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Updated: March 12th, 2014 6:37pm
New Vikings nose tackle Linval Joseph grew up watching Pat Williams

New Vikings nose tackle Linval Joseph grew up watching Pat Williams

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by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - The Vikings introduced their new nose tackle Wednesday. Linval Joseph, it turns out, is not about tempering expectations.

Joseph won a Super Bowl with the Giants in 2011 and said he wants to win another with the Vikings. And his role model? A nose tackle Vikings fans might recognize.

"Growing up? Pat. I watched Pat," Joseph said at his introductory press conference, referring to Pat Williams. "Pat was a physical guy, he liked to slam guys. I watched him a lot."

"He wanted to show that he's an all-time great. He had something to prove from where he started to where he finished," Joseph said of Williams, a dominant run-stopper for years with the Vikings. 

"Pat made a lot of plays as a Viking, and he was just loved around here. And I want to be the same way."

Williams paired with defensive tackle Kevin Williams to form one of the most formidable run-stopping tandems in the past 20 years, nicknamed the Williams Wall.

Pat's long gone. Kevin, an unrestricted free agent, might not return, either.

When the season opens, fans likely will be looking at a defensive line that looks like this:

Brian Robison-Sharrif Floyd-Linval Joseph-Everson Griffen

Thin market for the fat guy

Joseph is listed at 6-foot-4, 323 pounds. He's an imposing presence in a press conference, but he's frequently the biggest guy on the field, too.

Joseph said the Vikings reached out before anyone else. His former team, the Giants, didn't come close to matching Minnesota's offer, he said.

The only two other teams that Joseph said expressed interest were the Oakland Raiders and the Atlanta Falcons. He said the Vikings reached out to him before anybody else did and that Minnesota was 'definitely on top.'

Minnesota signed Joseph to a reported 5-year, $31.5 million contract.

His game in his words

Joseph said he is "more of a run-stopper."

"Go inside, play a shade and stop the run, and let the guys on the outside get some sacks."

It's critical to have a nose tackle in Zimmer's defenses, which focus first on stopping the run. Joseph said he thinks that fits his style.

"Just being a run-stopper and getting after the pass. Just being a student of the game. Every year I feel I got better from just my stats and just as a person or as a teammate. I like the course of where I'm going at."

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
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