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Kevin Williams reaches milestone with 158th-career start on Sunday

by Andrew Krammer, 1500ESPN.com Updated 23 months ago | 1784 reads

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams will start in his 158th career game on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns and simultaneously pass Hall of Famer Alan Page for most starts by a defensive tackle in team history.

From John Randle to Jim Marshall, Williams stands among some of the franchise's all-time great defensive linemen with 56.5 career sacks and 62 pass deflections.

"Definitely some huge names in front of me," Williams said. "To be able to last that long playing the tackle position in this league on one team...to accumulate that many starts, that's a huge feat when you sit back and look at it."

Williams will still trail Marshall (270) and Carl Eller (201) for most starts by a defensive linemen, but the 33-year-old's durability kept him in all but three games in his 11-year career so far.

"Just been so steady for so long in his career, those guys are sometimes hard to find," Coach Leslie Frazier said. "There are guys who can make a splash play here or there, but you cant always count on them down in and down out, and Kevin's been one of those, once you pencil him in a lineup, you know what you're going to get every play."

After an unexpected low block in a preseason game on Aug. 25, Williams was sidelined with a hyperextended and bruised knee for the season opener. He returned to play 40 snaps and grabbed an interception at the goal line off a tip by defensive end Everson Griffen.

What's his secret?

"I don't know, maybe being breastfed helps a lot," Williams said. "Getting the best nutrients you can get.

He is one of five defensive linemen in the final year of their contract: defensive ends Brian Robison, Jared Allen and Griffen along with defensive tackle Fred Evans.

The elder of the group, Williams made it clear he wants to finish his career in Minnesota. After all, he already restructured his contract this offseason and took a $2.5 million paycut in the process.

"Like I said, in this day and age, with all the guys getting traded today and all the money flying around, it's huge," Williams said. "I was excited to be able to still be here this year and can hopefully play next year here. I have no intentions of going anywhere else."

Andrew Krammer covers the Minnesota Vikings for 1500ESPN.com. He previously covered the Gophers men's basketball team for the Minnesota Daily.
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