Flashback: Vikings Draft Kevin Williams 20 Years Ago

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The draft is approaching fast.

It will take place on Thursday night. As usual, it will be very exciting and interesting.

What will the Minnesota Vikings and the other 31 teams do? We will find out soon. While waiting, let’s take a trip down memory lane. It was 20 years ago today Minnesota drafted defensive tackle Kevin Williams ninth overall out of Oklahoma State.

Flashback: Vikings Draft Kevin Williams 20 Years Ago

(4) Kevin Williams highlights – YouTube

While Williams was an outstanding player for the franchise during his 11 seasons with them, the event leading up to the selection and the fans’ reactions were not positive at all. It was also very embarrassing, to say the least.

Draft Kevin
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – DECEMBER 1: Kevin Williams #93 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on before the game against the Chicago Bears on December 1, 2013 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Bear 23-20 in overtime. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Minnesota, for the second year in a row, did not turn in their draft selection on time. They once again selected seventh overall, but this time they fell to the ninth spot after failing to work out a trade to move down with the Baltimore Ravens.

Fans at the team facility were furious. Not only because they moved down two spots despite not even making a trade. Fans also wanted Arizona State defensive end and Minnesota native Terrell Suggs.

“That kind of stuck with me,” Williams said. “It was one of those, ‘I’ll show you’ type of deals. I found motivation in it. I was out to prove I was one of the best players in the draft anyway, and it only added more self-motivation.”

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

As the fans expected, Suggs became a great player in this league. Luckily for them, though, Williams did too. Not as good as Suggs, but still very good. (via ESPN.com)

Then head coach Mike Tice was booed loudly as he was getting ready to address the fans. He said, “Okay, calm down.”

From 2003-2013, Williams racked up 63 sacks, earning six Pro Bowl berths and five All-Pro selections in purple. In his first two seasons, he had 22 sacks. He also was a touchdown machine, too, with four. Yes, as a defensive tackle, he had four (two on interceptions and two on fumble recoveries).

Said Tice: “I bet you no one is heckling that pick now.”

From 2005-2010, he and Pat Williams (no relation) formed a great duo at defensive tackle. Both were nicknamed “The Williams Wall” and helped make Minnesota one of the league’s best run-stopping defenses. When they traded for Jared Allen in 2008, the defensive line and the whole defense became that much better.

Had Williams not panned out, the decision to choose him over Suggs would have been one of the biggest draft blunders in team history, and the embarrassment of moving down two selections would have looked that much worse.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Suggs would have been a very good selection too, but in the end, Williams turned out to be a very good one too. No doubt one of the best first-round selections in the team’s history, and fans will never forget the Williams Wall.

In 2009, the Vikings went 12-4 and came close to making it to the Super Bowl. There were plenty of key contributors on that team, including Brett Favre, who was brought in during the preseason, but Williams was definitely one of the key pieces on that team.

Would they have also traded for Allen the year before had they drafted Suggs over Williams? Maybe not.

The plan was for Williams to pair with Chris Hovan for years. Hovan was the team’s first-round pick in 2000. He did not progress after 2002 and was not brought back after the 2004 season. Pat Williams was signed, and for six seasons, both Williamses were quite a deadly duo.

It’s a perfect example of how you never know what you get in the draft. Fans did not expect Williams to be as good as he became.

(4) Big Ticket – Kevin Williams Career Highlights – YouTube