Word On Williams Talks Encouraging

A source close to the negotiations with first-round draft pick Kevin Williams details the progress the two sides have made in discussing a contract, as the Vikings make an effort to avoid any holdout by their No. 1 pick.

The clock is ticking and the Minnesota Vikings do not have any intention of starting the 2003 training camp with the rookie player holdout distractions of the past. Learning from their mistakes, namely the lengthy holdout of Bryant McKinnie last year that lasted well into the season, the Vikings want rookie defensive tackle Kevin Williams in camp and on time.

While the number of first-round draft selections that have agreed to terms can be counted on one hand at this point in time, the Vikings and representatives for Williams have had numerous discussions about a contract for the defensive standout from Oklahoma State University.

"We have had talks of substance with the Vikings and we believe that we will iron out the process in time for Kevin (Williams) to be in camp and on time. Kevin wants to get this done and the Vikings have done nothing to make us believe that a deal won't be completed prior to training camp," a source close to the negotiations said. "Minnesota has been open and receptive to the length of a deal, the signing bonus, and where Kevin was drafted. They (the Vikings) placed a value on Kevin early on when they selected him with their selection in the first round. Right now we appear to be of an understanding that Kevin was picked by the Vikings that owned the seventh selection in the draft, though they actually chose him with the ninth pick due to them passing on the pick."

Williams, a 6-foot-5, 304-pound defensive tackle, has been slated to play beside Chris Hovan on the interior of the Vikings defensive line. With that intention, the Vikings believe that Williams has the type of body and skills that can equate to an effective defensive end in the league.

'In the camps and practice sessions that we have conducted, we lined Williams up mainly at the defensive tackle position, but we have given him some exposure at the end spot," a team source said. "Looking for a push up front and center, teaming Williams with Hovan could make one of the most dominant duos in the league. We don't want to rush the learning process with Williams, (but) we will push him to reach his learning potential. The sky is really the limit for this kid, and it happens that he fits a need for us as an organization."

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