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Friday, December 12, 2008
How to neutralize Vikes' Williams Wall

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Cardinals won't be benefiting from those StarCaps suspensions, after all. They can still take out half of the Williams Wall when the Vikings visit University of Phoenix Stadium in Week 15.

Vikings defensive tackles Pat Williams and Kevin Williams, cleared to play despite the NFL's attempts at suspending them, are strong enough against the run to shut down the Cardinals' last-ranked running game. That is a given.

But if Arizona decides to spread the field with four receivers, as the Cardinals often have this season, Pat Williams would probably come off the field. He might even come off the field against three receivers.

We'll have to see if the Vikings adjust their plan to keep Pat Williams on the field, but Ellis Wyms and/or Fred Evans would be his replacement against pass-oriented personnel groups if Minnesota holds to its defensive form.

Personnel use in the first halves of games can reveal a team's intentions independent of game situations (such as falling behind). The Cardinals have used three or four wide receivers at least 55 percent of the time in eight of the 12 first halves I've charted this season. This includes every game but the Week 2 game against the Dolphins.

The rate dipped to 40 percent against the Eagles and 35.3 percent against the Rams over the last two games. But the rate has been 80 percent or higher in two other games.