The selection of defensive tackle was not a difficult one for the Vikings in the 2003 NFL draft. Seeking a defensive player for the interior defensive line, the Vikings sought an athletic player that could grow with the team.
Ultimately the Vikings selected defensive tackle Kevin Williams from Oklahoma State University. The necessity of drafting for the position did not come as a surprise, but the player selected surprised many in the league.
"Everyone in the league knew that the Vikings were going to select a defensive lineman with their first-round selection in the draft. What was a surprise was the selection of Williams," a league source said. "Williams is big and physically strong, with an explosive first-step and quickness off the ball. The Vikings needed to address the interior defensive line, most notably a defensive tackle that has the ability to stop the run and compliment Chris Hovan."
"The Williams kid will provide Minnesota with a high-motor player that has the ability to rush the quarterback from the interior line, while growing into the tackle position with one of the best players (Chris Hovan) in the league at his side."
The general thought was the Vikings were interested in Jimmy Kennedy, the large defensive tackle from Penn State. Kennedy was believed to be the prototypical player to fit the scheme and necessity of the Minnesota situation.
"Kennedy at one time, along with Dewayne Robertson, were considered the best two players available at the position," a league scout said. "What transpired was many teams -- including my team -- were turned off by the attitude, questionable work ethic, and injury issues that could arise from a player not being in top condition."
"Not to say that Kennedy will be that type of professional, but Robertson and Williams have proven to be solid citizens, consistent contributors in the weight room, and players that do not appear to have come close to reaching their physical capabilities on the football field."
Williams vs. Kennedy: A Look Back
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