Vikings considering moving reluctant Kevin Williams to nose tackle
Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - A year and a half ago, the Minnesota Vikings switched three-technique Letroy Guion to nose tackle after signing him to a three-year, $9 million extension in March 2012.
Guion's had three sacks since the switch from undertackle while 33-year old teammate Kevin Williams racked up 2.5 in Thursday's win over the Washington Redskins. Williams jumped into the nose tackle role as both Guion and defensive tackle Fred Evans were sidelined from injury.
"We count on Letroy and Fred to do a good job for us there," coach Leslie Frazier said. "But Kevin did some really good things. We just have to determine if that's the best thing because it would put some stress on Sharrif [Floyd]."
Floyd, 22, was the Vikings' first overall selection in April, presumably to fill Williams' shoes when he retires from football and the undertackle position. But a knee injury suffered in the preseason slowed his integration into the defense and on Thursday night he played a career-high 47 snaps as the three-technique was mostly his position alone with Williams at nose.
The Vikings were already short-handed along the defensive line with Christian Ballard, a fourth-round pick in 2011, walking away from football this offseason after underwhelming for two seasons as Williams' replacement.
An 11-year veteran, Williams already took a $2.5 million paycut when he renegotiated his contract in April, which also deleted his 2014 salary and now he's a free agent after this season.
"I told [coaches] not to get any ideas," Williams said postgame.
Too late, Kevin.
"[Williams] is not a big fan of playing the nose tackle position," Frazier said. "We haven't talked about it of late. It just came up by necessity this time around."
"I'll tell you, the way he played in that ballgame, it's something we've got to consider. The fact that he's a veteran player and he has done it before -- I think we did that a little bit with him in 2011 -- he has familiarity with the position and he's been playing defensive tackle forever in our league."
The move didn't just spark the Vikings' interior line, which has struggled all season in stopping the run, but also Williams' own resurgence. His 2.5 sacks are more than Williams has had in his last 23 games combined. Williams had just two sacks in 2012.
The day after, any talk of a real switch is just experimental. Frazier has 10 days before traveling to the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 17 to get the defensive line's moving parts in order.
"It would change some things, which is one of the reasons you have to take pause before you make a decision like that, because it does put more on Sharrif. Fred and Letroy, they've been practicing and playing this position for the last couple of years for us, and Fred throughout his time here. So there's a lot that goes into it, but you always want to do what you think is best for the team, and we'll make that decision."