Williams was a 2003 first-round selection of the Vikings and played in 203 games, making 193 starts in his 13 years in the NFL. He played 11 of those seasons, through 2013, with the Vikings, starting all 171 games he played with the franchise before playing the 2014 season with the Seattle Seahawks and the 2015 season with the New Orleans Saints.
Williams was selected to six Pro Bowls, tied for second-most for a defensive tackle in team history with John Randle (Alan Page had nine Pro Bowl selections), and was named All-Pro five times.
“Kevin was one of the most respected players in Vikings history by his teammates and by opponents,” Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said in a release. “He set a high standard for himself and led by example instead of words. We thank him for everything he gave the Vikings and the legacy he leaves.”
Williams had 14 more career starts as a Vikings defensive tackle than Page and ranks eighth in team history with 60 sacks.
“I had a great time with the Vikings and appreciate them giving me a chance,” Williams said. “They drafted a small-town kid from Arkansas and the organization, the city, the whole state really, helped raise me into a man. I appreciate them for that and look forward to coming back and doing some things with the team. My family loved it in Minnesota and will be back a lot. I really thank the Wilf family and the McCombs family for all they did for me. I had some great coaches, got to line up with some great players and we did a lot of good things. I look back on that line we had with Pat, Jared, Ray, B-Rob and Fred - I hope we set a standard for how you do things up front.”
Williams tied the NFL record with five interceptions by a defensive tackle and is tied for the franchise lead with four defensive returns for a touchdown – two interception returns and two fumble returns.
“Kevin Williams was an established team leader when we bought the Vikings and his presence was crucial to our success,” said team owner Zygi Wilf. “His consistency and durability makes him a Viking for the ages. We wish Kevin and his family all the best as they enjoy retirement.”