EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — One of the keys to beating the Washington Redskins last week and mobile quarterback Robert Griffin III was the pressure applied up the middle by Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams.
Williams offered most of his disruption from the nose tackle instead of his usual 3-technique spot where he has made five All-Pro teams. Minnesota faces another mobile quarterback this week in Seattle’s Russell Wilson and the experiment with Williams at nose tackle will remain.
Coach Leslie Frazier said Williams will play some nose tackle on Sunday at Seattle after the success he had moving to the spot in last week’s game when he had 2.5 sacks. Williams’ move became a necessity after Letroy Guion and Fred Evans both missed last week’s game with injuries.
Frazier is intrigued with the possibility of Williams playing some at nose tackle, regardless of the health at defensive tackle.
“We’re probably going to get him a few snaps there,” Frazier said. “Some of it depends on Letroy’s health, along with Fred, and we’re not sure where Fred is at this point. Letroy seems to be getting better. He’ll practice today, so we’ll have a better idea. He did such a good job in that ballgame against Washington, we got to consider it. It may happen sometimes in that game on Sunday.”
Guion (chest) was a full participant in practice on Wednesday. Evans (knee) was held out of team drills, but did work on the side with athletic trainers during practice.
Frazier said Willliams likely wouldn’t start at nose tackle, depending on the health of Guion and Evans, but Williams will see time there after posting his first multi-sack game since 2009. Previously, Williams has spoken out against a move to nose tackle.
“Well the blocking schemes are a lot different there, a lot more people trying to cut at your legs,” Frazier said. “Those things factor in. And you’re a little bit closer to the ball, and he’s always been a dominant 3-technique in our league. So, it requires, I don’t want to say skill set, but a little different mindset playing at the nose position.”
Rest of the injured Vikings: Minnesota is getting healthier in advance of Sunday’s game against the 9-1 Seahawks. Linebacker Erin Henderson missed practice with an illness and Evans and tight end Kyle Rudolph (broken foot) were out Wednesday.
Running back Matt Asiata (shoulder), tight end Rhett Ellison (ankle), fullback Jerome Felton (back) and quarterback Christian Ponder (left shoulder) were listed as limited.
Cornerback Chris Cook (hamstring), safety Jamarca Sanford (groin), linebacker Chad Greenway (wrist), guard Charlie Johnson (elbow/toe) and tackle Phil Loadholt (concussion) were full participants in practice.
Filling out the practice squad: Minnesota made several changes to its practice squad on Tuesday and Wednesday. The latest move was necessitated by the Carolina Panthers signing offensive lineman Travis Bond off Minnesota’s practice squad to their active roster.
Bond, 6-foot-7 and 330 pounds, was a seventh-round draft choice by the Vikings this year. To replace Bond, Minnesota signed offensive tackle Jamaal Johnson-Webb, a rookie out of Alabama A&M.
Johnson-Webb was signed by the Arizona Cardinals after going undrafted and was on the Chicago Bears’ practice squad in September. Johnson-Webb was listed at 6-foot-5 and 313 pounds coming out in the draft.
The Vikings added defensive lineman Spencer Nealy, who was with the team in training camp. Nealy was waived in the final cuts on Aug. 31.
Minnesota also re-signed tackle Kevin Murphy to the practice squad. Murphy was on the active roster for Sunday’s game with Loadholt out because of a concussion. Murphy was waived as the team re-signed linebacker Audie Cole to the active roster. Cole was previously waived to make room for Murphy to be signed to the active roster.