Kevin Williams mulled skipping OTAs, 'but I'm still here to do a job'
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Roughly six weeks after accepting a $2.5 million pay cut as part of a contract restructure, Kevin Williams was on the field on Wednesday for the Minnesota Vikings' second day of organized team activities.
The veteran defensive tackle said it is "always a thought in your mind" about skipping the voluntary workouts, but he didn't want to start his 11th season in Minnesota on that note.
"A lot of young guys need some kind of veteran leadership around," Williams said. "I take it on myself, being a leader. Yeah, maybe me and the front office didn't agree on the contract situation, but I'm still here to do a job."
A six-time Pro Bowl selection for the Vikings, Williams has been in decline for years. He finished last season with a career-low 42 tackles (19 solo) and two sacks.
The restructure dissolved the final year of Williams' deal, adding the 32-year-old -- he turns 33 in August -- to a critical group of pending free agents along the defensive line that includes Jared Allen, Brian Robison, Everson Griffen and Fred Evans.
"He's a veteran guy who has a lot of pride and has had a lot of success in our league," coach Leslie Frazier said, "and to his credit, he realized where things are and he made the decision to remain a Viking and we're all happy for that because it makes us a better football team."
After two hours of walkthrough drills and jawing on the sidelines with teammates, Williams expressed his distaste for answering questions about his contract while on a football field.
"I'm not even getting into that anymore," Williams said. "It's over with. I restructured. Is it what I wanted to do? No. But it's done. I'm here and it's time to get better. That's the mind frame I'm in right now."
It probably helps that Williams remains one of the Vikings' higher-paid players. His new deal includes a fully guaranteed $4.9 million base salary, plus a $100,000 workout bonus.
"His attitude is great," Frazier said. "Kevin is a pro's pro. He's one of those guys I lean on when we're trying to get things done here and just very, very grateful he's come back and wants to be a part of what we're trying to get done.
"We lean on Kevin a lot -- not just what he does on the football field, but what he does in the locker room, in this building. He's a great guy to have on this team and we expect him to raise his level and play well this season."