At 6-foot-5 and 311 pounds, Kevin Williams has been a physical force in the middle of the Minnesota Vikings defense for nine years.
The soft-spoken defensive tackle has contradicted his size with remarkable agility and durability. Williams had only missed two games in his career entering the 2011 season, but all the years and games might have begun to wear on his big frame.
When training camp opened last August, Williams said he showed up in the best shape of his career. Not long after he started feeling pain in his foot and knee. The knee acted up after having surgery in the offseason. A few weeks into camp, he suffered from plantar fasciitis in his foot.
The NFL then informed him he was suspended for the first two weeks and had to forfeit four weeks of pay from the long-expected StarCaps substance-abuse case ruling.
When he returned, Williams didn't seem to be the dynamic player he was in the past. The knee continued to bother him and the team's 3-13 record added up to...