Vikings: Pat Williams’ games: football, cars

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 3, 2007 - 10:41 PM

Pat Williams, the Vikings' free-spirited Pro Bowl nose tackle, is a heavyweight on the field and in the automotive-customizing business.

Follow the stylish maroon Cadillac Escalade with the matching 26-inch, custom spoke wheels long enough and you get the feeling you might be trailing a pro athlete, an entertainer or a groupie from MTV's "Pimp My Ride." Get close enough to see the iced-out personalized emblem on the rear hatch and, well, even a car dummy who knows anything about the Minnesota Vikings knows who's inside.

"BIG PAT," the tastefully designed emblem reads in block letters.

"Yeah, they call me 'Big Pat,' or 'Big Nasty,' or 'Big Duke,' or all kinds of crazy names," said Big Pat Williams, the Vikings' 327-pound Pro Bowl nose tackle. "I have fun. Always. I'll always be laughing when I whip your ..." um, butt.

On or off the field, Big Pat usually finds a way to whip ... um, butt. On this particular day last month, he led a reporter and a photographer on his midday route from Winter Park, where he had just worked out and participated in an offseason organized team activity, to New Hope and Automotive Concepts, his 17,000-square-foot workplace away from work.

Williams doesn't roll up the sleeves and personally pimp any rides. That will come four years from now when he plans to retire to Monroe, La., and that newly constructed home with the nine-car garage out back. But Williams is a 25 percent co-owner and Bunyan-sized talking billboard for the successful 21-year-old Automotive Concepts, which, according to its website (www.ac-mn.com), is an "industry leader in automotive restyling and accessories."I always liked cars," said Williams, who owns 13, and, no, that's not a typo. "I watched those pimp shows on TV and I'd say, 'I got better ideas than what they're doing.' "

Teammates agree. Lots of teammates. And members of the Twins, the Wolves and other pro teams from coast to coast also believe in Automotive Concepts. Jeremy Luffey, another 25 percent co-owner and Williams' best local friend sans shoulder pads, said there are customers from at least a dozen professional sports teams.

They've come mainly through word of mouth. Mostly Big Pat's, well, big mouth.

"You should see Pat doing his networking around the locker room," said Vikings defensive end Kenechi Udeze, a regular customer. "Let's just say you don't have to worry about Pat after he's done with football. Pat has a future in anything he does. I always say he's a candidate for a reality TV show. Every day around here, it's a comedy skit starring Pat Williams. The rest of us just add a little flavor to the show."

Glue to the team

On the field, Williams is an interior offensive lineman's pain in the ... um, butt. He's big enough to hold his ground yet quick enough to zip forward in a blink. Off the field, he doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, throws a mean dart and rolls a wicked bowling ball, although teammates say he's stretching the truth by about 40-45 pins on that claim of having a 250 average.

"Two-fifty!" Udeze shrieked. "Now that's a bold-faced lie. The last time we played, I won two and [defensive end] Ray Edwards won three. The rest of [the Vikings' defensive linemen] weren't any good when Pat got us started, and Pat had been playing his whole life. He's good, but 250!? Nah."

Williams also is a sharp dresser, a bit of a neat freak and an 11-year veteran who, at 33, leads the Vikings locker room in a way teammates have compared to a big brother or, as Udeze said, "your high school football coach." Williams believes in coach Brad Childress, and vice versa, even though their first impressions of each other weren't exactly positive.

Williams no longer sees Childress as standoffish with the players. Childress sees Williams in better shape, and views him as a valuable ally in the locker room.

Winter Park's King of Cars

Hmm, let's see. What else is there about Big Pat? Oh yeah, the cars.

He's got a Bentley, a Mercedes and three Escalades. (Hey, the wife, Valarie, has to have something with which to tote the children -- Crystal, 15; Alesha, 14; and Big Pat II, 2.) There's also the Dodge, and the Impalas from '63, '64, '95 and '96, and ... well, you get the idea.

"I had one Impala that Torii Hunter wanted," Williams said. "Every time I'd see him, he'd say, 'I want that car!' So I sold it to him."

Williams has sold so many cars to teammates that he's lost count. Former teammate Marcus Robinson bought three of them.

"When we aren't playing football, that's what we do," Udeze said. "We buy cars off each other."

Big Pat, of course, is the undisputed King of Cars at Winter Park.

"I personally don't hear him talking about the cars, but every day I leave this place, Pat's in a different car," Vikings defensive line coach Karl Dunbar said. "I think that's how he gets all his publicity. All these young kids want the fancy rims, the nice paint job, the speakers, TVs in their cars, things like that."

'We got to move the seat back for Kevin'

According to its website, Automotive Concepts offers 44 products. There's the Katzkin leather interior, strut grills, suicide doors and stereo systems loud enough to make you grab your ears and ask, "Are we in the Metrodome?" Except when Williams cranked up the sound system inside his maroon Escalade, one could actually understand the words, too.

During last month's walk through the Automotive Concepts shop, there were cars being customized for New England Patriots and former Gophers running back Laurence Maroney, Vikings cornerback Cedric Griffin, Wolves player Trenton Hassell and another local guy by the name of KG.

"That's Kevin Garnett's right there," Williams said. "We got to move the seat back for Kevin."

Williams moves around the room and mentions how the company recently had to fire a paint crew. Mistakes aren't an option when the company is traveling all over the country to pick up vehicles, transport them to New Hope, customize them and then deliver them.

"I know some guys who send their cars to Florida and don't hear anything for six months, even though they're calling and calling," Udeze said. "[Automotive Concepts] went to L.A. and picked up a car of mine and brought it here for me. They know they only have one chance to make a good impression, so they do. But then when a former [Southern Cal] teammate of mine like [Seahawks linebacker] Lofa Tatupu calls me and wants to know where he can get his car done, I send him to Pat, and the shop goes and gets his car in Seattle."

Birth of a businessman

Williams was involved in two similar shops in Buffalo when he played for the Bills from 1997 to 2004. He sold his share in one but kept the other. After he retires, he'd like to keep his interests in the shops in Buffalo and New Hope and open other shops, including one in Monroe, La.

"When I first moved here to Minnesota, and I was still staying at the Sheraton downtown, I'd just get in my truck and ride around looking for stuff," Williams said. "Today, guys ask me, 'How do you know how to get around like you do?' And I say, 'You got nothing else to do most of the time.' Basically, it was work out until 12 and get in my truck and ride and go get lost."

Williams found Automotive Concepts while lost two years ago.

"I had just bought a truck and I needed it customized," Williams said. "I found Jeremy and we just hit it off. And then I brought everybody else with me."

On the field or on the road, some guys can't help but follow "Big Pat."

  • related content

  • Big Pat unplugged

    Tuesday July 3, 2007

    When a ferocious, butt-kickin' beast who can dominate the storm that is an NFL line of scrimmage talks, we don't interrupt.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Kansas City - J. Guthrie 7:07 PM
San Francisco - T. Hudson
San Diego 21 FINAL
Denver 35
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Dallas 6:00 PM
Orlando
New York 6:30 PM
Toronto
San Antonio 7:00 PM
Houston
Miami 7:00 PM
Memphis
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Chicago
Phoenix 8:00 PM
Utah
Sacramento 9:00 PM
LA Lakers
Denver 9:30 PM
Golden State
Portland 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Dallas 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Tampa Bay 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Vancouver 8:00 PM
Colorado
Carolina 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Columbus 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Houston 7:00 PM
Chicago
Montreal 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who wins and loses in football this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close