The Unknown Soldier

Of the numerous players added to the Vikings defense this off-season, Pat Williams was the first and, while forgotten by casual fans in the glut of signings, he may well be the most important signing of all.

In the off-season frenzy that almost refused to let a week go by without a new player being signed by the Vikings, DT Pat Williams may end up being the most important signing the team made.

A 315-pound road grader, Williams gives the Vikings their first true nose tackle of note since Jerry Ball bounced on and off the Metrodome turf. But his significance may well go much deeper than that.

Kevin Williams has become one of the dominant defensive tackles in the game, despite playing alongside a woefully underachieving Chris Hovan -- who is now plying his trade with the Bucs. With Pat Williams now able to command double teams because of his size and strength, it is expected not only to free up Kevin Williams to do more damage, but also to allow defensive ends Kenechi Udeze and whomever wins the other starting job to get more one-on-one situations.

It shouldn't come as any surprise that Pat Williams was the first free agent signing the Vikings made this off-season. When you're building a team, you have to start with a strong foundation, and few players are bigger or stronger than Williams.

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