saints, and Texans long snapper Bryan Pittman.
Although the Saints lost 3 players to suspension, The Vikings suffered the biggest loss, however, as Kevin and Pat Williams were going to be instrumental to the Vikings if they were to make the playoffs. The suspensions will likely be 4 games, since that's what was brought down on Saints guard Jamar Nesbit, who was nailed for the same thing. That will take them to the end of the season.
The keys to the Vikings' success this year have been running the ball and stopping the run. They have the 2nd best run defense in football, and the aptly nicknamed Williams Wall has been a huge part of that. Without their two big linemen, they will lose a lot of their defensive potency. With a slim 1-game lead over the Chicago Bears, the Vikings suddenly went from the favorites in the NFC North to playoff longshots.
The Vikings' next two games are against the Lions and Cardinals, so the threat of the opposing running game is minimal anyway. However, the loss of the pass rush provided by the Williams' could allow Kurt Warner some extra time to torch their secondary with Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald.
Their final two games, however, are against the Falcons and the Giants. Falcons RB Michael Turner and Giants RB Brandon Jacobs are 3rd and 9th in the league in rushing, respectively. Those games could get out of hand quickly if the Vikings aren't able to contain the rush, and without Pat and Kevin Williams, that job will me a lot harder.