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Vikings' Williams gets transition tag

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings named
cornerback Brian Williams as their transition player on Thursday,
which prevents him from becoming an unrestricted free agent.

By league rules, the Vikings must tender Williams a one-year
qualifying offer at the average of the 10 highest-paid players at
his position or 120 percent of his 2005 salary _ whichever is
greater. The transition figure for a cornerback this season is
$4.774 million.

Williams will still be allowed to sign an offer sheet with
another team, which Minnesota would have a week to match.

The NFL's deadline for designating franchise or transition
players was Thursday.

Williams replaced an injured Fred Smoot, one of the Vikings' top
free-agent signings last year, and started the last eight games.
Williams played well enough to keep his spot when Smoot returned,
relegating Smoot to the nickel back role.

A fourth-round draft pick out of North Carolina State in 2002,
Williams has started 48 of a possible 66 games in his career. He
had 11 passes defended and four interceptions last season.