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Interview: Kevin Williams
The Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl defensive tackle talks to The American's Josh Modaberi
This season Wembley Stadium plays host to two NFL regular season games, including a Week 4 matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers. Kevin Williams has been with the Vikings since 2003, being selected for six Pro Bowls during that time, and named an All-Pro five times.
The defensive tackle was in London recently ahead of the September 29 International Series game, and has been enjoying the off-season: "I just try to get away from football in general. I've been doing this for a long time and it feels really good to unwind and clear your mind. It helps you come back better prepared for the next season.
"Once you start training it's basically season back on again. I spend time with the family and kids, we went on vacation. I got away from Minnesota; it's nice to just go fishing and hang out."
With batteries recharged, the 32-year-old from Arkadelphia, Akansas is ready for the new season to get underway September 5th and is looking to get off to the best possible start before coming up against the Steelers.
"We are hoping to come into that game at Wembley against the Pittsburgh Steelers undefeated," he said. "We want to get off to a great start and it is always tough to stay undefeated late on in the season, but that is our goal.
"We go into each game one at a time and we know we're going to have a tough opponent in Pittsburgh. We will come over to London and take in the city but will still prepare the proper way and be ready for a good game."
Williams is the longest-serving player on the Vikings roster, having joined as a first-round draft pick in 2003. Last season the Vikings made it to the Wildcard Playoff, losing to the Green Bay Packers and Williams intends to build on last year's performances.
"We just need to continue playing consistent ball," he explained. "I need to keep doing my assignments, taking care of my responsibilities to consistently be where I need to be, and with that I will put my team and my team mates in good positions.
Last season in the draft, Minnesota picked up Matt Kalil, Harrison Smith and Blair Walsh, all of whom were instrumental in helping the Vikings reach the playoffs. Williams is expecting the same from this year's rookie class.
"From what I've seen, the rookies are doing well," he added. "We had a great rookie class a year ago, they all contributed, and two of our rookies made the Pro Bowl, so were are going to expect this new rookie class to come in and contribute in the same way. They are going to have high expectations on their backs and we are really going to count on them."
Catch our chat with Steelers guard Ramon Foster here.
Catch our chat with 49ers safety Donte Whitner here.