Kevin Williams: Vikings' Thoughts

The Vikings wanted Kevin Williams as an inside pass-rushing presence to take pressure off Chris Hovan, but they were also hoping to acquire a couple of mid-round picks in a trade.

The irony of the Vikings' first-round draft selection of Kevin Williams wasn't lost on coach Mike Tice or the more than 1,000 fans in attendance at the Winter Park Fieldhouse

A year ago, the Dallas Cowboys apparently ran out of time on the 15-minute clock and the Vikings submitted the name of DT Ryan Sims -- only to be told after the card was accepted that the Cowboys and Chiefs had made a trade that allowed K.C. to move ahead of the Vikings to take Sims.

This time around, the Vikings still got the player they wanted, but an aborted trade left the Vikings with egg on their face and the ninth pick instead of the seventh overall pick.

"I'm pissed," said Tice, who was greeted with a loud chorus of boos from a vocal minority of the fans in attendance at the team's draft party. "I don't know what else to tell you. First of all, after what happened last year, it doesn't look good. The second reason is I felt we got our guy and two more picks, and I felt that would have been a hell of a deal to get your guy and two more picks.

The Vikings were active on the phones with their pick when the team went on the clock. Tice said Baltimore, Jacksonville and New England all were making offers, but the best was Baltimore's offer of a fourth- and sixth-round pick to drop from No. 7 to No. 10.
With 32 seconds left on the clock, the Vikings consummated the trade with the Ravens and submitted it to the league officials in New York. The Ravens, however, were late in getting their part of the trade announced and turned in. When the clock ran out, the trade was effectively negated and Jacksonville jumped on the clock and took QB Byron Leftwich -- the player the Ravens were going to take with the traded pick.

Carolina then jumped in and made OT Jordan Gross the eighth selection. When the Vikings finally got their pick, it was Williams -- at No. 9 instead of No. 7 -- but the player the team had targeted all along.

"It came down to three players we talked at length about," Tice said of Williams, DE Terrell Suggs and DT Jimmy Kennedy. "As a group, we came up with Williams as the guy that is the best for our football team. The question marks that were there on Kennedy -- he is an excellent football player, but he was just not the guy for us for a couple of reasons. At that, point we decided Kevin Williams was the guy."

Tice and Scott Studwell both cited Williams' height and size, as well as the versatility to be rush defensive end in nickel situations as his strongest points, as well as comparisons to Sims -- who was missed out on a year ago.

"There are a lot of similarities between the two players," Studwell told VU. "I think Ryan Sims has a little more history to him than Kevin Williams did. But if you look at their measurables and their athletic ability and their versatility, Sims is probably more of a (nose tackle) which is where we targeted Williams. They're about the same size and they both run exceptionally well. This player has a tremendous amount of upside. That's what we're enamored with."

So, for two straight years, the Vikings have turned in a card with a defensive tackle's name on it and finally got a guy they wanted. But, for a second straight year, the story may not have been the player they got, but the story that surrounded how they got him.

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