|Well-conditioned Williams wants to build off big season with Vikes|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 08 June 2007 13:29|
Unsure how Williams would fit with a new defense last year and wary of his weight, Vikings coach Brad Childress held his huge defensive tackle out of the first week of practices because Williams reported heavier than the team asked.
Williams, however, went on to have one of the best seasons of his 10-year career - making it to the Pro Bowl for the first time, as an injury replacement.
He thrived in the ``Tampa 2'' zone scheme that requires linemen to be quick and apply constant pressure in the backfield, finishing with 11 tackles for loss. He was the unquestioned anchor of a defense that narrowly missed setting an NFL season record for fewest yards rushing allowed.
Childress has repeatedly praised Williams since he disciplined him last summer, and he said Friday he's optimistic that Williams can be signed to a contract extension as the 34-year-old enters the final year of his current deal.
``Pat knows how I feel about him,'' Childress said. ``He's a meat-and-potatoes guy. He's a no-nonsense guy. He always shows up and puts his money where his mouth is, and as coaches you always appreciate that.''
Williams, who has often played between 330 and 340 pounds, belies his big frame by the way he so often gets into the backfield. Though the team has been careful with his practice time to save his knees from the artificial turf, Williams has been a 7 a.m. regular at offseason running drills and said he's as motivated as ever at this stage in his career.
Last year's weight issue, he said, was a product of not quite being ``on the same page'' with Childress and his staff about their conditioning expectations. That, now, has been cleared up.
``There are no problems here,'' Williams said. ``I already know what they want. They were new last year, so I didn't know what they wanted. Now it's kind of like they've got it set for me. So I'm all for it.''
His agent, Angelo Wright, is still disappointed by the way Childress handled that issue last summer.
``He wasn't off the page last year,'' Wright said. ``It wasn't but a couple of pounds.''
But Williams has taken a more positive stance with his public comments about the direction of the Vikings, unlike his friend and teammate, cornerback Antoine Winfield. Except for the mandatory minicamp last weekend, Winfield has skipped the offseason workouts - which are not contractually required - out of frustration with the talent level on offense.
``Toine has his own thing. Everybody has their own thing,'' Williams said. ``But I think everybody's going to be all right with us. As long as everybody's on the same page, that's all. The old guys, young guys, everybody's on the same page, and we'll be OK.''
Even if the team doesn't push to extend his contract, Williams said he'll have no problem with that.
``If they see fit to it, then we're open to it, but if they don't then maybe there's greener pastures out there,'' Wright said.
After wrapping up another week of noncontact offseason practices on Friday, the entire Vikings team joined other volunteers from the organization and the area to significantly expand a small playground that served two elementary schools in a low-income neighborhood of St. Paul.
Williams, fittingly, was one of the heavy lifters.
``I feel like he's in pretty good shape. He's out there working on the cement crew, so if he can work heavy construction, he ought to be all right,'' Childress said.