After Kevin Williams was inducted into the Ring of Honor on Sunday and finished his speech, the Vikings had a surprise for him.
As halftime was winding down in Minnesota’s 14-7 loss to Cleveland at U.S. Bank Stadium, six videos were shown on the scoreboard. They were of former teammates Brett Favre, Steve Hutchinson, Randy Moss and Chad Greenway; former Vikings star John Randle, and former Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin, now Pittsburgh’s coach, offering congratulations to Williams.
“That was definitely a surprise, and I enjoyed it,” said Williams, who played for the Vikings from 2003-13. “That was awesome. I’m going to try to get my hands on (the videos) because it was a kind of hard hearing in the stadium. But it meant a lot to me that those guys took the time to share a few words.”
Williams said he also was thrilled that a number of his former teammates and coaches came to Minnesota for events related to his induction. A reception was held Friday night, Williams received his purple jacket on Saturday night, and then on Sunday he received his ring while being enshrined.
Williams became the 26th inductee into the Ring of Honor. Speaking to the crowd, he thanked the Wilf ownership group, his former teammates and coaches, and said the Vikings have “the greatest fans in the NFL.”
Later, Williams said it still hadn’t fully sunk in that his name is now up inside U.S. Bank Stadium.
“It was awesome,’’ Williams said. “It was everything I could have dreamed of and I really enjoyed it. It’s still a bit overwhelming and I can’t believe it but I’m very much appreciative.’’
PIERCE TO HAVE MRI
Vikings nose tackle Michael Pierce started against the Browns after being listed as questionable on Friday with elbow and shoulder injuries. But he didn’t make it out of the third quarter.
Pierce was lost for the game with an elbow injury, and Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he will have an MRI. He initially was hurt Thursday in practice and didn’t practice Friday.
The Vikings also were without cornerback Bashaud Breeland in the second half due to an illness. Breeland missed practice on Thursday with an illness before returning Friday.
Breeland was replaced in the lineup by Cameron Dantzler. Asked if he saw how Dantzler did, Zimmer said, “Not really. I don’t know.”
The Vikings again were without linebacker Anthony Barr, who was listed as questionable with a knee injury and has yet to play this season. Also sitting out were cornerback Kris Boyd (hamstring) and wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette (toe).
Running back Dalvin Cook returned after missing one game with an ankle injury but he didn’t look to be at full strength while rushing for just 34 yards on nine carries. He was in and out of the lineup in the second half when Zimmer said he came up “one time a little gimpy.’’ But Zimmer claimed it wasn’t “an issue.”
In addition to Barr, Boyd and Smith-Marsette, inactive for the Vikings were quarterback Kellen Mond, guard Wyatt Davis, defensive tackle James Lynch and defensive end Patrick Jones II.
ANOTHER SACK FOR GRIFFEN
For the second straight game, after he had missed one game with a concussion, Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen had a sack.
With the Vikings leading 7-0 early in the second quarter, Griffen brought down Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield on fourth-4 at the Minnesota 6 for an 11-yard loss. He got plenty of help due to Danielle Hunter providing pressure.
“I’m getting better, but the ‘W,’ that’s all that matters, and we came up short,” Griffen said.
Hunter also had a sack, his fifth of the season. And defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, in his fourth Minnesota game, had his first sack.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins was sacked twice and under duress much of the game. “They had a good pass rush,” he said. “It was understood going into the game.” … The Vikings are 1-3 for the second straight season. Last year, they ended up starting 1-5. “It’s part of being tough and tough-minded and find a way to keep going and keep working and getting better,” Cousins said. … Minnesota scored its fewest points in a game since a 16-6 loss at Chicago on Dec. 29, 2019.