Williams has started at right corner the past two seasons. Irvin, 32, was scheduled to begin last season as a nickel corner, but suffered a season-ending ruptured Achilles' tendon during pregame warmups before the season opener.
The Vikings have added right cornerback Fred Smoot and free safety Darren Sharper as starters this offseason. Williams is in line to be the nickel back behind Smoot and left cornerback Antoine Winfield. Irvin is back to full speed and has been switched to safety. He still has the speed to cover against multiple-receiver sets. Ralph Brown, who showed promise last year as a nickel back and special teams contributor, could be the team's dime back, depending on the draft choices coming in to compete. And Willie Offord, while inconsistent through much of his first three seasons with the Vikings, showed some promise in the playoffs while filling in for injured starter Corey Chavous.
Apparently Offord's playoff stint, combined with the return of Irvin and a potential draft pick were enough for the Vikings to let safety Brian Russell go to Cleveland in search of nearly double his restricted free-agent offer from Minnesota and a chance at a starting job. Despite starting 34 games for the Vikings, Russell was scheduled to become a backup in 2005 after the addition of Sharper and return to health of Chavous.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We're wide open; we'll take the best player, regardless of position." — Coach Mike Tice, talking about the Vikings' plans for the seventh overall pick in the draft.