Vikings: Joseph wants to follow Williams

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Say this for Linval Joseph: He knows the quick way to win the hearts of Minnesota Vikings fans.

Asked during his introductory news conference on Wednesday which nose tackles he looked up to as a young player, Joseph quickly named former Vikings tackle Pat Williams, who formed one half of the famous Williams Wall from 2005-10 in Minnesota and left the team as one of the most popular big men in Vikings history.

"He wanted to show he was an all-time great. He had something to prove, from where he started to where he finished," Joseph said.

The Vikings signed Joseph to a five-year, $31.25 million deal, in large part, to be their first legitimate successor to Williams. They'd tried to move Letroy Guion into that position after Williams' time with the Vikings ended, but Guion wasn't able to be what Williams was: a bulwark against the run who could line up just over the center and keep an opposing offensive line from opening up many holes in the middle of the defense. Joseph sounded clear on Wednesday on his role, and happy to do it with little fanfare.

"Go inside, play a shade [technique] and stop the run," Joseph said. "Just let the guys outside and get some sacks."

He said the Vikings were the first team to call his agent over the weekend, and offered more than either Atlanta or Oakland, the other two teams Joseph said was interested in him. He'd been to Minnesota in 2010, when the Vikings brought him in for their pre-draft event, but hadn't returned to the state since then.

Now, he'll make his home in Minnesota, as he tries to anchor the defensive line from a spot Williams occupied so well.

"Pat's a physical guy. He loved to slam guys," Joseph said. "Pat made a lot of plays as a Viking. He's loved around here, and I want to be the same way."