Kevin Williams, one of the top defensive tackles in Minnesota Vikings history, signed a one-day contract with the team Wednesday and will retire Thursday as a member of the Vikings.
Williams was selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft by Minnesota and was selected to six Pro Bowls and named an All-Pro five times. Only Alan Page (nine times) has played in more Pro Bowls as a Viking.
"I had a great time with the Vikings and appreciate them giving me a chance," Williams said in a statement. "They drafted a small town kid from Arkansas and the organization, the city, the whole state really, helped raise me into a man. I appreciate them for that and look forward to coming back and doing some things with the team.
@Vikings "Ticket" is one of my all-time favorite Vikings and friends. He gave me my career when he played 3-tech here. #legend#goat
"My family loved it in Minnesota and will be back a lot. I really thank the Wilf Family and the McCombs Family for all they did for me. I had some great coaches, got to line up with some great players and we did a lot of good things. I look back on that line we had with Pat, Jared, Ray, B-Rob and Fred — I hope we set a standard for how you do things up front."
In 13 seasons with Minnesota, Williams started all 171 games he played in with the Vikings, the most career starts by any defensive tackle in franchise history. His 60 sacks with Minnesota is eighth-most among Vikings. Williams was voted as one of the top-50 players in franchise history during the team’s 50th anniversary season in 2010.
"Kevin was one of the most respected players in Vikings history by his teammates and by opponents," Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said. "He set a high standard for himself and led by example instead of words. We thank him for everything he gave the Vikings and the legacy he leaves."
Added owner and chairman Zygi Wilf: "Kevin Williams was an established team leader when we bought the Vikings and his presence was crucial to our success. His consistency and durability makes him a Viking for the ages. We wish Kevin and his family all the best as they enjoy retirement."
Williams finished his career with Seattle in 2014 and New Orleans in 2015. He played 203 NFL games, recording 525 tackles, 63 sacks, nine forced fumbles and five interceptions.
Williams is the second former Minnesota player to sign a one-day contract as retire as a Viking this year, joining Jared Allen, who did the same in April.