Vikings fans better learn something in a hurry as it pertains to wide receiver Troy Williamson – don't compare him to Randy Moss.
One of the first questions he was posed in his first interview with the Minnesota media tried to lay out a scenario about him being branded as the man who replaced Moss, and Williamson didn't even allow the question to be finished before setting the record straight.
"I'm not stepping into his shoes," Williamson said. "I'm stepping into my own because I'm my own person. Nobody can compare me to Randy Moss. I'm Troy Williamson. Believe me, Minnesota will get to know that when I come up there."
Williamson's numbers don't tell the entire story. While a player like Mike Williams scored 30 touchdowns in two years, Williamson's high-water mark for touchdowns was just seven – coming on just 43 receptions. But the bigger statistic that matters to Williamson and the Vikings' talent evaluators was what he does once he touches the ball. In his college career he averaged more than 19 yards per reception and is a dangerous threat that, in the eyes of the Vikings, was the top wide receiver in the draft.
Many draft analysts were convinced that the Vikings were going to make a run at Williams, but, as Williamson realized before draft day, his stock was on the rise while Williams' was dropping. The reason could be defined in one word – speed.
"When you need a guy with speed, you're going to go for speed (in the draft)," Williamson said. "That's what I've got and that's why they picked me over Mike."
While Williamson struggled at times in the Gamecocks system that stressed the run and had four different quarterbacks see time in 2004, he learned a lot from the experience. He learned that, to be the target of the pass, he needed to burst off the line and get open immediately. He also had to learn to turn a 1-yard hitch pass into a 50-yard catch and run. And, unlike most top wide receivers, he learned to be an effective blocker – more out of necessity than choice.
The combination of those factors made him one of the most complete receivers to come out in this year's draft. He compares himself to the Bengals' Chad Johnson, a receiver with size, strength and speed. The only difference is that Johnson didn't have the lack of opportunity that Williamson had from one game to the next. That malaise will go away quickly when he's teamed up with Daunte Culpepper – a prospect Williamson is excited to get started.
"I think it's a great fit for me," Williamson said of teaming with Culpepper. "They've got a great quarterback that can get the ball around. I believe it's one of the great fits."
From the day he steps on the field, the comparisons will begin, especially since Williamson was taken with the pick the Vikings received for Moss. But don't make the comparisons to his face. If the Moss Era wasn't officially over, Williamson put the nail in the coffin. He's ready to start the Williamson Era. Only time will tell how fondly that era will be remembered 10 years from now.
Williamson: 'It's A Great Fit'
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