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Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Vikings headed toward DL makeover

By Kevin Seifert

It has seemed unlikely for some time that the Minnesota Vikings would keep intact a contract that would have paid defensive tackle Kevin Williams, who turns 33 this summer, up to $15 million over the next two seasons. Instead, as Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com reports, Williams has accepted a pay cut to $4.9 million in 2013 and agreed to eliminate his original terms for 2014 entirely.

In the big picture, this news reinforces that the Vikings are headed toward a significant transition at defensive line over the next 12 months. Three of their four starters -- Williams, Jared Allen and Brian Robison -- are entering the final year of their contracts. It's hard to imagine the Vikings bidding farewell to all three at the same time and essentially starting over at a position of strength for the past decade, but Allen will be 32 next year at this time and Robison will be 30.

Most interesting will be how the Vikings handle Allen's situation. He has 74 sacks in five seasons with the team, is heavily involved in the its off-field programs and has emerged as one of the faces of the franchise. At the moment, he counts $17.063 million against the Vikings' salary cap, a situation that begs for an extension to lower that figure.

On the surface, Allen seems to be the type of player and person whom the Vikings would want for the rest of his career. But are they prepared to pay significant money to a pass-rusher with nine seasons of wear and tear on his body? We'll soon find out.