Madieu Williams Close to Becoming a Viking

The Minnesota Vikings had a need at the free safety position and plan to address that need on Friday. has confirmed the Minnesota Vikings have the parameters of a deal with FS Madieu Williams (Cincinnati Bengals) and he's going to fly today to Minnesota for a visit, a league source said. So there's a good chance that a deal gets done with the team.

The Vikings have been targeting Williams for the last few weeks when it was becoming apparent the Bengals weren't going to be able to sign him before the start of free agency. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Bengals in early February were considering putting the franchise tag on Williams, which would have cost them $4,396,000. Instead, they opted to use the franchise tag on offensive lineman Stacy Andrews.

Williams played in 13 games last year, but he was eventually placed on injured reserve with a quadriceps injury.

The four-year veteran out of Maryland started 13 games in his rookie season and registered 103 tackles and three interceptions after being a second-round draft choice of the Bengals. In his first year, he started at cornerback, free safety and strong safety, adding to his reputation as an athletic safety. Williams played some slot cornerback last season in passing situations.

In his second season, he played in only four game, starting three, before he was placed on injured reserve in October with a shoulder injury.

He returned in 2006 and started all 16 games and had 88 tackles and three interceptions while being on the field for more snaps (1,265) than any other Bengals player.

His rookie season was spent with current Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier when he was in the same role in Cincinnati, but they were different defenses.

Williams, who moved to the United States from Sierra Leone, West Africa, when he was 9 years old, also played baseball and ran track in high school in Lanham, Md.

The Vikings have two safeties who hit the free agent market -- Mike Doss and Tank Williams. Tank Williams could re-sign with the team as a backup if he doesn't find a better opportunity in the free-agent market.

The Vikings have Darren Sharper, a Pro Bowler, and special-teams man Eric Frampton as the only other safeties on the team.

Note: Viking Update's Tim Yotter also contributed to this story.

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