Kevin Williams will start his 158th career game on Sunday, which will put him in the Minnesota Vikings record book alongside some elite company in team lore.
When 2003 first-round pick is on the field for the first defensive snaps against the Cleveland Browns, he will have passed Pro Football Hall of Famer Alan Page for most career starts by a Vikings defensive tackle. It will also place Williams third on the starts list among defensive lineman, with only Jim Marshall (270) and Carl Eller (201) ahead of him.
"I've just been showing up, doing my job and that's where we're at. It's a blessing to be that healthy and be able to make that many starts," Williams said on Friday. "We looked at Jim Marshall and I was like, that's amazing there to do what he's done. Not to sell myself short, it's awesome to be able to start that long and play that well in this NFL these days."
In order to get to that place in history, Williams has had to fight through a lot of nagging injuries and has been lucky to avoid the devastating ones.
He has missed only five games in his 11-year career, two because of a right knee injury in 2005, two because of a suspension in 2011 for violating the league's policy on anabolic steroids and related substances in the StarCaps case (Williams took the weight-loss supplement that didn't list the banned ingredient Bumetanide on the label), and the season opener this year with a hyperextended knee.
What's the reason for his sustained good health?
"I don't know, maybe being breast-fed helps a lot, getting the best nutrients you can get," Williams said, causing an uproar among reporters. "Just being blessed, no injuries. I can knock on wood. I've been able to do it."
In his 11th NFL season – all with the Vikings – he is still producing. In his only action this season last Sunday against the Chicago Bears, Williams had an interception to avert a possible Chicago touchdown, one quarterback hit, one pass defensed and two tackles.
That puts his career totals at 654 tackles, 56.5 sacks, five interceptions, 62 passes defensed, 295 quarterback hits, 12 forced fumbles and 12 fumbles recovered.
"I just pride myself in doing stuff the right way. If I can show up on Sunday and be in the right gap, that's helping the defense out and making plays on top of that. It's awesome to be able to stay in the league and be effective this long. It's a tremendous feeling," Williams said.
"I try to be a hard worker, lead by example, show up in the right spots, be on time, those things like that. On top of that, make plays. I felt if you did all those things and been consistent with it, plays will come and I think that happened for the most part in my career."
Williams is a six-time Pro Bowl selection, made the 2003 All-Rookie Team and was named one of the "50 Greatest Vikings" as part of the franchise's 50th season celebration in 2010.
He agreed to restructure his contract in April, making this the final season he is under contract (at $5 million).
"I was excited this year to still be able to be here this year and hopefully can still play next year here," he said. "I have no intentions to go anywhere else and I would love to finish here."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
Durable Williams approaches Vikings record
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