On the same day Tarvaris Jackson expressed resignation at the fact of his imminent departure from the Vikings, another bit of long-anticipated player news has come across the wire. In a text message to Vikings Update, Pat Williams confirmed that he will not be back for 2011.
“Everything’s good. I am not coming back,” Williams texted. “Going to finish elsewhere.”
Williams made it plain during the season that, despite assumptions that 2010 would be his last year, he planned on continuing for at least one more campaign. Williams expressed his desire to return with the Viking but most agreed this was unlikely to happen. After the season, Leslie Frazier all but shut the door on a Fat Pat return when he indicated the team’s intention to get younger along the defensive line.
Williams made it clear in his exchange with VU that he bears no ill-will toward Frazier for shuffling him out the door before he was ready to go. There are, however, others in the organization Pat won’t be inviting over for Christmas any time soon.
“Just don’t trust everybody over there no more,” Williams explained. “I feel if I got your back and you don’t got my back, trust [is] gone. I play hard all the time, even [when] things [weren’t] good all the time. I never quit on them, but I am always happy and blessed and I wish them the best.”
Pat Williams has always spoken his mind, so it should come as no surprise that he would be willing to take a shot at the organization on the way out. I say “take a shot at the organization” only because I don’t know who specifically he had his trust issues with. We know it wasn’t Frazier because he said, “I trust Frazier. He can only do so much. It’s that other part of the job. I’d [play] for him any day.”
Maybe he means Rick Spielman, I don’t know. It’s just sad that things have to end on a slightly sour note with Pat, but that’s often how it is in sports. In the end, people won’t remember the little hint of final bitterness, they’ll remember the great years Pat gave the Vikings as one half of the fabled Williams Wall.
And they’ll remember the interminable Star Caps drama. And all those incredible replays of Pat making running backs vanish. And, unfortunately, they’ll remember that he slipped noticeably in his last year with the Vikings, contributing to a disappointing defensive effort.
The next order of business now is for the Vikings to find a replacement for Pat on the interior of the defensive line. Letroy Guion and Jimmy Kennedy are signed-up and ready to contribute, and free agent Fred Evans could be brought back. Any one of those guys could step up and become an adequate partner for Kevin Williams, but none of them will ever match what Big Pat brought to the table in his prime.