Believe it or not, the market for veteran defensive tackle Kevin Williams won’t be hot when free agency opens tomorrow. Assuming that’s the case, the 11-year NFL veteran could opt to re-sign with the Minnesota Vikings.
Williams, a five-time All-Pro and six-time Pro Bowler, has spent his entire career with the Vikings. Age and injuries, however, have limited his effectiveness in the last couple of seasons, forcing the team to consider going in a different direction. They spent a 2013 first-round pick on Sharrif Floyd, his future replacement, and have yet to put together a new deal for Williams after a relatively average 2013 season.
Apparently, Vikings GM Rick Spielman wouldn’t mind bringing Williams back for a 12th season in the Twin Cities, though.
“I wouldn’t rule it out,” Williams said. “I would like to come back, but I’ll have to see if it’s a fit for both of us. I talked to Rick a couple of times and he said he wants me back. I have to see what the coaching staff is going to want.”
While he’s no longer the dominant defensive tackle he used to be, Williams can still be a contributor along the Vikings’ 4-3 front. With Floyd still a question mark heading into his second NFL season, Minnesota might need a reliable option at the three-technique until the sophomore gets comfortable in a starting role.
In reality, an extended relationship between Williams and the Vikings will likely depend on the veteran’s asking price. Even though they have roughly $40 million to work with heading into free agency, Minnesota can’t afford to allocate too much of that money towards an aging defensive tackle. With so many other areas of the roster in need of help, it simply isn’t an option. Other teams will see that, too, which is why a return to the Vikings could be Williams’ best option.
If the Vikings can get Williams for a good price, he’d definitely be worth bringing back. He’s a proven playmaker who can be disruptive against the run and pass, and would provide a veteran presence along a defensive line set to loss Jared Allen to free agency.
The feeding frenzy starts tomorrow, so we’ll see what happens. If the pieces fall into place, though, don’t be surprised to see Williams back in purple and gold in 2014.