#20, Madieu Williams, FS
(6003, 203, 4.46-4.60) Maryland
Notes: Born Madieu Mohammed Williams, 10/18/81, Sierra Leone, West Africa. Moved to the United States at age nine and lived in Lanham, Md. First name is pronounced “muh-DEE-yew.” Attended Duval High in Lanham, where he was an all-county selection at cornerback; also lettered in track and baseball.
He is very active in the community. After his mother passed away from a stroke, Williams developed a first-hand understanding of the severity of minority health issues and founded the Madieu Williams Foundation, a fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation that focuses on health, wellness, nutrition, fitness and education. Through his foundation, Williams reaches out to youth and teaches them at an early age the importance of a healthy lifestyle. In addition, the Madieu Williams Foundation is working with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cincinnati to create and implement an incentive program that rewards children for making positive decisions that lead to a healthier lifestyle. Members will have the opportunity to receive incentive items based on their personal successes in school, at home, and at the community center. Built a playground in the Cincinnati area during 2007 season to get kids outside and active. KaBoom!, a national nonprofit organization that rallies communities to achieve better public policy, funding and public awareness for increased play opportunities nationwide, will serve as the partner for this initiative. Teamed up with Mercy Health Partners this past season to serve as the spokesperson for free health screening programs. Served in 2005 as honorary chairman for the Greater Cincinnati March of Dimes WalkAmerica. Each summer, he hosted a free football clinic for kids in the Cincinnati area that provided youth the opportunity to work on their football skills, sportsmanship, and teamwork skills, while building self-esteem both on and off the field. Business Courier selected Williams as one of the 2007 “40 Under 40,” making him the first athlete to get the award. Other hobbies include reading, traveling and golf.
College: Began his college career at Towson University before transferring to Maryland; began his collegiate career as a strong safety, shifting to cornerback as a sophomore before finding a home at free safety with the Terrapins. Came to Maryland as a walk-on, but was granted a scholarship by the end of spring 2001. One of the hardest working players on the team, he also earned Iron Terp honors (given for standout performances in the team’s offseason conditioning program). In 27 games at Maryland, he totaled 166 tackles (121 solos) with a 4-yard sack, 2 stops behind the line of scrimmage, 2 quarterback pressures, a pair of fumble recoveries, 4 forced fumbles, 7 interceptions and 12 pass breakups. For his collegiate career, he registered 261 tackles (190 solos), 4 tackles-for-loss, 8 interceptions, 29 pass deflections and 6 forced fumbles in 49 games. He earned his degree from Maryland in family studies.
Pre-draft workout numbers: 6003, 190 pounds, 18 reps at 225 pounds, 4.46-4.55 40-yard dash, 39 ½-inch vertical jump, 10’-10” broad jump, 4.18 short shuttle, 11.22 60-yard shuttle, 6.60 three-cone drill,
Pro: Drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the second round (No. 56 overall) in 2004. Started 13 of 16 games as a rookie in 2004; posting 103 tackles, 2 sacks, 7 pass breakups and 2 interceptions (including one returned 51 yards for a touchdown); played cornerback to start the season and finished the year at free safety, playing for Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who ran the Bengals defense then. Played in just four games in 2005; finished with 23 tackles, 2 PBU and one interception; was slowed by hamstring and back problems in training camp and suffered a shoulder injury during the regular season. Started all 16 games in 2006; registered 88 tackles, 10 PBU and 3 interceptions. In 13 games in 2007, he posted 74 tackles, 2 sacks, 7 PBU and 2 interceptions. Missed 3 games due to a quad injury.
Agreed to terms with the Minnesota Vikings on a six-year contract worth $33 million on Feb. 29, 2008. Is expected to start alongside Darren Sharper at free safety.
Positives: A physical, athletic safety with excellent versatility, Williams is big enough to provide strong run support, yet fast and quick enough to man a corner position or line up over the slot receiver in a nickel or dime package. Covers better than most safeties. Has a lean, angular body with good muscle tone. Can break down and diagnose plays quickly. Has the hip flexibility, quickness, foot speed and burst to close on the receiver when operating in man coverage. Shows adequate hips in transition. Alert in zone coverage, seeing the entire picture as plays develop in front of him. Does a nice job of getting up for the high pass and anticipating the quarterback’s moves. Plays hard and flows to the ball nicely. Good vertical jumping ability enables him to compete for the ball in flight. Very active in run support, getting downhill quickly while generating power behind his hits on ball carriers. Explosive tackler who hits with leverage and will pop the opponent upon contact.
Negatives: A little more quick than fast, lacking tremendous long speed and explosive acceleration. Is not truly outstanding in any one area of his game. Has had some injury/durability issues and is very thin in the lower legs.
Summary: Represents an upgrade at safety for the Vikings and very much fits the kind of team-oriented, high character, involved-in-the-community player the team is looking to build with. Should do quite well in Frazier’s defensive scheme.
What they said:
“He was one of the guys that we had targeted. He was a corner/safety, and our safeties have to be able, when we play in that Cover-2, to cover the field and also be able to come up and support [against the run]. We felt he fit all of the criteria that we were looking for, and we were very aggressive in going after him as well.” - Rick Spielman, Vikings VP of Player Personnel
“It just makes us so much better from a coverage standpoint. He'll be a tremendous asset. This is the type of safety you look for in the draft, a guy who can [hit] but still has coverage ability as well.” - Leslie Frazier, Vikings defensive coordinator
“I think I had my mind made up once I realized how serious they were and realizing the amount of talent is on this team. It was definitely something I want to be a part of and the place that I wanted to be. They have a lot of solid guys throughout the defense and overall as a team. I watched a couple of their games last year, and saw the excitement that was surrounding the organization, and I was looking forward to being a part of that.” - Williams
“He's an upgrade over Dwight Smith; more athletic and can be used in other ways. Madieu Williams is a good player.” – Adam Caplan, Scout.com
“Lights-out hitter who lacks great range off the hash but has enough athletic ability and speed to survive coverage in the NFL.” - Nolan Nawrocki, Pro Football Weekly
“Williams has a decent burst but just average range. He’s an excellent tackler in the box and isn’t afraid to deliver the big hit.” - Mel Kiper, Jr.