Friday, November 8, 2013
Kevin Williams stands out at nose tackle
By Ben Goessling
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- After 11 seasons in the league and six Pro Bowls, Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams has little need for diplomacy. So when the Vikings moved him to nose tackle on Thursday night, primarily because injuries forced them into it, coach Leslie Frazier knew Williams wasn't going to be jumping at the idea.
"He's not a big fan of playing the nose tackle position," Frazier said. "We haven't talked about it as of late. It just came up by necessity this time around."
The next time the Vikings do it, though, it could be out of reasons other than necessity.
Kevin Williams might be playing his final season with the Vikings.
Williams had 2 1/2 sacks from the nose tackle position on Thursday night, playing a season-high 63 snaps in the Vikings' 34-27 win against the Washington Redskins. That was his first multi-sack game since Oct. 18, 2009, and it allowed the Vikings to put Williams next to rookie Sharrif Floyd. Minnesota allowed just three points and stopped the Redskins on six of seven third downs in the second half, when Williams got all of his sacks. And on Friday, Frazier conceded the Vikings might have to look at playing Williams at the nose more often.
"I'll tell you, the way he played in that ballgame, it's something we've got to consider," Frazier said. "We count on Letroy (Guion) and Fred (Evans) to do a good job for us there, but Kevin did some really good things. We just have to determine if that's the best thing, because it would put some stress on Sharrif."
Guion has hardly been overwhelming since the Vikings groomed him to replace Pat Williams as the nose tackle in 2011, and while Evans has been better against the run, neither player seems like a fixture at the position. The Vikings, though, would have to figure out if they'd be able to rotate Guion and Evans at both the nose and three-technique positions, once they're healthy, to keep Floyd and Williams' snap counts down.
But Williams meeting Jared Allen at the quarterback on Thursday night evoked memories of the Vikings' old defensive lines. It seems unlikely the Vikings will bring Williams back next season, unless it's on a smaller deal, so any move might be just for this season. But it would create an opportunity to get Floyd more work, and as Frazier hoped on Thursday night, it might give Williams a path to "the fountain of youth," though that might require him to sell Williams on it.
Asked if he wanted to do it more often, Williams said, "Oh, man, heck no. It was something we had to do. Somebody had to get in there, and I just had to embrace it."