MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings have hired Alan Williams, the defensive backs coach for the Indianapolis Colts for the past 10 years, as their new defensive coordinator.

He’ll be supervising the man he’s replacing in that role — and try to help the Vikings revive a group that was the easiest in the league to throw a touchdown pass against this season.

Yes, this is a unique arrangement and a challenging job. For Williams, though, what’s most important is his strong relationship with the guy who hired him, head coach Leslie Frazier. They shared responsibility of the Colts defensive backs for two years, including the Super Bowl-winning team in 2006-07.

“It was another opportunity to work together, first of all, and to win some more championships,” Williams said Thursday, after signing a two-year contract.

To get to that level, Frazier, Williams and the rest of the Vikings have a lot of work to do coming off a 3-13 season, beginning with a depleted secondary that gave up a NFL-most 34 touchdown passes against only eight interceptions in 2011.

Those struggles were contributing factors in Frazier’s decision — he also said he sought some “new energy” — to dismiss defensive line coach Karl Dunbar and demote defensive coordinator Fred Pagac to linebackers coach.

But with defensive end Jared Allen’s league-leading 22 sacks, a late resurgence by defensive tackle Kevin Williams and an established outside linebacker in Chad Greenway, there is some talent there.

“Any time you get a chance to come in with a lot of the building blocks already in place, you want to jump at that,” Williams said on a conference call.

Promotions are attractive, too, of course. The 42-year-old Williams, a college teammate of former Vikings defensive coordinator and current Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, was chosen after Jacksonville defensive coordinator Mel Tucker decided to stay with the Jaguars.

Frazier said he also spoke with fired St. Louis coach Steve Spagnuolo, but the timing wasn’t right.

“We were fortunate that Alan was available,” Frazier said, adding: “I was a little nervous that we might not be able to get the guy I thought would be able to help us.”

Frazier will have a big hand in that help. He said he wasn’t involved as he should have been in the defense at the beginning of the season, and he’ll have heavy input with Williams, who has been schooled in the same 4-3 scheme and Tampa Two zone coverage the Vikings have used versions of for years.

“Having a full offseason together, I’ve got to believe is going to be a big plus for us,” Frazier said.

Brendan Daly, an assistant defensive line coach for the Vikings from 2006-08 who joined Spagnuolo’s staff with the Rams in 2009, was hired by Frazier to replace Dunbar as the defensive line coach.

But Pagac is staying, as is Frazier’s old teammate, Mike Singletary, who remains an assistant head coach — and a linebackers coach. Neither Frazier nor Williams said they were sure yet how Pagac’s and Singletary’s duties would be divided.

Frazier said he wasn’t concerned about a too-many-cooks-in-the-kitchen problem with running the defense.

“Hearing their feedback, that assured me that it could work,” Frazier said. “If you don’t have the right kind of people it can be a dicey situation.”

Frazier lauded the ability of Williams to communicate and relate to the players. Williams is another branch of the Tony Dungy coaching tree, having learned under the soft-spoken, respected former coach of the Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Williams said he wasn’t worried about Frazier micromanaging his job. He also said he wasn’t concerned about the potential awkwardness of working with Pagac, the man he was hired to replace. If Frazier said this would be fine, well, that was all he needed to hear.

“I know his word is golden. I know his judgment is second to none,” Williams said.

Williams said he doesn’t believe “wholesale changes” are necessary for the secondary and vowed that the Vikings will be better and faster as a defense. While his personality is more muted than Tomlin’s, he said they have a similar philosophy about how to teach their players and how to call a game.

“We’re going to run. We’re going to tackle. We’re going to hit. We’re going to play tough football better than our opponents,” Williams said.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (13)
  1. Tito says:

    #3 pick this draft, #1 the following, that’s who.

  2. What Next? says:

    Do some people just wait to hear news (any news) about a program (in this case Vikings) and immediately jump into “negative mode”? It seems that some, no matter what, are negative about EVERYTHING. Glad I have a more positive outlook on life.

  3. Keith Stone says:

    Another terrible choice, by a terrible head coach, terrible owners and just an overall embarrassment of a franchise. I hope this guy is fond of LA…which is where this terrible team will be going soon!

  4. Brian Keacher says:

    I don’t believe we will have a team anyway, The Vikes will pack up as soon as the legislature says no. Just like Norm Green and the North Stars did. Jeopardized because of no back up money to fund the stadium. I bleed purple and gold and do not want to see them go but you can’t do anything about it now.

  5. j speedbag 64 says:

    stomp on the gaming pacts with the natives and build a casino,i mean c’mon theres 18 casinos already do you really think 19 really matters,if they don’t want a state owned casino then get on board and contribute to this important matter…..theres plenty of money to go around folks….

  6. Der says:

    I love how you people think it’s so easy to move the team, it is very expensive and in case you didn’t know LA has no stadium currently set up for NFL games, the problem with LA is they can’t get 1 built until they have a team, but a team won’t go there until 1 is built, also if you look around the league no team with this many tan coaches has had success recently.

    1. G Dog says:

      Um, ever heard of the Coliseum? The Rose Bowl?

      1. @g says:

        Um Der the coliseum isn’t set up for NFL games, obviously there’s a field there, but they don’t have the proper suites to make any money thats part of the reason the last team left there, sometimes it’s better not to speak when you obviously have brain damage.

  7. Lars says:

    Frazier again shows that he has no clue, he’s the worst coach we ever had and he continues to prove it, starting out winning the only game he should have lost, Philly last year, this year he stands on the sidline like a deer in the headlights, loses every game to divisional foes, he fires the only coach on the team offense or defense who actually had pretty good results the D-Line, hires a loser from a loser team to run the defense, what an idiot get rid of him!!

  8. Deq says:

    LA VIKES. Come on over guys. I’m sure AP and the boys would love it here.

  9. Orlando Smith says:

    White Coaches Suck.

  10. Rex says:

    Andy Williams the singer?

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