Pat Williams to Play in Pro Bowl

The man they call Big Pat will represent the Vikings in the Pro Bowl after all, as his replacing the injured Tommie Harris became official Friday.

As expected, Pat Williams was announced Friday as a representative of the NFC in the Pro Bowl in two weeks. Williams, who was the first alternate when the teams were announced, replaces Tommie Harris of the Bears – who was placed on injured reserve in December after severely tearing a hamstring in the Bears' Dec. 3 win over the Vikings.

Although acknowledged as one of the top defensive tackles in the game, this will be Williams' first Pro Bowl appearance of his 10-year career. It would have been hard to imagine even as recently as the 2005 season that the Vikings would have two defensive linemen in the Pro Bowl, but, coming off the second-lowest rushing total allowed by a defense since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, the Vikings will be represented in Hawaii.

Besides being one of the game's premiere run stuffers, Williams has also shown his durability. He hasn't missed a game since joining the Vikings in 2005, despite battling knee problems through much of the 2006 season. He was a key reason teams abandoned the run in the second half of the season, and the Vikings eventually held Detroit to minus-3 yards rushing in a Dec. 10 game.

For the season, the Vikings held opponents to 985 yards rushing, a franchise record and the second lowest total in the NFL since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970.

Williams finished the season with 59 tackles, including 11 for losses, and 14 quarterback hurries.

Aside from Pat Williams, defensive tackle Kevin Williams, center Matt Birk and offensive guard Steve Hutchinson will represent the Vikings at this year's Pro Bowl on Feb. 10.

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