For sure, 2011 was not Williams' best season and he might not be quite as dominant as he once was, but he was still pretty productive while working next to a revolving door of defensive tackles/nose tackles next to him.
"I'm still going to play at a high level. I think five sacks in seven games shows that," Williams said. "If you can get it rolling all year, I think, heck, I might have had 10 sacks."
With the retirement of tight end Jim Kleinsasser, Williams is the longest-tenured Viking. The 2003 draft choice is one of five first-rounders on the roster and still going strong. He has made six Pro Bowls – the last coming after the 2010 season after garnering 49 tackles, nine tackles for losses, one sack, 29 quarterback hurries and seven passes defensed – and his career accomplishments are many:
While it may have looked like Williams was tailing off early in the season after returning from his two-game suspension, he did have five sacks in the final seven games and had a career-high 12 tackles against Oakland on Nov. 20.
Williams suffered from plantar fasciitis early in the season but said that was a non-issue later. "Once that thing tore, it was pretty much over with," he said.
However, an arthroscopic knee surgery during the 2011 offseason was giving him trouble much of the season and he still wasn't sure why after the season ended. He was scheduled to get it checked out, but said that rehabilitation away from Winter Park because of the NFL lockout last year may have been a contributing factor to the lingering pain.
He joked about all the injuries adding up.
"Just age, I guess. I'm getting old. I'm one of the old guys around here," he said.
Williams said the knee injury affected his mobility, but still said he needed to make plays, not excuses. By the second half of the season, he was doing that. In his first seven games back from suspension, he didn't register a sack and had 15 tackles. In the remaining seven games, he had five sacks and 41 tackles.
He has three years left on his contract, which calls for base salaries of $7 million in each of the remaining seasons with some incentives, and he sounded like he wanted to at least play that out.
"We're going to see how things go this offseason and hopefully we'll get something done and I can finish here," he said. "If we can't, we'll just evaluate it and go from there."
"… I won't put a number on it. I'm just going to play as hard as I can for the next couple of years and let it happen."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.