Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Questions surround defensive line

Posted by: under Quarterbacks, Vikings, Leslie Frazier, Vikings players, Brian Robison, Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Leslie Frazier, Pat Williams, Ray Edwards Updated: March 11, 2011 - 10:31 AM

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier talked about the need to improve the defensive line at the NFL Scouting Combine two weeks ago.

The Vikings were not nearly as strong against the run this past season and they didn't put as much pressure on quarterbacks as they did in 2009.

"That's a scenario where we want to do some things that can really help our defensive line," Frazier said. "We're aging at one of the spots, we need to do some things to improve. One of the mantras has been being good against the run, stopping the run. We've kind of slipped a little bit, so we have to take a look at some things and see what we have to do to improve in that area."

The Vikings face the prospect of opening the 2011 season with three new starters on the line. Jared Allen possibly could be the only returning starter, at least for the first four games.

That's because defensive tackle Kevin Williams decided to end his legal fight with the NFL in the StarCaps case. Williams elected not to petition the state Supreme Court to review an Appeals Court decision that allowed the NFL to suspend the Williamses for four games for taking a banned diuretic.

It's unclear if the four-game suspension will be reduced by the league through negotiation once a new CBA gets done. But for now, Williams faces a four-game suspension.

Pat Williams continued his legal case and if the Supreme Court decides to review it, he likely could play another season before a final ruling is handed down.

Williams is a free agent, turns 39 in October and has battled a few injuries the past two seasons. Williams has said he would like to play two more years though. The general feeling is that the Vikings are not inclined to bring him back, but you wonder if Kevin Williams' possible four-game suspension will influence their decision.

Left end Ray Edwards will likely be an unrestricted free agent with a new CBA and probably will command more on the open market than the Vikings are willing to pay. The team signed Brian Robison to a three-year deal last week.

If Edwards and Pat Williams leave and Kevin Williams' suspension stays at four games, the line certainly will have a much different look at the start of next season.

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