The Vikings' combination of Pat Williams and Kevin Williams is becoming a dominating force inside the team's defensive line and a major reason why Minnesota now has the No. 2-ranked rush defense in the league.
The Vikings' run defense moved from fourth to second in the NFL after holding Seattle to 53 yards on the ground Sunday. Only the Dallas Cowboys
are tougher against the run than the Vikings, who are 4-2 after Sunday's 31-13 victory over the Seahawks.
"It all starts up in the front," Vikings coach Brad Childress said. "Those guys, the right starts in front every single week. It starts every single day in practice in the front and that's not negotiable. That's going to happen every time we line up."
Childress did not single anyone out but the key to the Vikings' success against the run has been the play of tackles Kevin Williams
and Pat Williams
. Kevin Williams had a sack, a quarterback hurry, broke up a pass and recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown Sunday. Pat Williams added a quarterback hurry.
"They do a lot of things well," middle linebacker Napoleon Harris
said. "They collapse the line, they shoot gaps, they penetrate gaps and they cause double teams. When you have offensive linemen double-teaming your D-tackles, the linebackers have a lot of opportunities to run through gaps as well and to play open in space."
It was the attention the Seahawks had to put on the Vikings' tackles that helped linebacker Ben Leber
force the fumble by quarterback Seneca Wallace
that enabled Kevin Williams to recover the ball in the end zone.
Childress, who calls plays for the Vikings, knows just how effective it is to have his linemen causing this havoc for opponents.
"I know it's frustrating as a play-caller, and it's much easier as a play-caller when you have the run and you have play-action that you're able to use off the run game," he said. "It's huge. I mean it's huge to be able to make a team one-dimensional and I think you try to do that every weekend. I think from the other side somewhere you have to elicit some patience."
Left guard Steve Hutchinson received a rude welcome in his first trip to Seattle since leaving the Seahawks to sign with the Vikings last offseason. "They basically cussed me out for about three hours," he said when asked if he had much interaction with the fans. "That was it. I don't know. That is about as much interaction as I had."
Running back Chester Taylor was surprised Hutchinson did not receive a warmer response. "I don't know why they don't still have love for him, he played his heart and soul for this team while he was here. But that's how it is."
Linebacker E.J. Henderson has no problem identifying why the Vikings' run defense has been so good this season. "Number 94, number 93," he said referring to Pat Williams and Kevin Williams. "Those guys are playing fast. We are playing excellent. We just clean up. We only gave up 60 yards rushing (53 yards, actually, against Seattle), and that's pretty good."
RB Chester Taylor is the NFL's leading rusher through Sunday with 590 yards. He also had four catches against Seattle and has taken over the Vikings' team lead with 21 receptions.
WR Troy Williamson, who suffered a concussion in the first quarter when he landed no his head while trying to catch a deep pass, should be able to play Monday night against New England. Williamson did not return.
WR Travis Taylor suffered a concussion Sunday but he remained in the game. Coach Brad Childress said WR Troy Williamson was probably in better shape than Taylor on Monday.
WR Marcus Robinson underwent an MRI on Monday after suffering a lower back contusion at Seattle. Results were not immediately available.
LB E.J. Henderson did not have an interception in his first three seasons but has picked off a pass in each of the last two games.
Cornerbacks Cedric Griffin and Ronyell Whitaker continue to alternate series as the Vikings' nickel back. Griffin plays left corner and Antoine Winfield moves into the slot. Whitaker, meanwhile, plays in the slot.
LE Jayme Mitchell was inactive against Seattle as the Vikings decided to dress receiver Bethel Johnson instead. Mitchell had played in the past three games.