When former Minnesota Vikings star defensive tackle Kevin Williams was convinced to come up from his native Arkansas this week to the TCO Performance Center, he wasn’t provided the full reason for the visit.
“Tom (West, a team public relations official), he actually told me we were going to do some P.R. stuff,’’ Williams said. “We went around the facility and we go into one of the meeting rooms, and here’s all the executives and owners sitting in here, and I’m like, ‘What’s going on here.’’’
What went on was Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf and general manager Rick Spielman informing Williams on Wednesday that he will be inducted this fall into the Ring of Honor. He will become the 26th member during a ceremony at a 2021 game that has yet to be determined.
“I’m still in total surprise and in awe of this honor,’’ Williams said a few hours later. “I’m still kind of in a fairy tale now. I can’t believe it. I’m still shocked.
Williams played for the Vikings from 2003-13, and was named five times first-team all-pro and six times to the Pro Bowl. He concluded his career in 2014 with Seattle and in 2015 with New Orleans.
“He was one of the greatest defensive players in team history, and he very much deserves this honor,’’ Zygi Wilf said in a statement.
After learning about it, Williams attended the second practice of a three-day Vikings mandatory minicamp. He addressed the players afterward, and said he told them that “Minnesota raised me.”
Williams was taken by the Vikings with the No. 9 pick out of Oklahoma State in the 2003 draft. He told a story Wednesday about how he asked for and was given uniform No. 93 before he realized it had once been worn by defensive tackle John Randle, who played for the Vikings from 1990-2000 and was named to the Ring of Honor in 2008.
“Once I got here and realized I picked 93, and it was like, ‘Kid, you know you can’t be a bust, right?’’’ Williams said he told himself then.
Randle is also in the Pro Football of Fame. So what does Williams think about possibly one day also joining him in the Canton, Ohio, shrine?
“The hall would be awesome if that call is made but I played the game because I loved it, it was my job,’’ he said. “I didn’t play for any recognition. … All the recognition, that’s just the bonus part of it.’’
The only players not present for Wednesday’s workout were kicker Riley Patterson and cornerback Jeff Gladney, who has been absent all spring after being arrest April 5 in Dallas on a charge of third-degree felony family violence assault. … Not practicing were defensive ends Danielle Hunter and Hercules Mata’afa, cornerback Cameron Dantzler and rookie linebacker Chazz Surratt. Surratt wouldn’t disclose his injury but said he will be healthy for training camp in late July.