Roderick Williams – From North Of The Border To The NFC North

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 13, 2013 – 7:42 am

The Vikings have reached into the CFL with success in the past. Bud Grant became the second head coach in franchise history after leading the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to 4 Grey Cup titles over 10 seasons. Grant’s success with the Vikings is well-chronicled, so we won’t take the time or space to detail it here. Suffice it to say, he’s perhaps the most revered figure in franchise history.

Earlier this week the Vikings reached across the border once again by signing CB Roderick Williams. The point here is not to compare what Grant accomplished with the Vikings from 1967-83 and in 1985 to what Williams could do for the Vikings now. The Grant part was just an opportunity to spice up an offseason blog entry with a Hall of Fame name. Rather, the signing of a player in mid-February who was an all-star in another professional football league further illustrates the point Vikings GM Rick Spielman makes frequently – that building and maintaining an NFL roster is truly a year-round, never-ending process.

Williams may be just a training camp body who is discarded before the 2013 regular season commences. Or he may be a member of the 53-man roster when the Vikings suit up in Week 1. Or he may be somewhere in between, we don’t know yet. What we do know is that Williams measures in at 5-10, 180 pounds. He’s 26 years old and is technically an undrafted rookie because this is his first NFL contact. But he’s played at a high level in the CFL for 3 seasons, collecting 11 INTs and one all-star honor for the Edmonton Eskimos in that time.

Edmonton released Williams, who attended the same school as Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier (Alcorn State), from his contract specifically so he could pursue an opportunity in the NFL. That opportunity will be with Frazier and the Vikings.

NFL teams signing standout players from the CFL is nothing new. Of late, players such as DE Cameron Wake and CB Brandon Browner have successfully made the transition. Wake has 43.0 sacks and has missed just 2 games in 4 seasons with the Dolphins while Browner has 28 starts and 9 INTs for the Seahawks in 2 seasons. Just this offseason, the New England Patriots have signed 2 former CFL players – DE/OLB Jason Vega and DE Armond Armstead.

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