Williams vs. Williamson Revisited

It's been six months since the Vikings went against traditional wisdom and drafted Troy Williamson instead of Mike Williams. Williamson talked about the comparisons and his progress, and Minnesota and Detroit coaches talked about the progress of their respective receivers.

Both were the talk of the NFC North in April, and even during training camp. Now we hardly hear a whisper from either of the two promising young wide receivers.

The comparisons between South Carolina receiver Troy Williamson and Southern California receiver Mike Williams were made ad nauseum on sports talk radio and Internet chat sites (including Viking Update's message boards) that started during NFL Draft weekend and lasted into training camp three months later.

Yet now, as the two once high profile receivers will be showcased on the same field Sunday when the Vikings host the Detroit Lions, Williamson and Williams are nothing more than footnotes for now.

Williamson, drafted by the Vikings with the seventh overall pick acquired from Oakland in the Randy Moss trade, has 15 catches for 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns for the Vikings. Like Williamson, Williams has 15 catches with the Lions for 181 yards and one touchdown.

But there will be no rivalry Sunday. At least not in Williamson's eyes.

"I have no problem with him. He's a football player and I'm a football player," Williamson said. "Everybody's trying to make a rivalry out of something because they have to find something to talk about. I haven't looked at anybody's stats. I barely know my stats, so I'm not going to look at somebody (else) and try to outdo them. I just want to make the best out of the opportunities I've gotten."

Williams, drafted by the Lions 10th overall, has hardly captured the imagination of Detroit, either. His playing time was increased when fellow receiver Charles Rogers was injured, but Williams failed to meet expectations. In fact, it has become common knowledge in Detroit that coaches were hoping for a bigger, quicker impact from Williams.

"I want to see development and I want to see it quicker and I want to see more of it," Lions coach Steve Mariucci said. "He's had an opportunity just lately to play because Charles Rogers has been out."

Much to many fans' chagrin, the Vikings picked Williamson over Williams, who was ranked by many as the better of the two receivers. But the Vikings wanted speed to replace the deep threat Moss created and went against the grain in choosing Williamson.

"We felt and we still feel -- for our offense –- we needed to have somebody stretch the field," Vikings coach Mike Tice said this week. "In losing not only Randy, but Kelly Campbell, we lacked that player that could stretch the field and that is one of the reasons why we went with Troy.

"The third part is we thought he had a huge, huge upside, which we still feel he does. Like most rookies he has been up and down."

Williamson has dropped a few balls and occasionally looked timid before absorbing a big hit.

Williamson says he is comfortable with his role so far this season.

"I know coaches have wanted to take their time with me and that's what they've done," he said. "I'm getting pretty good opportunities and I'm trying to make due with what I get. But it's always tough to be patient when you have a team that's struggling."

Bottom line for both first-round receivers: They are rookies. And in the NFL, that means growing pains await.

"I don't think there is really a whole lot to talk about right now," Lions quarterback Jeff Garcia said. "(Williams) is working hard. He still needs to grow. He still needs to learn how to become a pro."

So does Williamson.

"The more reps, the better I get," Williamson said. "That's how I look at it. It all depends upon how many opportunities you get."

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