The Vikings announced this afternoon that Kevin Williams, a member of the 50 greatest Vikings squad, signed a one-day contract with the team and will officially retire as a member of the Vikings on Thursday.
Williams, who played for the Vikings from 2003 to 2013, was selected to six Pro Bowls and was named an All-Pro five times during his decade with the Vikings. Williams, the ninth overall pick in the 2003 draft, started 171 career games with the Vikings, a franchise mark for defensive tackles. And Williams ranks eighth in Vikings history with 60 sacks.
“Kevin was one of the most respected players in Vikings history by his teammates and by opponents,” GM Rick Spielman said in a statement. “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 Vikings owner 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, who was not re-signed after current coach Mike Zimmer arrived in 2014, played for the Seahawks in 2014 and the Saints in 2015. But when it was time for Williams to hang up his cleats, he wanted to do it here.
“I had a great time with the Vikings and appreciate them giving me a chance,” the 35-year-old 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.
“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 [Williams], Jared [Allen], Ray [Edwards], [Brian Robison] and Fred [Evans]. I hope we set a standard for how you do things up front.”