A couple highlights of Jeremy Fowler’s piece on Kevin Williams from the Pioneer-Press. First off, Kevin’s talk of wanting a contract extension from the Vikings. Williams, who has three years left on his current deal but will have a prohibitively large cap number after this season, opening up the possibility that he will be cut, says he approached the team about a new deal this offseason but received very little in the way of a response. “They might not feel the same way [about keeping me],” Williams said. “We have a lot of things to take care of between now and then. My main thing is to have a good year and whatever happens after that happens after that.”
Williams sounds determined to play well in 2012 and prove to the Vikings that he’s worth keeping around. For him to improve on an inconsistent 2011, that admittedly got started on totally the wrong foot because of that suspension, he will need to stay healthy. He will also need more help from whoever lines up next to him at nose tackle. Last year was a struggle for the Vikes at the nose, and the result was lots of double teams for the 3-tech K-Will. A big part of that struggle was the failed Remi Ayodele experiment. About his ex-teammate Ayodele, Williams would only say, “That didn’t go so well.”
Ayodele’s likely replacement Letroy Guion is himself not exactly Pat Williams, but he does have talent and the coaches seem to be behind him. For Guion to improve and take some pressure off Williams he’ll need to learn to harness his physical skills and play with more discipline. And that goes for the whole Vikings defense according to Williams.
“Sometimes young guys, they take for granted they can just play balls to the wall and it will be OK,” the 9-year veteran Williams explained. “In the NFL, a split second here or there is a difference between a 2-yard run and an 80-yard run. If you think you can beat a play backdoor and get stuck, then you’re selling the other 10 guys out. Or someone else is trying to make up for you and then you’re responsible for them. You’re leaving a gap somewhere.”
K-Will and his fellow veterans, not to mention new defensive coordinator Alan Williams, have a tough task ahead of them teaching this young, rebuilding Vikings defense to play under control.
And what of Williams’ prospects for receiving a new contract in light of the Vikings’ obvious youth movement? Given the Vikes’ lukewarm response to Williams’ overtures, I have to believe a new deal is not in the cards. I also don’t see the Vikes keeping him around on his current deal which will pay him $7 million per after this season. As has been the case with so many veteran players the last couple years, especially this offseason when the Vikings allowed a whole bunch of aging guys to walk, Williams seems destined to hit free agency. If he produces up to his capabilities in 2012, I expect there will be a fairly brisk market for his services come the end of the year.
Bottom line, I wouldn’t be surprised if 2012 ends up being Williams’ last season in purple. Given the way things have gone this offseason I wouldn’t even be entirely shocked if they cut him in camp. Rick Spielman is determined to start over with youth and right now only a handful of older guys seem entirely safe.
(Note: Williams was originally reported to have a two-year option at the end of this season. This information is apparently bad.)