Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Meet the free agents: DT Kevin Williams
By Ben Goessling
Every day we'll take a look at one of the Minnesota Vikings heading for free agency, what he has meant to the team before and a prognosis on whether or not he'll be back with the club in 2014.
Free agent to be: Kevin Williams
Position: Defensive tackle
Years in the league: 11
What he made last season: $5,000,000 (cap number); $5,000,000 (cash value)
What he did last season: Williams saw far more action than the Vikings were initially planning to give him, playing 66 percent of the team's defensive snaps after the Vikings began the year hoping to limit Williams to between 30 and 40 snaps a game. He had 3.5 sacks, getting 2.5 of those in a cameo at nose tackle on Nov. 7 against the Redskins. Williams fared better as a pass-rusher than he did as a run-stopper, where he was too often moved aside, but in his 11th season, Williams was still one of the Vikings' more reliable defensive tackles.
His potential market value: It's tough to see a team giving Williams more than a one-year deal, but his durability and the fact he can still provide some pass-rushing help might land him a job for his 12th season. He missed the season opener last year, marking the first time he'd sat out because of an injury since 2005, and played through knee problems most of the year after being injured on a low block in the Vikings' third preseason game. If a team were signing Williams for 20-25 snaps a game, he might still provide value.
Will he still fit the Vikings? It's tough to see anything more than a minor role for him, but it's possible, considering how long it took Sharrif Floyd to emerge last year and how many question marks the Vikings have in the middle of their defensive line. Williams is as well-respected as they come -- though a similar locker room cache wasn't enough to keep Antoine Winfield with the team last year -- and he's said he wants to stay in Minnesota. At the right price, he might be worth retaining.
What happens: Williams moves on, signing a one-year deal with another team as the Vikings look to get younger on their defensive line. And after his eventual retirement, whether it's a year from now or several years from now, he's inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor.