A Minnesota judge yesterday temporarily blocked the NFL's suspension of Vikings stars Kevin and Pat Williams for violating the league's anti-doping policy.

Hennepin County District Judge Gary Larson issued the temporary restraining order at the players' request, saying he wanted more time to hear arguments in the case. No further hearing date immediately was set.

The Williamses (who are not related) were among six players suspended for four games for testing positive for a diuretic that can be used as a masking agent for steroids. They have argued that the substance containing the diuretic did not list all its ingredients, and that league scientists and lawyers had information about the substance but withheld it from players.

The NFL argues that the league's policy on banned substances is collectively bargained with the players' association and players are responsible for what is in their bodies.

Larson (who is not the former Vikings lineman of that name) said he expected the NFL to take the issue to federal court in Minneapolis.

"There is no merit to this lawsuit and we will promptly seek to have the order reversed," the NFL said in a statement.

Bengals. Cincinnati signed veteran linebacker Victor Hobson to bolster its injury-plagued defense.

A sixth-year pro out of St. Joseph's Prep, Hobson was cut by the New England Patriots just before the regular season began. He played five seasons for the New York Jets, including 58 starts.

Colts. Middle linebacker Gary Brackett, a graduate of Glassboro High in Gloucester County and the team's defensive captain, is expected to miss at least two games with a cracked bone in his lower right leg.

Snow not Favre's friend. Brett Favre has struggled in his last two outings in chilly conditions, including Sunday against Denver at a wet and windy Meadowlands and last January at an icy Lambeau Field in the NFC title game against the New York Giants.

"We never practiced [in the cold weather] in Green Bay," said the 39-year-old, who now quarterbacks the New York Jets. "I think it all comes down to the individual himself, first of all. I grew up in south Mississippi. I never saw snow until I got to Green Bay. It wasn't like all of a sudden I got off the plane and said, 'Whoo, my kind of weather!' "

Noteworthy. Cleveland quarterback Brady Quinn had two pins surgically inserted into his broken right index finger. . . . Ben Roethlisberger sat out the final 20 minutes of the Pittsburgh Steelers' practice after his right leg slipped while he was throwing a pass. . . . Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Rashean Mathis will miss the rest of the season after injuring his right knee.

Backup quarterback Vince Young sat out the Tennessee Titans' practice with an infection in his right thumb. . . . Oakland will be without starting center Jake Grove for tonight's game at San Diego because of an injured calf muscle, and may also be missing wide receiver Ashley Lelie, who was held out of practice for a second straight day because of a headache. . . . Bills quarterback Trent Edwards missed practice with a groin injury, meaning J.P. Losman could make his first start in more than a year Sunday when Buffalo plays Miami in Toronto.

New Orleans added defensive end Rob Ninkovic and safety Terrence Holt to the active roster. . . . Atlanta rookie offensive tackle Sam Baker returned for his first participation in practice since undergoing back surgery o Oct. 30.

Seattle Seahawks center Chris Spencer will miss the rest of the season with a herniated disk in his back. . . . Linebacker Rosevelt Colvin re-signed with New England after sitting out since he was cut in training camp by Houston.