EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Kevin Williams’ time with the Minnesota Vikings, and his NFL career, might not be finished quite yet.
Williams, a free agent after having his final contract run out after an 11-year run with Minnesota, has been hearing from four teams and hopes to sign with a team in the next few weeks.
Speaking on Sirius XM radio’s NFL channel on Tuesday, Williams said he visited the New England Patriots, New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks and has continued talks with each of the three teams. Meanwhile, his agent, Tom Condon, has had renewed communication with the Vikings.
"We had a couple talks since (new coach Mike Zimmer has) been there and they just felt they were going to try and go younger," Williams said on Sirius XM. "They’ve talked to Tom lately and they might be trying to ease back in the picture. We’ll know more maybe as the week goes on."
Williams has been one of the most decorated players in Minnesota’s history. A five-time, first-team All-Pro, Williams is eighth all-time with 60 sacks as a member of the Vikings and was named to the team’s "50 Greatest Vikings" in 2010.
He’s played in 171 career games for Minnesota. Last season, he started all 15 games he played in and had 33 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 19 quarterback hurries.
But with Zimmer entering the picture, the Vikings have remade their defensive line and moved on with longtime stalwarts Williams and Jared Allen becoming free agents.
Williams had kept in contact with Minnesota early in the process, but the interest seemed to fade as the Vikings signed nose tackle Linval Joseph to a five-year, $31.25 million contract and then added Tom Johnson in free agency.
Minnesota also drafted Williams’ heir apparent, Sharrif Floyd, in the first round last year and drafted Shamar Stephen this season.
Zimmer said recently he believes the team will have the depth along the defensive line to have the ability to rotate players.
"I think we will be," Zimmer said last week. "Once we get the guys that we drafted all in here, I think that will help some of the things. (First-round pick Anthony) Barr will be used in a lot of different ways. (Third-round pick Scott) Crichton, he’ll be a rotation guy I’m sure. And then once we get Linval going a little bit more and (Corey) Wootton started going this week, so we’ll start getting a lot better rotation going. Right now it’s just guys are out there and let’s go."
Williams wasn’t part of a rotation much in his time with the Vikings and believes it could be one reason he’s still unsigned. He also acknowledged the preference for signing younger players.
"It’s mostly been said — age and the amount of plays I’ve already played has kind of been the hindrance," Williams said. "I played a lot in Minnesota with not much of a rotational system and just wear and tear over the last 11 years. To my credit, I’ve only missed three games with all this wear and tear, so something is going good for me."
Williams, 33, said fitting into a rotation will be beneficial.
"I think I still have some juice in the tank," Williams said. "And to be in a nice rotation that would maximize both for me and whatever team I’m with and we’d both get the best from it."
With four teams seemingly in the mix, Williams was asked if money would be a consideration.
"My main criteria, I think, has really been having a chance to win and playing with a proven quarterback," Williams said. "Those things are huge when you get older. You want to have that chance to get in the dance and be there to have a chance at the end of the season. You don’t want to take that beating all year just to go home for another offseason. I think having a chance to win and a good quarterback that will kind of help determine what pay I’m looking for and just how comfortable we can be with that."
Minnesota, of course, re-signed veteran Matt Cassel to be the team’s starting quarterback and drafted Teddy Bridgewater in the first round in May’s NFL Draft.
While some reports have said Williams could retire if he doesn’t find the right situation, he’s made his intentions clear.
"I’ll stay in shape," Williams said. "I plan on playing this season. That’s one thing I’m pretty certain on. I want to play this year. I’m pretty sure I’ll be on someone’s team by training camp."