View Full Version : Adding a Tank to the arsenal

04-14-2006, 01:54 PM

APRIL 13, 2006
Author: Mike Wobschall

For the second consecutive off-season, the Minnesota Vikings spent much of their time and effort fortifying the defense. With starters Sam Cowart and Corey Chavous, along with nickel back Brian Williams departed, there were some holes that the Vikings front office and coaching staff had to fill. And what better way to fill that hole than with a Tank.

Former Tennessee Titans safety Tank Williams will dawn a Vikings jersey in 2006 after signing a free agent contract with the team on March 23rd. In four years with the Titans, Williams, who stands at 6-3 and weighs 223 pounds, played and started in 57 games, including three seasons where he started all 16 games. During that time, he recorded 207 tackles, five interceptions, four and a half sacks and 25 passes defended. He also started in all four playoff games while with Tennessee. He posted a career-high 83 tackles in 2005 to lead the defensive backfield. While with Tennessee, Williams played on defenses that ranked first in 2003 and second in 2002 in the NFL against the run.

The five-year veteran out of Stanford was drafted in the second round of the 2002 NFL Draft by the Titans. While playing at Stanford, Williams was a four-year letter winner and he became the first Stanford defensive back to earn first-team All-America honors.

The Vikings targeted Williams specifically because of his ability to defend the run from the secondary. While it seems the ideal safety is of the ball-hawking style, Williams shines when he can play closer to the line of scrimmage and crush ball-carriers. While Williams has shown he is capable of covering in the secondary, there is no doubt his forte is in defending against the run.

"We talk about the Tampa 2. However, those safeties spend a great deal of time playing down by the line of scrimmage, particularly if you find people that are trying to run the football on you," Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said. "Tank Williams can hit you. He can fill up a hole, he can play by the line of scrimmage. Not that he can't play in a deep half, but somewhere you need strikers coming out of the back end."

And that's what Tank will do, strike you.

"I can definitely cover people in the secondary, there's no doubt about that," Williams said. "But I think where I excel is in the running game. I would consider myself a run-stuffer rather than a ball-hawker."

The addition of Williams to the Vikings secondary is a perfect fit. With Williams, the team will have a run-stuffing presence that can come from the secondary, and a hard-hitting safety who lurks in the dark waiting to punish a wide receiver. And let us not forget who will be lining up next to Williams in the Vikings secondary - All-Pro Darren Sharper. Sharper earned yet another Pro Bowl appearance last season, after leading the Vikings with nine interceptions. Sharper is the quintessential ball-hawker, with a knack for making plays and jumping pass routes. This gives the Vikings a perfect combination of safeties.

Williams is excited to play with his new defensive teammates, Shaper definitely included.

"I'm very excited to play with Darren," Williams said. "Playing with such a professional will really help my game out as well."

The atmosphere around Winter Park is what attracted Williams the most to the Vikings. There is a new regime, headed by Childress in Minnesota, and he has assembled a staff and roster that conveys to players a serious attitude about winning and excellence.

"I felt that this was the best place for me to, one, get with a good team on the rise that's competing for a Super Bowl and, two, reach some of the personal goals I have set for myself," Williams said.

"They were straightforward with me. They told me what they expected out of me, my teammates and what we're trying to accomplish here this year. I definitely felt comfortable and I felt it fell right along with the goals I had set for myself."

The goals that Williams makes reference to are in regard to his recovery from knee surgery. Williams' 2004 season was cut short due to an ACL injury, and he spent the entire ensuing off-season rehabbing. 2005 was a season in which Williams began to regain his confidence in the knee, despite being back on the playing field earlier than doctors had anticipated and recommended.

"It was one of those things where I was healthy enough to be back on the field, but I wasn't all the way back yet," Williams said. "I knew I had to be out there just because we were a young team and the guys depended on me."

This off-season has been much different for Williams.

"Being able to focus on a whole offseason not of rehabbing but focusing on football stuff and being another year removed from the injury [has really helped], and I feel the sky is the limit," Williams said when asked about this off-season compared to last year.

It's speculated that it takes about two years for a player to fully recover from an ACL injury, and 2006 will be the second year for Williams. Having Williams at 100% will greatly supplement the talent that currently exists on the Vikings roster.

The defensive line, with the return of Kenechi Udeze and the tandem of Kevin and Pat Williams in the middle, is one of the best in the NFC. The Vikings have two premier cornerbacks in Antoine Winfield and Fred Smoot, and a returning Pro Bowler in Sharper at the other safety position.

"Coming off an ACL injury, I feel that I can definitely get back to the player I was before and then go beyond that, and I felt this gave me the best opportunity to do that along with some of the great players they already have here and the coaches and the system they have in place," Williams said. "God works in mysterious ways, and somehow I was brought here, talked to the coaches and I felt this was the best opportunity for me, and it all worked out."

Coming into the 2005 campaign, the Vikings had reloaded their defense in a quest to dominate their opponents defensively and take pressure off the offense. Again in 2006, the Vikings enter the season with a retooled and reloaded defense - except this time they've added a Tank to the arsenal. And he can't wait to strike.

ADDING A TANK TO THE ARSENAL (http://www.vikings.com/news_detail_objectname_TankWilliams41306.html)

04-14-2006, 05:47 PM
Love the title.. But it's basically a fluff-piece.

Now all we need is a player called Gun and we can have the whole-army-reference going on.

A football team in the English Premiership is named Arsenal.. If they signed a guy named Tank they could use the same title on their press release.

Not quite sure what Arsenal Football Club have to do with this thread.. The title just made me think of it.


04-14-2006, 05:58 PM
Go Tank!

04-15-2006, 09:33 PM
Tank should be sweet for us this year. He'll play a big part in stopping the run and hopefully will do goode in the passing game too.

04-15-2006, 10:56 PM
Let's hope he can beat out Offord for the job!

I would love to see Tank and Sharper back there

04-15-2006, 11:19 PM
Let's hope:

a) he's a success in this system
b) we can re-sign him for a longer term deal (he's young)

I hate 1-year mercenary players . . . they come in as a stopping point for a more lucrative contract somewhere else. Let's hope that won't be the case for Tank.

04-16-2006, 11:13 PM
"LAVike" wrote:

Let's hope:

a) he's a success in this system
b) we can re-sign him for a longer term deal (he's young)

I hate 1-year mercenary players . . . they come in as a stopping point for a more lucrative contract somewhere else. Let's hope that won't be the case for Tank.

i don't think he is a one year signing, first off i say this because we spent a lot of money, and put a lot just into hutchinson. next year we'll have more money freed up then we can resign tank if we want to keep him, and sign mckinnie to a long term deal which probably will be the same as the hutch deal.

04-17-2006, 12:17 AM
Tank's story made me wonder: how many vikings are recovering from a major knee operation? I can count at least three on defense: Udeze, Williams, Offord, and on the offense there is at least one: Kleinsasser. I think there is more than those four too. I hope the team isn't putting itself in a position of relying on too many 'best case scenarios' for a full recovery in time for the next season.

04-17-2006, 01:15 AM
Tank is an awesome player!!! I was so glad that we have another choice at SS other than Willie or maybe some future rookie!!!

04-17-2006, 07:37 PM
Tank is a good pick up, but untill we get a stud in at LB we are going to have only an Above average defence. At best.

04-17-2006, 07:56 PM
I do not think our Linebacking staff is as weak as they are being given credit for. They do not need to be amazing, they only need to be solid. I think they will solid.