It was no coincidence that the Vikings defense registered 5 sacks against a team that had allowed zero sacks previously in the same game that DT Kevin Williams made his return to the lineup. After missing the first two weeks of the 2011 regular season, Williams returned in Week 3 against the Detroit Lions and the result was not pleasant for QB Matthew Stafford.
Williams is known as a premier run-stopper in the NFL because he teamed with Pat Williams for several seasons to form the “Williams Wall.” That DT tandem helped the Vikings rank #1 against the run from 2006-08 and then #2 against the run in 2009. But Williams is also a huge factor in the team’s pass rush, largely because he commands a double-team nearly every snap, which yields other players along the defensive line one-on-one matchups.
When you have DEs such as Jared Allen and Brian Robison in one-on-one matchups, you’re going to get to the QB. Allen and Robison have 13.0 sacks between them, which is the most of any NFL DE tandem so far this season.
Williams’ two-game absence required him to be away from the team entirely, including at the training facility during the week. Since he’s returned, though, Williams has quickly gotten up to speed in terms of his play on the field, his level of conditioning and in his battle with a foot injury that’s bothered him since training camp.
“No problems,” Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said. “He doesn’t complain about it. He doesn’t talk about it anymore.”
Opposing offenses must be complaining. Williams is a player that opponents must account for on each snap because of his ability to penetrate the backfield and be a disruptive force. And even when he’s double-teamed, Frazier says, he can still get the job done.
“Now that he is really where he needs to be physically, I think it’s going to be a lot tougher for people even when they do try to double him,” Frazier explained. “He’s one of those guys, even when people have double-teamed him in the past, that didn’t necessarily stop him from doing what he had to do. I think he’s about back to that point now.”
Tags: Kevin Williams, Leslie Frazier
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