We've got a few on-field positions to get to in the 30 Day Challenge here, so you're going to see quite a few of these types of topics as we approach the finish line. Today, we look at the defensive line.
Which member of the Minnesota Vikings' defensive line is your all-time favorite?
Personally, I'm trying to limit myself to guys that I've actually seen play and not just through the miracle of NFL Films. The Purple People Eaters pre-date my time of being a fan, and I've only ever seen them on film, so I'm going to bypass them. (I'm sure plenty of our older fans will more than make up for it.) The player I'm going with might not have been the best defensive lineman the Vikings have ever had, but he was certainly my favorite, and he was pretty good at his job.
That man is defensive tackle Pat Williams. . .or, as we like to call him, Phat Pat.
Williams, much like Antoine Winfield before him, came to the Vikings by way of the Buffalo Bills. Signing with the Bills as an undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M, he spent his first eight seasons in upstate New York before coming to Minnesota prior to the 2005 season. While he was very good with the Bills, he was great with Minnesota, garnering three Pro Bowl trips and being named second-team All-Pro in 2007. He was probably the best pure run-stopping defensive tackle I've ever watched in purple, and was a big part of the Vikings being #1 in the NFL in rushing defense for three consecutive seasons.
One of my favorite things about Pat Williams was the weight he was listed at when he was with the Vikings. Above, you can see a picture of Pat Williams with the other half of the "Williams Wall," Kevin Williams. Throughout the time they were together, the Vikings listed both players at 317 pounds. As you can see from that picture, one of those guys was 317 pounds. . .the other one was Pat Williams. Phat Pat was "317 pounds" in the same way that Gary Busey is "slightly eccentric." Still, it didn't stop him from being a force on the field, and he was just that until his career with the Vikings finished after the 2010 season.
Even though Pat Williams spent more time with the Buffalo Bills than he did with the purple and gold, he wound up signing one of those one-day contracts a couple of years ago that allowed him to retire as a Minnesota Viking. Just one more thing that makes me like the big guy.
Like I said, Pat Williams might not have been the best defensive lineman I've seen since I've been a fan of the Minnesota Vikings, but I loved the way he played the game and the way he did his job. That's why he's my choice for my favorite Vikings' defensive lineman.
Who do you have for this one, everybody?