Williamson Wants to Prove It

After all the hard work he has put in during the offseason, Troy Williamson knows he still has to prove to his peers and fans that he can perform consistently in game situations. See what Williamson and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell had to say about his outlook as the real games are about to begin.

Sunday could be the start of the rest of Troy Williamson's career, one that he hopes will take a turn for the positive in 2007.

His game against the Atlanta Falcons will be his first full-time opportunity to prove that all the tests on his vision this offseason and all the additional footballs he caught can turn into a more consistent and productive outing on the football field.

"Everything I've done is going to show up on film and on the field. Now for me it's just building myself back up to where I need to be to be that elite player," said the No. 7 overall draft pick in 2005. "It feels like it's been a long, long road – training camp and OTAs and offseason workouts. But now it's down to these 16 games to get going so we can make a run for this."

Williamson is estimated to have caught more than 15,000 footballs since the start of the offseason, part of his training regimen to improve his vision and his eye-hand coordinator. After being credited with 11 dropped passes in 2006, there is still some proving left to do, although he says it's not necessarily anything he needs to prove to himself.

"Not even to myself, to everybody around me – my peers and the fans and stuff – just go out here and do what I do," he said. "Now it's just come out and do it. I know I put the time in. … The work and the effort that you put into something, you've got to have faith in yourself that it's going to work. I feel that it's going to work out for me this season."

So far, he has shown his coaches that he has the desire to improve upon his first two seasons, when he caught a combined 61 passes for 827 yards and only two touchdowns.

"We are excited about Troy Williamson, the progress that he made, the work that he's put in," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "Coach (Brad Childress) always talks about the equity that he has built with all of the work. He has things that he can fall back on, that he knows he has put the work in. We are excited about what he can do. We've made an emphasis the first game to get a couple throws to him. He made the plays when we got it to him and we need to continue to do that.

But even Bevell admits that Williamson has to carry his work over from the practices and show he can perform on a consistent basis under the glare of an NFL game.

"It's one thing to do it out here with the coaches throwing to him and then the quarterbacks throwing to him. Now it's in a game situation; now he just continues to build on that confidence," Bevell said.

One of those chances to prove he has turned a corner in his career came in the second half the Vikings' third preseason game, widely regarded as the preseason game that matters most to NFL teams. The Vikings were trailing the Seattle Seahawks 16-10 at halftime and came out looking strong offensively on their first possession of the second half.

Despite starting from their own 2-yard line, Chester Taylor had the team out to the 31-yard line after only two rushes to the right side. Adrian Peterson followed with two more runs that netted 23 yards. The Vikings were across midfield and marching with authority.

On the fifth play of the drive, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson launched a potential touchdown pass Williamson's way. It's been a topic of debate since then if the pass was too far or if it was a catchable ball for Williamson. "It would have been a catchable ball if I could have ran a little bit harder. The few plays before, I was really going after the safety, blocking on the run plays," Williamson said. "When that play was called, I was winded, but if I would have run a little bit harder, it would have been a catchable ball. I had ran by the corner already – that wasn't the question. If I would have ran just a little bit harder, I could have probably ran up under the ball. It's easy to say now I could have dove for the ball, but there is so much going on in a game. That's the way the boat floats."

But those are the types of plays he will need to make to improve the Vikings' chances of becoming more explosive and putting more points on the scoreboard.

"We're confident in the work that he has put in, but obviously every time that you do it in a game-like situation it will build his confidence more importantly than anybody," Bevell said.

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