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NFL notebook: Vikings' Kevin Williams embraces opportunity

Minnesota and Green Bay will play for a third time this season, with this winner advancing in the NFC playoffs
By Mike Baldwin Published: January 4, 2013

Minnesota defensive tackle Kevin Williams said making Pro Bowls is rewarding, but in a training camp interview with The Oklahoman, the former Oklahoma State star said his focus was helping the Vikings return to the playoffs.

It seemed far-fetched. Coming off a 3-13 season, the Vikings were the consensus pick to finish last in the NFC North.

“Nobody outside this locker room believed in us except us,” Williams said. “We stuck to our guns and got it done. We feel we left a couple of games out there we could have won. But we did enough to get in. Hopefully we're on roll.”

Minnesota on Saturday will play the Packers a third time this season. The Vikings posted a 37-34 win last Sunday just to get in the playoffs. Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw for 365 yards and four touchdowns.

“We've got to play a lot better on defense,” said Williams, a six-time Pro Bowler. “It was a shootout, but we were able to hang on. (Rodgers) throws a great ball into tight windows. He presents a lot of challenges. We have to get pressure on him.”

The Vikings counter with Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 2,097 yards, nine shy of Eric Dickerson's record.

“There's never been anybody who has done the things he's been doing this year,” Williams said. “When (quarterback) Christian (Ponder) was struggling early, he put the offense on his back. He carried the offense even though people were gearing up to stop him.”

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