Two days before the draft, Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said the team found an answer at one of its questionable positions: defensive tackle.
Unfortunately, Spielman joked, it was a short-term solution.
Spielman announced Tuesday at his annual pre-draft press conference that defensive tackle Pat Williams will sign a one-day contract with Minnesota on Thursday to retire as a member of the Vikings.
“I know he’s going to be involved with our draft party down there, and we’ll sign him to a contract on Thursday,” Spielman said. “Unfortunately, we’re going to have to release him on Friday.”
Williams, 40, has been out of the league since his final season with Minnesota in 2010. The three-time Pro Bowler played eight seasons with the Buffalo Bills and six with the Vikings after going undrafted in 1997. Williams’ three Pro Bowl appearances all came with Minnesota. He was the anchor in the middle of the Vikings’ vaunted run defenses, combining with Kevin Williams to form the “Williams Wall.” The Vikings have been searching for an able replacement for the 315-pound tackle since deciding not to re-sign him when he became a free agent in 2011.
Williams had 20.5 career sacks, 7.5 with the Vikings, eight forced fumbles and nine fumble recoveries in his career.
“We’re going to sign Pat Williams back as our nose tackle and then retire him as a Minnesota Viking,” Spielman said. “So we’re very excited about that. … Not only what he’s done on the field but off of the field, he’s one of the great all-time leaders and all-time players here for the Minnesota Vikings.”